Cleveland Indians: Voting for some fun offseason awards


The Cleveland Indians have two players up for some fun awards this postseason as this interesting month of October is set to come to a close. We have finally reached the end of what was supposed to be a magical October for the Cleveland Indians. Things didn’t go as planned, but Clevelanders are tough and […]

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Cleveland Indians: Francisco Mejia in action this Saturday


Cleveland Indians fans have a chance to watch Francisco Mejia play this weekend as he takes part in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game. For those Cleveland Indians fans unable to watch the World Series because it causes too much pain, there is another option for some fall baseball. The Arizona Fall League will […]

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Indians Fans – Don’t Forget Candy on Halloween


While trying to compose a lineup of all-time Cleveland Indians players with names worthy of Halloween, I quickly realized that such a task was going to prove difficult.

While there were butchers (Hank Butcher, John Butcher) and doctors (Doc Edwards, Doc Gooden), Danny Graves, and even one Mysterious Walker, compiling a list left me far too short of completing a worthy lineup.

But it also reminded me of one important thing about Halloween – don’t forget Candy.

Six different players named Candy have suited up at the big league level over the years, beginning with Candy Cummings (real name William Arthur Cummings), a pitcher who played from 1872 to 1877 with five different teams (none in Cleveland) in the National Association and the National League who would later enter the Hall of Fame as a pioneer/executive of the game in 1939 via Old Timers Committee selection. In a much different era, he put up some eye-popping numbers, including his rookie season with the New York Mutuals in 1872 at the age of 23 when he went 33-20 with 55 starts, 53 complete games, and 497 innings pitched. His best season would come in 1875 with the Hartford Dark Blues, when he went 35-12 with a 1.60 ERA in 48 games, striking out a league-best 82 batters and walking just four for a 20.5 strikeout/walk rate. He is sometimes credited as the first pitcher to throw a curveball and tried to defend his claim in August of 1908 with his piece “How I Pitched the First Curve” in Baseball Magazine.

The first Candy in Cleveland, however, was Candy LaChance (real name George Joseph LaChance), born conveniently on Valentine’s Day in 1870 in Putnam, Connecticut. He spent six seasons in the National League from 1893 to 1898 with the Brooklyn Grooms/Bridegrooms and one more in the NL with the Baltimore Orioles in 1899 before coming to Cleveland. In 1900, he played for the minor league Cleveland Lake Shores of the American League (before the league became a major league rival to the NL). LaChance stayed in Cleveland in 1901, appearing in 133 games for the Blues while hitting .303.

He later spent four seasons with the Boston Americans before bouncing around the Eastern League and the Connecticut State League.

Candy Maldonado (real name Candido Maldonado Guadarrama) is a far more recent representative for the Indians, joining the club in 1990 after showing some consistent pop for the San Francisco Giants. He made his big league debut in 1981 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and spent five years with the club before he was traded to the Giants. Four years there included his first 20-homer season in 1987 and back-to-back 85-RBI seasons in 1986 and ’87.

He signed with the Indians for the 1990 season and put up career-best numbers across the stat sheet. He appeared in a career-high 155 games for the club as a corner outfielder and designated hitter and put up personal bests in hits (161), doubles (32), homers (22), RBI (95), and walks (49), but also struck out 45 more times than he had in any one season.

Maldonado was on the move after one year with the Tribe, splitting the 1991 season between Milwaukee and Toronto before spending the 1992 season with the Blue Jays, when he made his sixth trip to the playoffs and second to the World Series. He began the 1993 season in Chicago with the Cubs, but was dealt to the Indians in August of that season for Glenallen Hill. He would hit .247 in the final 28 games that season and just .196 in 42 games in 1994 before the strike. His big league career ended in 1995, with time spent between Toronto and Texas.

His son of the same name was selected in 46th round of the 2006 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but he did not play professionally.

One also cannot leave out the Candy Man, Tom Candiotti. A veteran of 16 Major League seasons, Candiotti spent seven of those years in an Indians uniform.

He debuted in the Majors in 1983, spending two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers while also spending time back in the minors. He signed with the Indians following the 1985 season and turned into a quality knuckleball specialist in the game. He won a career-high 16 games for Cleveland in his first season with the Indians in 1986 while leading the American League with 17 complete games. He struggled, as did his teammates, in 1987, but he bounced back with three more strong seasons for the Tribe from 1988 to 1990.

He was off to another strong start in 1991, posting a 7-6 record through 15 starts with three complete games and a 2.24 ERA when the Blue Jays came calling again for his services. A free agent to be following the season, the Indians attempted to bulk up their outfield options for the future, sending Candiotti and outfielder Turner Ward to Toronto for pitcher Denis Boucher, outfielders Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten, and cash considerations. He appeared in his first postseason games that year for the Blue Jays, going 0-1 in two starts against the Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series.

