Despite overtures from other e-mail providers and offers to share the question-answering duties with other, more accomplished baseball scribes, I have made "The Decision" to keep responding to your Indians Inbox submissions right here, in Cleveland, in this space.
So as we head into the second half of the 2010 season, keep those questions coming at email@example.com.
Where did this Jared Goedert come from, and will he be in line to replace Jhonny Peralta if he's traded? -- Ryan M., Lakewood, Ohio
Goedert was raised by wolves in the Pskem Mountain Range of Uzbekistan. He was discovered by Georgian Apostolic Orthodox monks and was employed, at a young age, as a short-order cook for the Archbishop of Constantinople. He ran away at 16 and hitched a ride on a train to Nettuno, Italy, where he learned baseball from the locals and was discovered by legendary European scout Angelo Giuseppe Rosetti. Goedert fell in love with Rosetti's daughter, the voluptuous Viviana Rosetti, whose lifelong dream was to study kinesiology and dietetics at Kansas State. Geodert followed her there, and the Indians drafted him in 2006.
I didn't have Goedert's bio handy, so the preceding paragraph was entirely made up. Well, except for the part about the Tribe drafting him out of K-State.
While it seems Goedert came out of nowhere, the truth is the Indians viewed him as a legitimate prospect back in 2007, when he hit .364 with 16 homers and a 1.191 OPS in 46 games at Class A Lake County. But Goedert injured his shoulder that season and quickly fell off the map. The Indians might have exacerbated the issue by having Goedert try to learn second base while his shoulder was bothering him.
It took Goedert a few years to get to a point where he felt comfortable swinging the bat again. And if his numbers at Akron (.325 average, .922 OPS in 44 games) and Columbus (.326 average, 1.118 OPS in 33 games) are any indication, he's mighty comfortable.
Both manager Manny Acta and GM Mark Shapiro have said in the past week that Goedert is on the Major League radar.
"Going forward," Shapiro said, "his defense is going to need to improve, particularly with us and where we are with our sinkerballers in the rotation."
The Indians are going to be looking for somebody to take over at third next year. Top third base prospect Lonnie Chisenhall won't be ready yet, so it could be Goedert. It could be Jayson Nix. Heck, it could be Peralta. If the Indians decline Peralta's $7 million option, as expected, they could still bring him back for 2011 on a smaller salary.
For now, the Indians will obviously explore any trade possibilities involving Peralta, but he hasn't held up his end of the bargain with his substandard stats. At the least, Goedert figures to get a September callup.
I was checking out some stats of our "top prospects" and saw that Alex White appears to be dominating in Double-A Akron. I know he started the year in Kinston, but is there any talk of him getting promoted to Triple-A, especially with the starters in Columbus struggling? -- Andrew, no location given
None at the moment, Andrew. In the Indians' view, White has already ascended faster than their average prospect. He's in his first professional season and he's already reached Double-A. They don't want to heap too much on him too fast.
White is one of the few arms in the upper levels of the farm system that appears to possess the stuff of a front-of-the-rotation arm, and his numbers in Akron (4-4 record, 1.53 ERA, 35 strikeouts, 16 walks in 59 innings over 10 starts) are encouraging. Just a year ago, it was speculated that White's future is in a bullpen, but he's showing obvious starting potential down on the farm.
Look for White to get his first taste of Triple-A next year. His first taste of the big leagues might not be far behind.
With LeBron James leaving the Cavs, is there any chance this helps the Tribe long-term? My reasoning is that the good people of Cleveland will buy more Indians tickets instead of Cavs tickets. Any chance this logic actually works, and if so, to what extent? -- Keith C., Akron, Ohio
LeBron left? Was this announced somewhere?
Your logic is sound, Keith, provided the Indians put an entertaining and competitive product on the field, as planned, in the coming years. This wasn't exactly a basketball town before LeBron came along, and it's reasonable to suspect that the Cavaliers will take a serious hit without James on the court. But give the Cavs credit for getting their season-ticket base to make their first 2010-11 payments long before the nationally broadcast ego stroke known as "The Decision."
Don't assume those folks who became Cavs season-ticket holders when LeBron came along will suddenly switch over to Progressive Field. The Indians will have to win them over the old-fashioned way.
