Indians News & Notes 2/21/14: Heightened Expectations

To third base - and beyond! - Hannah Foslien

Last year, the Tribe was hoping to rebound from a 94-loss season, and expectations were low. How will they fare in 2014 now that the "Cinderella" label no longer applies?

Happy Friday, all! On to the baseball news:

Indians news

Expectations rise but the approach remains the same for Tribe | Indians.com (Jordan Bastian) - Your feel-good Spring Training optimism story of the day. This whole team is in the best shape of its life.

Letting go of Ubaldo | It's Pronounced "Lajaway" (Mike Schreiner) - To help ease Cols' hurt, IPL looks at a handful of reasons why letting Ubaldo Jimenez go makes sense for the Tribe.

Jimenez leaves and Masterson stays, for now | Indians Baseball Insider (Jim Pete) - IBI also takes a look at Jimenez' departure, as well as the impact of the Homer Bailey deal on Justin Masterson's future with the Indians.

Tribe not rushing Francisco Lindor | Indians.com (Jordan Bastian) - The top prospect says he wants to make the MLB "as soon as possible," but Tito thinks he's still got a bit of marinating to do in the minors, particularly when it comes to the bat.

Francona looking for room on the bench for Bryan LaHair | Cleveland.com (Paul Hoynes) - Terry Francona loves tinkering with bullpens and benches. Here's hoping he gets as much productivity out of those groups as he did out of 2013's "Good Squad."

Raburn/Murphy platoon conjures images of Michaels/Dellucci platoon | Wahoo's On First (Brian Heise) - The two platoon pairs may be more alike than we hoped.

Jeff Francoeur was depressed last year | Cleveland.com (Paul Hoynes) - A good reminder that players are people, and despite a lifestyle most people can only dream of, real life still gets in the way sometimes. Let's hope Frenchy's happier this year.

Around the league

Braves extend Andrelton Simmons | CBS Sports (Dayn Perry) - Seven years, $58 million for the slick-fielding SS as the Braves continue their extension spree. FanGraphs has a piece on how Atlanta's actions this offseason have greatly inflated the extension market.

Manny Machado hoping to be cleared for baseball activity by March | NBC Sport (DJ Short) - The O's star looks to come back from a tough knee injury.

And it's a slow day around the rest of the league, so... Let's laugh at the Mariners a bit as Jesus Montero arrives to camp laughably out of shape, much to Jack Z's chagrin. Also, Russel Wilson makes a cameo at Rangers camp. Woo.

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