Candiotti left Toronto after the season via free agency, signing after less than a month on the market with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would spend six years at Chavez Ravine, making his way back to the playoffs in 1996 with the club. He left for Oakland following the 1997 season and spent a season and a half with the A’s before a midseason release in 1999. The Indians signed him less than two weeks later, using him twice as a starter and five times in relief before his release on August 2.

Even Cleveland’s early Negro League franchises were represented by Candy on the field. Candy Jim Taylor (real name James Allen Taylor) worked as a player-manager of the Cleveland Tate Stars in 1921 (an independent Negro League team) and 1922 (in the Negro National League) and would take over the managerial duties of the new Cleveland Nationals team in 1923, but that team disbanded and merged with the Toledo Tigers. Taylor took over as player-manager there, but the team folded due to financial issues in July. He would return to Cleveland in 1926 with the Cleveland Elites in his final stint in the city in a baseball career that spanned more than 40 years.

Photo: Rick Stewart/Stringer



Cleveland Indians: Another coach potentially heading to New York


Mickey Callaway is looking to build his coaching staff in New York, and his latest choice could be another former Cleveland Indians coach. The Cleveland Indians lost Mickey Callaway to the New York Mets, only to replace him right away with Carl Willis. Seems simple enough, but the changes don’t stop there. Callaway was in […]

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Trying to watch the 2017 World Series as a Cleveland Indians fan


Cleveland Indians fans may be torn about watching the 2017 World Series after the way the season ended in such disappointing fashion. The 2017 World Series has been insane, and it isn’t even over yet. But for Cleveland Indians fans, the excitement isn’t there. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers have been going back […]

Trying to watch the 2017 World Series as a Cleveland Indians fanBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Tribe’s Offseason Already Proving to be a Busy One


While Major League Baseball is down to its final games of the 2017 season, the Cleveland Indians are, unfortunately, working through the decisions facing the club as the Tribe prepares for the 2018 campaign.

While most players are resting up from what was an exciting, but ultimately disappointing season, a handful of minor leaguers are working their way through fall and winter league activities. Most notably in the mix are two of the club’s top two prospects, Francisco Mejia and Bobby Bradley, who are among eight players participating for the Indians in the Arizona Fall League. Mejia has put up a .400/.405/.571 slash through eight games while working to add third base to his list of defensive skills. He has hit a pair of homers and driven in five. Bradley has provided a little more in the power department, hitting two doubles, two homers, and a triple while driving in six, but the strikeouts have been plentiful for the big slugger, who has gone down on strikes 18 times in 44 at bats in eleven games.

The Indians have been well represented by their prospects in Arizona. Mejia will represent the Tribe and the Glendale Desert Dogs on the AFL West Fall Stars roster and will be joined by reliever Argenis Angulo (High-A Lynchburg) on the team. Bradley is part of the Final 2 vote for the team, as he will need to pull in more votes than Royals shortstop prospect Nicky Lopez and Rangers minor league outfielder Yanio Perez in order to participate in the All-Star Game.

Willi Castro has continued a big season at Lynchburg during his play in the Dominican Winter League. In eight games, he has put up a .448/.484/.586 slash with 13 hits in that span. He is tied with Ronny Rodriguez (Triple-A Columbus) for the most RBI by an Indians player in DWL play.

Four players are in Venezuela, participating in winter league play there. Left-hander Luis Lugo has put up nice numbers there, posting a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA in seven innings over four games (one start). Fellow minor leaguer D.J. Brown has worked in eight games and has not allowed a run in relief over eleven and one-third innings of work. He has earned a pair of wins for his efforts on the mound.

But while some potential prospects continue to hone their craft, the bigger focus has been on the parent Indians club in Cleveland, where the Major League coaching staff has seen its most dramatic chances in years.

In the last week, the club has lost its pitching coach, its assistant hitting coach, and its bullpen coach.

On Monday, Mickey Callaway‘s time in Cleveland came to an end as he was hired by the New York Mets as their new manager. Callaway has received a lot of credit for his work with the Indians pitching staff in the last couple of years, turning both the rotation and bullpen into formidable forces in the game today. Carl Willis rejoined the Indians late in the week to take over for Callaway in a role he previously filled from 2003 to 2009 on Eric Wedge‘s coaching staff.

Matt Quatraro returned to his longtime home in Tampa with the Rays when former Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash hired him as the team’s third base coach. The Rays, who have overhauled their coaching staff this offseason, brought back a familiar face who had had the opportunity to team with Ty Van Burkleo in an assistant hitting coach role to build several players into quality big league hitters.

