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● CODY ALLEN (updated) INDIAN to move on for 2019 team (more young guys?) ●

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CODY ALLEN 6th INDIAN to move on for 2019 team

By Joe Noga, cleveland.com    updated Jan. 18, 2019

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Free agent closer Cody Allen, the all-time leader in saves for the Cleveland Indians with 149, is close to signing a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, according to a report by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Allen’s deal, pending a physical, is believed to be worth about $8.5 million plus $2.5 million in incentives.

Allen, 30, becomes the sixth ex-Indians player to move on from the 2018 roster, joining free agents Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Josh Donaldson, Lonnie Chisenhall and Rajai Davis. Reliever James Hoyt signed a minor-league deal to stay with the organization in December.

Los Angeles will reportedly give Allen an opportunity to close games, which could account for Allen’s willingness to sign for less money up front. With Blake Parker signing in Minnesota, Kenyan Middleton’s six saves in 2018 were the most by a remaining pitcher on the Angels roster. Last year, Allen signed a one-year contract to avoid arbitration with the Indians for $10.57 million.

In his final season with Cleveland, Allen appeared in 70 games and collected 27 saves in 32 chances. He finished with a career-worst 4.70 ERA and 80 strikeouts, the fewest in his career for a full season, while giving up a career-worst 11 home runs. Prior to an up-and-down 2018, Allen had been a workhorse for the Indians, averaging at least 66 innings per season and a sub-3.00 ERA.

Last year, Allen’s velocity dipped slightly and hitters began making more contact on pitches out of the strike zone (56.9 percent) and his swinging strike rate dipped to 12.7 percent.

Manager Terry Francona said he did not think Allen’s pending free agency had an impact on his performance in the second half of the 2018 season, but admitted that it’s human nature for players to think about it.

“I don’t ever remember seeing him out of sorts,” Francona said in October after the Indians lost to Houston in the American League Division Series.

“I think Cody was one of the guys that we always look to. He cares about the right things. He knows the difference between right and wrong and he’s a pretty solid team guy. I think it’s human nature that you think about those things. I don’t think it got him out of whack.”

Acquired by Cleveland in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft out of High Point (N.C.) University, Allen made his big league debut the following July against Baltimore. On May 12, 2013, Allen struck out Detroit’s Matt Tuiasosopo in the bottom of the 10th to preserve a 4-3 Indians win and earn his first career save. He settled into the closer role over the next six seasons, posting at least 30 saves and no more than four blown saves for three straight years beginning in 2015.

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Oh 5 of those 6 players were former All Stars.

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — It could be well into spring training before the Cleveland Indians add a veteran via trade or free agency to address the question of what their outfield will look like by opening day, but some outfielders already on the Tribe’s roster are hoping to take advantage of their opportunity before then.

The mass departure of established outfielders this offseason has created a chance for young guys to step in and become the answer the Indians are searching for. Gone are free agents Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Melky Cabrera, Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis — a group that accounted for 32 total home runs and 157 RBI with 186 runs scored in 2018.

Cleveland’s current 40-man roster features five outfielders younger than age 27, with Leonys Martin, who turns 31 in March, as the elder statesman of the group. The Tribe acquired Martin from Detroit in July, and he appeared in six games before picking up a life-threatening bacterial infection that ended his season. Martin was in the midst of his best campaign since 2014 before falling ill. He was hitting .255 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI and a career-high .747 OPS in 84 games.

Now 100 percent healthy, Martin signed a one-year, $3 million contract to avoid arbitration in November. But .........CONTINUED IN ABOVE LINK.....

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Roberto Perez has waited five seasons for the chance to be the No. 1 option behind the plate for the Cleveland Indians. After the Tribe traded away All-Star catcher Yan Gomes in November, the starting spot is now presumably Perez’s job to lose heading into spring training.

Perez will compete against four-year veteran Kevin Plawecki, recently acquired in a trade with the Mets, and rookie Eric Haase, the club’s No. 27 overall prospect who hit 20 home runs at Class AAA Columbus last year.

It’s a chance the 30-year-old Perez is not going to take lightly.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a couple years,” Perez said. “Now that I have it, I’m going to get the most out of it. I feel like I’m ready. We’ve got a great team, especially our pitching staff, which is our strength. I want to try to get the most out of it and help my pitching staff.”

After appearing in just 62 games and collecting 210 plate appearances during the 2018 regular season, Perez petitioned the Indians to let him play in the Dominican winter league so he could get some additional at-bats. He batted .333 with a .853 OPS including a home run, four doubles, 11 RBI and 10 walks in 24 games.

“It’s easier when you get the chance to play every day and show what you can do,” Perez said. “That’s why I went down there. Not only to catch, because I think my defense is there, but to take great at-bats and feel more like myself.”........CONTINUED IN ABOVE LINK.......

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — One of the missing pieces in the Cleveland Indians' outfield is optimistic about his chances to get back on the field by spring training.

Centerfielder Bradley Zimmer had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in July and missed the final three months of the 2018 season. The recovery time was reported at 8-12 months, but the 26-year-old is hoping to return sooner rather than later.

“Based on how I’m feeling now, I feel like I’ll be ready for spring training,” Zimmer said. “Whether they turn me lose by then or not, I feel like I’m in a really good place right now, physically.”

The Indians announced Friday that Zimmer is currently hitting off a tee and throwing up to 75 feet with no issues. He is expected to have some restrictions at start of training camp as he continues his return to play progression. Game activity will depend on his response to activity in February.

Zimmer thinks he originally injured the shoulder when he crashed into the center field wall at Yankee Stadium on May 5. He missed nearly three weeks with bruised ribs before being optioned to Class AAA Columbus where he suffered the shoulder injury during a workout.

“In the aftermath (of the crash) I kept playing and something felt a little weird,” Zimmer said. “I kept playing and then I took a swing and just felt a tear and some discomfort. Went and saw the doctors and addressed it from there.” .........CONTINUED IN LINK........

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