1) Arbitration update
The Indians and relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski have agreed to a deal worth $1.375 million for 2014 (with an additional $50,000 available in incentives) rather than going to an arbitration hearing. This according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. Earlier this week reliever Josh Outman (acquired in the Drew Stubbs trade) also agreed to a deal, his for $1.1 million.
The other arbitration-eligible players on the team are Justin Masterson, Michael Brantley, Vinnie Pestano, and Josh Tomlin, and each of those players has now exchanged figures with the team.
Hearings will be scheduled by MLB for a date somewhere between February 1 and 21, so there's still time to work out deals, and that's likely what will happen with most (if not all) of those guys, given that the Indians have never gone to a hearing during Larry Dolan's ownership of the team. In fact, it's been 23 years since the Tribe's last hearings (Greg Swindell and Jerry Browne in 1991)
2) For delivering the city a taste of success
Terry Francona was a unanimous choice as Waiting For Next Year's Cleveland Sportsman of 2013. The other Indians receiving mention were Ubaldo Jimenez, Mickey Callaway, and Jason Giambi.
3) It might be... It could be... It is!
Grant Brisbee at Baseball Nation is counting down all 30 MLB stadiums based on "where home runs look best." Progressive Field comes in at #16, pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the list. He's very complimentary in the writeup, especially of balls hit down the left field line and into the trees in right-center. There's fun video of a couple of the biggest blasts in stadium history too.
4) 35% of the Tribe's expected payroll
Jonah Keri analyzes the mammoth contract Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers agreed to this week, which will pay Kershaw an average of more than $30 million a year. Near the end of the article, he discusses the impact moves like this have on smaller-payroll teams (like the Indians), and mentions that MLB could be headed for unrest in the near future, not only from fighting between ownership and labor, but because of rising tensions between large and small-market teams.
5) Do veterans get calls that rookies don't?
Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs examines whether or not veteran pitchers get some sort of benefit of the doubt from umpires that younger pitchers don't, using pitchF/X data to examine how pitches are called for them. It turns out older pitchers do get more strikes called for them, but Jeff ultimately concludes that it's likely not for the reason he first thought it might be. There's a companion piece that uses the same process to compare rookie and veteran hitters.
6) This week's off-topic topic
I've seen 52 movies that were released in 2013, a symmetrically pleasing total because it equates to one a week. I certainly didn't see them symmetrically though, as entering December my total was at 35, but the flood of high-quality films released near the end of the year and my use of Netflix to watch a lot of smaller movies during the bitter cold spell that hit the Midwest combined to put my butt in a lot of seats in front of a lot of screens during the last six weeks.
For anyone interested in more detail than I'll trouble you with here, you can find my complete top ten with commentary on each of them, along with a few honorable mentions, in this post at Ground Ball With Eyes, my non-Indians blog.
Top Movies of 2013:
6) Captain Phillips
4) American Hustle
3) 12 Years a Slave