The most recent change was one of the quieter departures, as bullpen coach Jason Bere has left the team with Willis taking over the pitching coach duties. Bere was thought to be a name to consider for the job that Willis reclaimed, but it was not in the cards for him this October. He had spent the last three seasons working alongside Callaway as the Indians’ bullpen coach after Cash was hired by the Rays for their managerial vacancy following the 2014 season. Bere had previously served nine season in the Cleveland front office in a special assistant role and also pitched for the Indians in 2000 and 2003.

Bere is expected to interview with Callaway’s Mets for their vacant pitching coach position on Monday.

While the offseason has proved busy for manager Terry Francona, it has not all been bad news as he received an honor from Sporting News during the week when he was selected as the American League Manager of the Year via the voting of a panel of 19 MLB managers. Craig Counsell (Milwaukee) won in the National League. It was the second straight season that Francona won the Sporting News award, becoming only the third manager to ever do so.

In other player news, all eyes are still watching and waiting to see what the Indians do in the days that follow the World Series with players under option, most notably Michael Brantley. The team will also have to decide to retain reliever Boone Logan and should have a much easier decision on starting pitcher Josh Tomlin.

Four players from last year’s roster have been nominated for Gold Glove Awards for their play in the field for the Tribe. Francisco Lindor, who won both the Gold Glove Award at shortstop last season and the Platinum Glove Award as the league’s top defender, earned a second consecutive nomination. Catcher Yan Gomes is also up for an award for the second time, while Jose Ramirez (third base) and Carlos Santana (first base) are finalists for the first times in their careers.

As the World Series wraps up with either a Houston win on Tuesday in Game 6 or with a winner-takes-all Game 7 on Wednesday night, the offseason will only get busier from here as baseball fans start counting down the days to Spring Training and the start of another great season of Major League Baseball.

Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images



Cleveland Indians: Waiting to determine Mickey Callaway’s true impact


Cleveland Indians fans are waiting to see how the pitching staff will do in 2018 now that Mickey Callaway has left to manage the New York Mets. Cleveland Indians fans have seen greatness from the pitching staff since 2013, causing some to fear that the greatness may disappear now that Mickey Callaway has left to […]

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Cleveland Indians: A look back at 10 preseason predictions


The Cleveland Indians did not win the World Series, and my predictions were very wrong. What went right and how can the Tribe move forward? Back in March and June, I wrote about my bold predictions for the 2017 Cleveland Indians season. Well, let’s just say I’m not going to be running the team anytime […]

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Tribe Bullpen Could Look Different Without Shaw Next Season


How much money are the Cleveland Indians willing to put toward their vaunted bullpen?

That is something Tribe fans may find out this offseason. Arguably the best relief corps in baseball, the team has two key free agents in Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith. The bullpen would definitely have a different feel to it without Shaw, but to what lengths should the Tribe actually go to keep a reliever who is not one of its top two pitchers?

Shaw has been an absolute workhorse out of the bullpen for the Indians over the last five seasons. In three of those campaigns, he led the league in appearances, and in two of those, he led all of baseball. That includes this past season, when he threw in relief 79 times. He established a new career high with 80 outings in 2014. His low output was 70 games pitched in 2013, when he was new to the Tribe and manager Terry Francona was figuring out just what he had in what was then still a young arm.

Shaw has pitched nearly every other game for the Indians for five years and has been pretty good. At times, he has been great. However, the pitching-rich Indians will need to decide how much they are willing to spend on a reliever who, while very good, was their third or fourth best arm out of the bullpen at times during the 2017 season.

Cleveland already has more than $16 million tied up in its best two relievers. All-Star and bullpen ace Andrew Miller is due to make $9 million in 2018, the final year of his contract. Closer Cody Allen has one more arbitration-eligible season. He made $7.3 million this past year and did nothing to make you think that bill would be lower. His salary will surely go up a chunk (MLB Trade Rumors projects a figure of $10.8 million) and could be in line for a long-term contract this spring from the Tribe.

The Indians will need to decide just how much they want to break the bank on their bullpen. Shaw made $4.6 million last season. He will be 30 at the start of the new year. This is the first time he has been a free agent and you can be sure he is seeking a multi-year deal. Three or four years in the $6-$7 million range per season is probably about what it will take to ink a contract for a player who has been amazingly consistent for a reliever.

Many relief pitchers are prone to up and down years. They are rarely good every year. That is what makes Shaw so intriguing on the open market. In seven years in the Majors (including his first two with the Diamondbacks), Shaw has not had a bad year. He has had very good years and decent years, but no bad ones. A manager can put Shaw into the ‘pen and be sure of 70-80 appearances, with a certainty that most will end well. That really is all you can ask of any relief pitcher, especially one who usually pitches in tight spots with games on the line.

