MLB Team Report - Cleveland Indians - INSIDE PITCH
The Indians last winter spent a total of about $117 million on signing a handful of free agents. They also acquired a couple other players in trades. It was thought that the new additions would help accelerate the Indians' rebound from a 94-loss season in 2012.
The Indians have played much better in 2013, but they have done so without any monster seasons from any of their new acquisitions. For the most part, the newcomers have struggled to reach the levels at which they played prior to becoming free agents, or prior to being traded to Cleveland.
First and foremost in that group is first baseman Nick Swisher, who has struggled since the start of the season, and was recently moved out of the cleanup spot in the order by manager Terry Francona. At the time the Indians signed him to a four-year, $56 million contract, Swisher had a well-earned reputation as one of the most consistently productive hitters in the American League.
Over the last seven years prior to signing with the Indians, Swisher averaged 27 home runs and 84 RBIs per season. However, Swisher is on a pace to fall well short of those totals this year. After hitting one homer in Friday's 11-8 victory over Texas, he has hit 11 home runs with 32 RBIs.
Over the previous five years prior to signing his four-year, $48 million contract with the Indians last winter, center fielder Michael Bourn averaged 51 stolen bases per year and led the National League in stolen bases three times. This year, Bourn has just 13 stolen bases and was caught stealing an American League-leading eight times.
First baseman Mark Reynolds signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Indians last winter. In his five previous years, Reynolds had a track record as a hitter who struck out a lot but also hit a lot of home runs and drove in a lot of runs. He's lived up to the high strikeout total, but not so much in the other two categories.
Through Friday, Reynolds was hitting .106 with no home runs and one RBI in the month of July. He does have 15 home runs and 47 RBIs overall. But most of that came very early in the year. Since May 30, he is hitting .166 with two homers and six RBIs.
Right fielder Drew Stubbs was acquired in a trade with Cincinnati and the Indians hoped the change of scenery would help Stubbs have a breakout season. Instead, Stubbs is delivering the kind of season for the Indians that he did in four years with Cincinnati, which led to the Reds feeling he was expendable.
Pitcher Brett Myers was signed to a one-year, $7 million deal as a free agent, but he has missed almost the entire season with a sore elbow. Designated hitter Jason Giambi, who made the team as a non-roster player in spring training, was hitting .192 through Friday, although he did have 23 RBIs on 23 hits.
There have been three new additions that have performed well so far this season. Scott Kazmir has been a solid addition to the rotation, going 6-4, with a 3.96 ERA as the No. 5 starter. And bench players Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles have both been very productive in part-time roles. Raburn even won the American League Player of the Week Award earlier in the season.
However, the players from whom the Indians were expecting the most -- Swisher, Bourn, Reynolds and Myers -- have all performed below expectations. Despite that, however, the Indians have managed to remain in contention in the AL Central.
MLB Team Report - Cleveland Indians - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won two
PAST 10 GAMES: 6-4
NEXT: Rangers (Yu Darvish, 9-4, 2.86) at Indians (Justin Masterson, 11-7, 3.60)
--OF Ryan Raburn, who belted a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to win Friday's game, was 2-for-6 in the game. In his career against Texas, Raburn has a .353 batting average with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 85 at bats.
--1B/3B Mark Reynolds, mired in a two-month slump, was not in the starting lineup Friday. Reynolds is hitting .106 with no home runs and one RBI in July.
--RHP Justin Masterson will start Saturday night vs. Texas, which is not one of his favorite opponents. It will be Masterson's first appearance against Texas this year. In eight career appearances, four of them starts, vs. the Rangers Masterson is 0-4 with a 6.49 ERA.
--RHP Chris Perez, the Indians' closer, pitched two innings Friday night, retiring all six batters he faced on 18 pitches. It was the ninth career two-inning stint for Perez, his first since May 29, 2010 vs. the Yankees.
--SS Asdrubal Cabrera was 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI in the Indians' win Friday night. In four games since being moved from the No. 2 to the No. 4 spot in the order, Cabrera is 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run, two doubles, five RBIs and five runs scored.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They were defending the bunt very aggressively, so once he got the count in his favor, it made more sense to let him swing away." -- Manager Terry Francona, after Ryan Raburn, who was initially supposed to attempt a sacrifice bunt, hit a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning Friday.
MLB Team Report - Cleveland Indians - ROSTER REPORT
--C Lou Marson (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 25, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 7. He began a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on May 29 and moved to Triple-A Columbus on May 30. His rehab stint was cut short when he experienced more soreness in his shoulder June 12.
--RHP Brett Myers (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He made rehab starts for Double-A Akron on May 17 and May 22. His scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on May 27 was scratched due to continued soreness in his elbow. Myers was shut down. He started a new rehab assignment with short-season Class A Mahoning Valley on June 24. He was shut down again July 1.
--RHP Josh Tomlin (Tommy John surgery in August 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 15. He is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season as he continues his rehab.
--RHP Frank Herrmann (Tommy John surgery in March 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list March 31, and he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list April 3. He will miss the entire season.
RHP Justin Masterson
LHP Scott Kazmir
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
RHP Corey Kluber
RHP Zach McAllister
RHP Chris Perez (closer)
RHP Vinnie Pestano
RHP Joe Smith
RHP Cody Allen
LHP Rich Hill
RHP Matt Albers
RHP Bryan Shaw
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
3B Mark Reynolds
DH Jason Giambi
INF Mike Aviles
INF Lonnie Chisenhall
LF Michael Brantley
CF Michael Bourn
RF Drew Stubbs
OF Ryan Raburn