1) Antonetti and Masterson each discuss contract situation
MLB.com's Jordan Bastian provides full transcripts if GM Chris Antonetti's press conference yesterday morning, and of Justin Masterson's discussion with reporters after his start yesterday afternoon. Antonetti answered a lot of questions without actually saying much, if you know what I mean, but he did state:
"What I've seen written in terms of values is not accurate."
That could be in reference to the Indians having only offered $12 million a year, or to Masterson asking for something like $17 million a year, or to both of those things, or to neither of them. There's a limit to what we can know. Both Antonetti and Masterson said the door is still open to work something out at a later date, but I don't expect that to happen.
2) Kipnis extension talks nearing deadline too
The Indians and Jason Kipnis have set an Opening Day deadline for extension talks. This is not as pressing as the Masterson negotiations, because Kipnis is under team control through 2017. The two sides went through this a year ago though, and couldn't agree to terms. Kipnis had a good year, and became much more expensive. If he has another season like 2013, he'll be even more expensive a year from now.
Near the start of the offseason I laid out what I thought was it would take, landing on 5 years, $37 million, with a $13M team option for 2019. That's very close to what St. Louis' Matt Carpenter (a similar player with the same number of year remaining til free agency) signed for. No idea if the Indians are offering something like that, or if Kipnis would go for it.
3) A look at the manager
At Sports on Earth, John Perrotto profiles Terry Francona, who oversaw the biggest year-to-year turnaround in franchise history in his first year on the job. Says Masterson (who broke into the big leagues with Boston in 2008, the year after Francona guided the Red Sox to their second World Series win of his tenure there:
"I don't think a lot of guys on other teams necessarily thought of Cleveland as a good place to come play. That changed once he took over as manager."
4) Roster to take shape on Sunday
Antonetti, Francona, and other front office and coaching personnel will meet on Sunday to work out most of what's left to do for the Opening Day roster. Francona feels it's better for the team to have those kinds of things worked out before the last minute. That means we may find out who among Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin, and Aaron Harang starts the year in the rotation (I still expect it to be Carrasco), which guys will be in the bullpen, and how Carlos Santana will be spending his time.
5) How does the Tribe stack up at each position?
FanGraphs has begun running through its positional power rankings, in which all 30 teams are ranked at every position, based on predicted playing time and projected performance (here's their overview). The Tribe comes in at #2 at catcher, and at #6 for second base, and near the middle of the pack at the other infield positions.
6) Regular-season baseball is here!
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have kicked off the 2014 MLB regular season with the first of two games in Australia having started at 4:00 AM my time. Los Angeles won, 3-1. I set my alarm for the game, which means I got to see the first great play of 2014, by Arizona's Mark Trumbo:
Later, this happened:
That's what happens when you let a DH play left field. The game also featured Clayton Kershaw being replaced with 2 out sin the 7th inning by... Chris Perez. That's got to be one of the biggest drops in dependability that's even possible on an MLB roster.
Anyway, in honor of a former penal colony hosting the official opener, I thought I'd list...
My favorite prison movies:
6) Chicken Run (hey, cartoon poultry can be prisoners too)
4) In the Name of the Father
3) The Bridge on the River Kwai
2) The Great Escape
1) The Shawshank Redemption