News and Notes: January 15, 2012

Michael Pineda is now a Yankee. Great.

I apologize for the lack of content lately. Part of that is due to no real Tribe news to talk about, but most of it is due to real-life work and site work that hasn't yet seen the light of cyberspace. That behind-the-scenes work should start appearing on the site as Opening Day approaches, and will be a feature over the next year or so; it's a rather ambitious project in size and scope, so it's taking some time to do right. I believe, though, that it will be worth the wait.

In the meantime, I'll be doing some historic game recaps of important (or unimportant) Indians games of the past, with the first one to appear tomorrow morning. It will be done as if the game had just ended. If you have some suggestions of games that you'd like recapped in this odd way, please let me know, whether in the comments below, or via e-mail.

And I'll be doing the News and Notes posts. Unfortunately, there isn't much to relate about the Indians, who seem to be stuck waiting for Prince Fielder to sign somewhere. But there has been news elsewhere around the league, so I'll be covering that.

Cleveland Indians GM Chris Antonetti works on making that first decision |
Paul Hoynes recaps what seems to be the latest conventional wisdom. The Indians will likely attempt to sign a first baseman after the market gets unstuck. Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, and Casey Kotchman are the three main candidates available to the Indians, but each has their drawbacks. Lee will be 36 next year, and probably isn't far from the end of his career. Pena will command the most money, and is a left-handed hitter. And Kotchman is not much of a power hitter (and before last year not much of a hitter at all.

Of course, all this assumes that Matt LaPorta will spend the season in Columbus. The Indians can't risk a premium offensive position on a player who has yet to show signs of hitting at the major-league level. LaPorta has had just over 1000 Plate Appearances at the major-league level, and a .397 Slugging Percentage. Last season, he struck out 87 times to 23 walks. A poor SO/BB ratio may be forgiven if power's there, but Matt hasn't even done that.

Yankees trade Montero for Pineda, sign Kuroda

The Yankees had been very quiet this off-season, re-signing Sabathia early but otherwise not making many moves. That changed this past weekend; they not only signed Hideki Kuroda, but pulled off a blockbuster trade. They dealt prospects Jesus Montero and Hector Moesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and prospect Jose Campos. All the players involved were under 23 years of age and with little or no service time. It's rare that this type of trade happens, as talented players with little service time are very valuable to a club.

Pineda had a very good rookie season, allowing only 133 hits in 171 innings pitched, and topping 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. He'll slot right behind Sabathia, and give the Yankees two outstanding pitchers who also happen to be under contract or control through 2016. Montero, who is still considered a catcher, should hit enough to stick at first or even DH, but obviously he's a much more valuable player if he can handle the tools of ignorance. He's ready for the majors, and the Yankees were likely going to give the DH duties, so that may mean New York will be looking at Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee.

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