Indians News & Links 2/24/14: Zach McAllister adds a new pitch

The Zach attack has some new pitches in his arsenal - Jason Miller

The pieces are falling into place as the Tribe gears up for the start of Spring Training. Many questions remain, but it's almost time to start answering them with actual baseball.

It's that time of the week again. As the Tribe gears up for the first game of spring training, you can get ready with these Monday morning news & links:

Indians news

McAllister adds slider to repertoire | Indians.com (Jordan Bastian) - One of the four "sure thing" members of the rotation for 2014, Zach McAllister worked to develop a slider and splitter to complement his fastball and curve, and to replace an inconsistent cutter in his pitch arsenal.

Axford looks to prove himself after down year | Indians.com (Jordan Bastian) - New Tribe closer John Axford was made aware of his tip pitching problem and has worked hard to correct his mechanical issues, hoping the changes pay off in 2014. The FO and coaching staff seems high on Axford, willing to overlook the poor stat line that resulted in large part from a disastrous April.

Troubled Pestano wants to get back to form | Cleveland.com (Paul Hoynes) - Vinnie Pestano took his difficult 2013 very personally, and it took him a long time to get past thinking of his disappointing season - the injuries, the demotion, and the loss of velocity. Fortunately, that's all in the past now, and he harbors no ill will toward the team despite losing his arbitration hero. This year, he hopes to return to his dominant 2012 form.

Justin Masterson discusses Homer Bailey's contract | Cleveland.com (Paul Hoynes) - Though the "dust is still settling" on his one-year contract, Masterson looks toBailey's multi-year extension and say that it, along with other similar deal, provide a useful basis for any future contract talks between he and the Tribe.

Marcum competes for 5th starter spot | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? (Bob Toth) - DTTWLN takes a look at Shaun Marcum's recent past performance and considers the possibility that he can make a positive contribution to the team.

LGH(istorical)FT on a barnstorming tour | It's Pronounced "Lajaway" (Stephanie Liscio) - IPL posts a fantastic colorized video from a 1948 barnstorming exhibition game featuring Satchel Paige, Gene Bearden, and Bob Lemon.

Around the league

John Hart discusses Atlanta's extension spree | Baseball Prospectus (Ben Lindbergh) - BP sits down to discuss the topic of extensions for young core players with the man who pioneered the concept - John Hart, former Tribe GM and current Atlanta Braves senior advisor. Interesting read, and makes you wonder what new strategies small-market clubs will develop now that all the big boys have gotten on the extension bandwagon.

Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales may wait until after June draft to sign | Fox Sports (Ken Rosenthal) - Agents for the group suspect that with the compensation pick out of play after the draft in June, and competing teams desperate for help in pennant races, the likelihood of favorable deals increases. Also, Ervin Santana's agent is apparently named Bean Stringfellow. Nice.

The worst transactions of the 2014 offseason | Fangraphs (Dave Cameron) - Tribe fans will be happy to see that none of the team's transactions made Fangraph's list, and that the Tigers top the list with the Doug Fister trade.

Extensions, comebacks, and shuffling - Elsewhere around the league, the Yankees sign Brett Gardner to a four year, $52 million extension; the Angels are discussing a huge extension for Mike Trout; Johan Santana is being monitored by the Twins and at least two other teams as he eyes a potential comeback; and Mike Carp joins Carlos Santana in the "hey, maybe I can play third base" club for 2014.

Oh yeah, and someone mailed Cliff Lee their fingernail clippings. Happy Monday.

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