Some Cleveland fans have soured on Shaw over the year. That, however, is because he pitches so often and is not afraid to take the ball when it matters most. Because of that, Shaw has memorably lost some late games. People always remember when a set-up guy or late-inning reliever lets a game get away, rather than when he pitches a ho-hum, 1-2-3 frame to keep his team ahead, tied, or in striking distance, as Shaw has done many more times than not.

Shaw’s worst season out of his seven big league campaigns was actually this year. His 3.52 ERA was not great, but hardly alarming (consider a couple of really bad outings can truly skew a reliever’s numbers). However, if there is one cause for concern with the Tribe’s workhorse, it is that his numbers have declined over the past few years.

Shaw’s ERA in 2014 was a very good 2.59. It was his best since his 2.54 of his rookie year in 2011. It has risen each year since. In 2015 it was 2.95, then 3.24 in 2016, and then the 3.52 of this past summer. Whether all of the appearances logged and innings pitched have cause some wear and tear is unknown, but it is certainly a possibility. It could be the one thing that causes interested suitors to lower the relief specialist’s asking price.

If there is a team out there willing to give Shaw several years and $6 million or more per season, the Indians may have to think long and hard about bringing him back. That would be a lot of money to give three relievers. Consider, on the Indians, Shaw is at best the third bullpen option. Another team may view him as a No. 2 or even a lesser expensive No. 1 option, with the potential to slide into the closer’s role.

Cleveland may also lean toward bringing back Smith over Shaw. Smith was added by the Tribe in July as a trade-deadline deal. It was a bit of an unheralded move, but Smith has been a quality reliever since his debut in 2007. It was a homecoming for Smitty, who had been with the Indians from 2010-2013. Oddly enough, he was deemed expendable after the 2013 season because the Indians had learned that year that Shaw could be an effective and cheaper replacement. It could go the other way this winter.

While Smith has been a very good reliever and amazingly consistent for 11 years, he is almost essentially an older version of Shaw. Smith’s 3.83 ERA in 2010 was the worst of his career. Again, for a reliever to go that long without a truly bad season is pretty special.

Smith had a 3.33 ERA in 59 outings between Toronto and Cleveland. It was 3.44 in 21 games with the Tribe. His career ERA is 2.97. While Shaw has had very good years in the past, Smith has had some elite relief seasons. He topped out at a 1.81 ERA in 76 games for the 2014 Angels. He had a 2.01 ERA in 2011 and 2.29 ERA in 2013, both with the Tribe. Those are outstanding campaigns out of the ‘pen.

Where Smith could come cheaper than Shaw is due to age. Smith is about four years older than Shaw, who will turn 30 in less than two weeks. Smith will be 34 when the first pitch of 2018 is tossed. His days of getting a long-term deal are probably over, as teams tend to shy away from giving relievers long, hefty contracts when they are in their mid 30s. At most, he would perhaps garner two seasons around the $10 million mark in total (he played for $3 million last season after making more than $5 million in each of the three previous years). That would be affordable for the Tribe.

Smith’s price tag may be even lower considering he has not hit 60 appearances in either of the last two years. In his prime, from 2011-2015, Smith hit 70 or more for relief outings. That is coming down with age, as it naturally would.

Even considering that, Smith could still slide right into Shaw’s role as the Tribe’s No. 3 reliever and a key go-to guy in the seventh or eighth inning, with an ability to close on occasions that Allen and/or Miller need a night off.

The Tribe’s ‘pen is deep, beyond the big arms. Guys like Zach McAllister, Nick Goody, and Dan Otero give the Indians a plethora of trusted arms to count on out of the ‘pen that most teams would love to have.

Between all of the relievers on hand and the chance to keep Smith on what could be a more team-friendly contract, it could mean Shaw is expendable.

When Smith was about to hit 30, four years ago, Cleveland allowed him to walk away. The bullpen has not skipped a beat. It could happen again with another 30-year old. It would definitely be odd to see a Tribe ‘pen without its workhorse, but for what Shaw would cost and considering his role and gradually declining numbers, he may not be worth to the Indians what he could be worth to a team willing to spend a lot of money for the chance that he could resemble more frequently the reliever that he was in his 2014 and ’15 seasons.

Shaw is worth keeping for the Indians, but the only question is, at what cost? We may find that out in the next month or so.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images



Cleveland Indians: Several players up for Gold Glove Awards


The Cleveland Indians are well-represented in this year’s list of Gold Glove Award finalists as the postseason awards are set to be handed out soon. It is almost time for postseason awards to be handed out, and the Cleveland Indians have several players who are up for some top honors. Fans would much rather have […]

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