It seems like the promotion of Carlos Santana has sent a spark into this lineup. If he continues to swing the bat the way he is and manages to hold the starting position for the rest of the season, would he qualify to be in the running for AL Rookie of the Year? -- Rob F., Ashtabula, Ohio
Santana will qualify for the award and should get some consideration, if his first month in the big leagues is a taste of things to come in the second half. Obviously, those who have been at this level for the length of the season deserve the most attention for such an honor. I'd have to think the Tigers' Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch are the early favorites for the award. Then again, if they steal each other's votes, maybe that helps somebody like Santana sneak to the top. Too early to say, but the answer for now is, yes, Santana is eligible.
Have a question about the Indians?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Indians beat reporter Jordan Bastian for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
Don't get me wrong. I'm having a great time watching Santana. However, I am also a fan of Lou Marson. Do you think there's any chance the club will keep him and maybe make him the backup catcher next year? -- Jeff T., Mentor, Ohio
Somebody's going to have to back up Santana next season, and Marson is an obvious candidate. For now, the Indians want him playing every day in Columbus to improve his offense (which, as his .153 Triple-A average and .618 OPS illustrate, has plenty of room for improvement). Marson made clear defensive strides and showed some offensive improvement in the big leagues the first two months of this season. If he can put it all together, he could be a valuable trading chip for the Tribe, given the ever-present need for quality catching in this game.
But if the Indians opt to keep Marson as the No. 2 catcher, he could get more playing time than the average backup backstop, as Santana figures to see some time at first base in 2010. In Spring Training next year, Santana will begin taking groundballs at the position. He'll remain primarily a catcher, but, as was the case with Victor Martinez, the Indians think the occasional game at first will lessen the wear and tear on Santana's body while keeping his bat in the lineup.
Anderson Hernandez, Jason Donald, Andy Marte, Jayson Nix. Who should be the odd man out when Asdrubal Cabrera returns? -- Jose T., Utuado, Puerto Rico
Not that it matters, but Hernandez gets my vote. Marte has more value as a backup to Peralta at third, and Donald has more of a future here. Then again, because Nix seems to have won the starting second-base job, don't rule out the possibility of Donald getting sent down to continue playing on an everyday basis.
Cabrera, who began a Minor League rehab assignment earlier this week, could be back by the end of the month.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Kerry Wood was a bust. I don't understand why management refuses to make the switch to Chris Perez as closer. Seeing as how he is the closer of the future and this season has only been about preparing for that future, it would make sense to start giving him chances now, when there is virtually no pressure nor expectation for success. -- Patch R., Columbus, Ohio
At some point, perhaps soon, the Indians have to give Perez a meaningful opportunity to take over the ninth, because there's little sense in delaying the inevitable. Alas, there is a certain code that must be followed, in terms of allowing a veteran like Wood to remain in his role, provided he doesn't cough it up through a prolonged stretch of misery. So Wood will likely remain the closer unless or until the Indians find a taker for him.
Speaking of which ...
Will Wood be traded? Second, I have heard if he is moved we should only expect salary relief. Why only salary relief? Why not pay his salary and get a prospect or two? -- Keith C., somewhere in the Midwest
Interest in Wood has been minimal, at best, to this point. But keep in mind that, because of his contract, he has the potential to be dealt all the way up until the end of August. As far as what the Indians would look to accomplish in such a deal, getting salary relief, believe it or not, is not the main objective. The Indians, already operating on a slim payroll, are not looking to move salary but rather to acquire talent and/or open up opportunities for the young kids in-house. I could see them eating all or most of Wood's contract if it means getting young talent back.
I went to a game at The Prog recently, and you can only get into the bowl an hour before the game starts? Batting practice is just winding up then. It seemed crazy. Is this a permanent thing, something they are doing to cut costs, a security thing? It just doesn't make a lot of sense. -- Will M., Bay Village, Ohio
Actually, Gate C is open for batting practice for two and a half hours before weekday and Saturday games, allowing fans to watch BP from the right-field stands. In the past, all gates opened at 5:30, around the time the Indians were coming off the field. Now, Gate C opens early, and the rest of the gates open an hour before first pitch.
All gates open at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays.
And finally ... I refer to Santana as "The Maestro." -- John H., Seattle
I tried, in vain, to decree "The Supernatural" as Santana's official nickname. Some readers revolted. They still want to call him "The Axe Man" or "Smooth" or who knows what else. Ultimately, what you call Santana is up to you. But calling him "Maestro" might be deemed offensive by real Maestros, such as the leader of the Policeman's Benevolent Association Orchestra.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. He blogs about baseball at CastroTurf. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.