Happy Friday, LGTers. Let's kick the weekend off right with the latest edition of News & Notes:
Indians news & notes
One Wild Card game made a huge difference to KC and CLE | Cleveland.com - The Indians went into 2014 with guarded optimism, while the Royals head into 2015 with excitement. The difference? One game. A loss in the WIld Card play-in killed a Tribe team that had just won ten in a row, while a mediocre Kansas City team got hot at the right time and rode the wave. Terry Pluto talks about what the game means for both franchises.
Terry Francona and the pressure of expectations | Wahoo's On First - Stats gurus and traditional journalists alike are predicting good things for the Indians this year. But one things analytics can never capture is the effect of a good manager. Tito may be criticized for some in-game moves, but WOF argues his most valuable work is in the work he does outside of games.
Overcoming elbow injuries, Floyd gets a new start | Indians.com - First it was Tommy John surgery, then a fractured elbow, but Gavin Floyd is looking to make a fresh start in Cleveland. An elbow fracture is rare, so it's hard to gauge how his rehab should progress, but so far he's showing no signs of the injuries affecting him. Can he land the #2 rotation spot for 2015?
Swisher good with the stick, but not the wheel: Indians quick hits | Cleveland.com - Early returns on Nick Swisher are positive from a hitting perspective, but he's still getting used to his robot knees. Speaking of robots, Tito notes that Corey Kluber has been smiling more in camp so far. Don't know how I feel about that...
Merrit warrants merit | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? - What's the only thing more coveted than a Right Handed Power Bat™? A left-handed (TINSTAA)Pitching Prospect, of course! Ryan Merrit, winner of last year's Bob Feller award for top pitcher in the Tribe org, could very well be that guy.
Francona skeptical of Brantley's defensive metrics | Cleveland.com - Every panic: Terry Francona hates advanced metrics! Just kidding. But he does think metrics undervalue the work of Michael Brantley in left field.
Don't tell Bryan Shaw he's unavailable | Cleveland.com - Tito loves using relievers, and Shaw loves pitching. But if you write "unavailable" next to his name, he'll probably cross it out and write something stupid instead.
Tidbits from around baseball
Negro leagues fading, but legacy remains | Cleveland.com - As former Negro League players pass on and the league begins to fade into the past, the PD takes A fascinating Cleveland-centric look. Ted Toles Jr., and 89 year-old former member of the Cleveland Buckeyes, recounts his experiences both as a player and a citizen during the pre-integration era.
Most irreplaceable players in MLB | Sports On Earth - AJ Cassavell looks at WAR projections to count down the ten most valuable players in MLB.
Rooting for Josh Hamilton | Sports On Earth - Josh Hamilton has long been a symbol of hope for people trying to overcome addiction. The first five years of his rejuvenated career were a borderline miracle. The last two have been a nightmare. Now, he has confessed to slipping, off the field again. Still, it's hard not to want to see him succeed and get through this latest challenge.
The death of the head-first slide (hopefully) | Fangraphs - FG hopes that with Nick Punto's decision to not play this year, his signature act of sliding head-first dangerously may be on its way out altogether.
Does missing out on Moncada mean the Yankees r cheep? | CBS Sports - Are you all a bunch of total idiots? No? Then duh.
Moneyball II: Charles Barkley, sports media, and he second stat war | Grantland - It's not specifically about baseball, but this is a fascinating read. While many have reacted negatively to Barkley's anti-analytics rant, Bryan Curtis argues that Barkley isn't fighting a war about the value of stats - because that war has already been won. This new war is about athletes vs. the media.