The Indians made their solid bullpen even better when they signed Japanese relief pitcher Masa Kobayashi to a two year deal for $6 million. There’s also a $3.25 million option for 2010. Kobayashi had over 200 saves over in Japan but if there’s a cause for concern, it’s that 2007 was all that great of a year for him. Still more options are better then less and the talk about the relievers three pitches makes me think he’ll be quality addition to the Indians bullpen.
After a serious playoff drought, the Indians made it back to the promised land in 2007 and the man behind the players was manager Eric Wedge. He was rewarded today by being awarded the manager of the year award. Wedge picked up 19 of the 28 first place votes and he had almost twice as many points as the second place manager in Mike Scioscia. He was also the only manager to show up on all 28 ballots.
Wedge of course was rewarded with a contract extension through 2010. Hopefully this playoff run wasn’t a fluke and he can put together another season like the Indians had this past year.
C.C. Sabathia beat out Josh Beckett for the American League Cy Young and the big left hander was definitely deserving. He led the majors with 241 and during those innings, he was one of the best pitchers in the game. It’s hard to believe Sabathia is just 27 because he’s been around so long but putting together this awesome season went a huge way towards the Indians making it to the ALCS this year. Now we just have to hope for a followup performance in 2008.
Kevin Goldstein recently unveiled his list of top Indian prospects and the team’s conundrum, Adam Miller tops the list. He’s now a four star prospect and while the sky was the limit heading into 2007 for Miller, injuries forced him to throw just 65 innings in Triple A. Miller should compete for a spot in the rotation but his health is definitely a concern.
Third baseman Wes Hodges checks in at number two and first baseman Beau Mills round out the four star prospects. Mills was the team’s number one pick this year and he played as high as High A. Chuck Lofgren is fourth and he’s probably about a year away while Nick Weglarz is a big left handed slugger that finishes up the top five.
Goldstein concludes that while there’s no studs, the Indians do have some solid depth. You also have to consider that Asdrubal Cabrera probably would have been second on this list had he had more time to season in the minors.
The Indians picked up their $7.5 million option on starting pitcher Paul Byrd today to help shore up a rotation that helped push the Indians to within a game of the World Series. C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona make a formidable one-two punch but a healthy Jake Westbrook and an effective Paul Byrd in the middle of the rotation would go a long way towards the Indians winning the division.
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