There the old saying that if you have four number-five starters, you really don't have any. That's the state of Indians news today; there really isn't any. Yet there are a bunch of semi-interesting, semi-odd stories running around baseball today. Where to begin?
Pipeline Perspectives: Bryant, Lindor the next ROYs | indians.com — Not too much new here, but they do identify one of the likelier scenarios that would see Francisco Lindor as a starter for a big chunk of next season, i.e., Jose Ramirez being used as a super-sub. That still feels less ideal to me than Kipnis playing in the outfield. Neither of those things will happen early in 2015 or in the absence of all the right things happening. The likeliest scenario remains an injury.
Urshela's winter ball stay cut short by injured knee | indians.com — Bastian with the basic story.
Kluber's trek to stardom slow and steady | indians.com — Nice perspective on Kluber's development from the former Padres farm director.
The Big Deal
Giancarlo Stanton's record deal with Miami Marlins just isn't right - ESPN — OK, we'll start at the top, with the biggest deal. I personally don't see this deal as crazy, although the opt-out and no-trade clauses kind of drive me crazy. As others have noted, this is the deal the Marlins needed to give Stanton in order to keep him. No, that isn't a good enough reason to give him that deal, but two things to consider. One, a nine-year, $300 million deal would be very defensible for Stanton, and the difference between this deal and that one is trivial, in the grand scheme of things — $30 million in payments due in 10 to 12 years. Two, a $25 million salary won't be the least bit unusual in 10 years. In fact, the Indians likely will pay someone $25 million by the end of this decade. If Corey Kluber continues to perform and doesn't sign a long-term deal, we may well pay him that much in arbitration eventually. The number "25" is no longer obscene, and it's not enough to hobble a club with arguably more payroll flexibility than any team in the game.
Why Giancarlo Stanton is worth $300-plus million -- MLB - ESPN — Here's our old buddy Dan Szymborski laying out the numbers. He makes the key point in assessing this deal, which is that age is all-important. Specifically, if Stanton were five years older, his projected value would drop from over $300 million to under $150 million. In other words, this deal is a lot less crazy than the Pujols deal, to say nothing of A-Rod's last contract. In fact, let's just go ahead and say it's the difference between A-Rod's first deal and A-Rod's last deal. In fact, A-Rod got the same AAV from the Rangers, and that was 14 years ago! Granted, Stanton is not quite what A-Rod was, but on the other hand, offense is down, and the salary inflation of 29% over 14 years is well below market levels.
How Giancarlo Stanton Contracts Would Have Gone | FanGraphs Baseball — The always solid-plus Jeff Sullivan takes a similar approach with a twist. He says, basically, some guys you really can project as future Hall of Famers. Then he looks at the contract through the performance of past Hall of Famers.
Win Some, Lose Some
Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers finalize 4-year, $68M deal - ESPN — Old news by now, but ICYMI, there's a soul-crushing quote from Victor here about how Detroit is his home now. Granted, it's not a direct quote; the Tigers' decrepit, baseball-ruining owner is putting the words in his mouth. Even so, this just hardens my position, i.e., rooting for the career-ending injury now. He's still way behind Sabathia in the Cleveland Betrayal standings, but he's on the leaderboard now. Victor, old buddy, we had some good times, that's true. But I really have to tell you now: Your little boy knows that you're a mercenary fraud. I know that seems harsh, but I'm just not OK with Victor amassing bigger career numbers as a Tiger than he did as an Indian. F that.
The Tigers of the Future Aren’t Totally Screwed | FanGraphs Baseball — Aaaarrrgggh no! My eyes! My eyes!
Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal | HardballTalk — Well, this one can make us feel slightly better. Basically, what the Blue Jays had to do because they gave us Yan Gomes for nothing.
The Fascinating Jason Heyward/Shelby Miller Swap | FanGraphs Baseball — Dave Cameron with the best overall take I've seen.
Post trade spin from Jason Heyward and John Hart | HardballTalk — ... although the gossipy stuff is more juicy, of course. It is fun having John Hart out there in the mix, hands-on as a real GM again. Kind of odd, but still fun.
Confirmed PED-liar Andy Pettitte tells A-Rod that he just needs to come clean | HardballTalk — I know A-Rod is icky, but I've never quite understood how people can see him as more deplorable than any number of other guys. I don't have any axe to grind with Pettitte, other than his close friendship with all-time HOF creep Roger Clemens, but the facts are the facts. He juiced, and he lied repeatedly. He just did it with a more disarming drawl and less obvious weightlifting habit. They're not so different when you strip away the superficial.
Jose Canseco says his re-attached finger fell off during poker game - ESPN — Of course it did.