Anticipating the Announcement on Carmona and Sizemore’s Options

By Monday, we’ll know what the Indians have decided about both the Grady Sizemore  ($9 million) and Fausto Carmona ($7 million) options for 2012.  That’s because the Indians have three days after the end of the World Series to make these decisions, and if Game 7 is necessary, it will take place Friday.

I’ve written about both these options several times (I’ve written about them so many times I’ve even repeated titles).  To reiterate, my thinking went something like this:

  • They will pick up Fausto’s option, which is probably wise.  It seems odd to suggest that Fausto Carmona and “risk-averse” should be used in the same sentence, but there won’t be a pitcher available for that amount of money on a one year deal who’s more likely than Fausto to give us #2-#3 production.  In that way, picking up the option is the least risky thing to do.  This is only compounded by the fact that we’ll be without Carlos Carrasco for all of 2012.
  • They will not pick up Sizemore’s $9 million option.  This could result in them announcing a new, multi-year deal with Sizemore—which Paul Hoynes has said is out of the question—or just cutting him loose.  But spending $9 million on a one-year player who’s most recent list of accomplishments include two knee surgeries, a sports-hernia surgery and a bum elbow just doesn’t make much sense.  If they believe his injuries are temporary, they try their hardest to sign him to a three year contract; if not, they don’t.  Either way, $9 million for one year seems crazy.

Or at least that’s what I think.

But it’s important to remember that what I think and what you think and what anyone else who’s not intimately familiar with the Indians’ front office thinks is not only not important (since we won’t make the decision), but probably not all that valid.

And that’s because there are somewhere between 100 and 1,000 things that we just can’t know about this situation.  There are the obvious things, like MRIs that we don’t have access to, or off-season workouts that we don’t get to see, or in-house evaluation metrics that aren’t shared with the public.

But there are also the more nebulous factors.  What sort of team does Chris Antonetti want to build?  Does he value veteran players (beyond their on-field production)?  Does ownership have a say in this?  If so, how much?  Does the front office, despite what they say publicly, feel that it’s 2012 or bust for this group?  Each of these questions has an answer that could significantly impact the decision facing the club this weekend.  And while we like to imagine that we can divine the motivations and impulses of our front office, the truth is that we really have no idea what they’re thinking.

So while I’m pretty confident in my prediction, I also have this nagging feeling that I might get surprised this weekend.  If I had to guess, Antonetti and company have already made their decisions.  Sunday will just offer the formality and finality of an official announcement.  And the reminder that for all the thinking and writing we do about these things: we just can’t predict what a team will do when they have more information than we do.  Remember the Ubaldo trade?

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • mgbode

    Sabean in SF loves veteran players who get injured alot. So, if we do pickup that option, then maybe it’s to trade him there 🙂

  • oribiasi

    What if we let go of both of these guys and focus on some hitters? That would be nice and really, we can do without Fausto. I think he could conceivably bounce back, sure; but the risk there is that we suffer through another 8-15 season with him with his era around 5.00 I doubt we can compete. Imagine if we had like 15-20 more wins this year?

  • friscohio

    The radio stations out here are saying the same thing. He’d be a better option than what the Giants currently have.

  • I wish Hoynes would give more insight onto why a multi-year deal wouldn’t work or why he wouldn’t re-sign with the Tribe is he does become a free agent.

    Is it because he doesn’t want to be here? Is the money too much for the Indians? Too little for Grady?

    Without any additional information it came off sounding more like an opinion.

  • “Is it because he doesn’t want to be here? Is the money too much for the Indians? Too little for Grady?”

    It sounds like Sizemore’s agent doesn’t want to negotiate a multi-year deal that would not only pay Grady less in 2011, but would be negotiated based off of a two-year window which has been plagued with injuries. Sure, entering free agency would be a similar result to the latter, but Joe Urbon knows that regardless of what the Indians would be willing to pay in the open market, another team would be able to throw more money his way over what would likely be just as many seasons.

  • Steve

    Narm – because Sizemore, even in his current state, can earn more than 9 million over the next 3 years, and I’m not sure why anyone ever thought he couldn’t. Ben Sheets got $10 million after not throwing one major league pitch in 2009, from a small market team. I know its a bit different for pitching, but teams are going to take a chance when the upside is there. The list of free agents who can play centerfield that look worth anything at all is Carlos Beltran, and maybe, if you squint really hard, you can convince yourself that Fukudome or Dejesus wouldn’t be awful out there. Someone is going to take a shot on Sizmore this year, the next one, and the one after that.

  • mgbode

    whoever takes a shot at Sizemore (or Beltran for that matter) should be doing so as a LF.

    both those guys have to preserve their knees. one of the reasons that Beltran was able to stay healthier than Grady this year is that the Mets wisely put him in LF.

  • Ghost To Most

    I will grudgingly admit that the Tribe is probably better off picking up Carmona’s option. The list of available free agent pitchers is not promising, and I dont want to hear about guys we cant afford like Buerhle and CJ Wilson. We already have a gaping hole in our rotation with Carrasco’s injury.

    Part of me wants Carmona gone but I also realize that we cant subscribe to the ABC theory (Anybody But Carmona) because the alternative could easily end up being Jeanmar Gomez or Zach McAllister in our rotation for a full season. Not sure if thats a good idea for a team that is apparently trying to win a division.

    Grady is gone, I cant see them picking up his option. And I highly doubt he would accept a paycut to stay here. He can take a paycut and get a fresh start somewhere else, like New York or San Francisco.

  • Dennison

    If it were me, I’d say let both of them walk. You talk about Fausto as if he’s a Tomlin or a Masterson. We could safely bring up Gomez or McAllister to fill Fausto’s shoes. At this point in Fausto’s career, Huff would be an upgrade over him.

  • NJ

    @6- Exactly. Sizemore has such tremendous upside that teams with money have the luxury to roll the dice on him regardless of his health.

    I’ve said before, this Sizemore situation has always been lose, lose for the organization. And the worst part, the reason they may keep him, is that there really isn’t anywhere all that great to put that $8.5M if they decline the option. Like Carmona, Sizemore may be the best bad option.

    @2- In what world does getting rid of Carmona get us 20 more wins? If we don’t sign him, who do we start in his place? As Jon has pointed out before, if you look at the stats that really matter (not W/L or ERA), 2011 “Get rid of him” Fausto is pretty much the same thing as 2007 “Future Cy Young winner” Fausto.

  • Hermie13

    FYI, the Mets did not put Beltran in LF….he played RF. Jason Bay was their LFer. Your point still stands, moved him out of CF (Griffey did a similar thing too).

    As far as moving Grady…meh. His injuries have been on the bases, not from running in the OF. So whether he’s playing CF, LF, 1B, or DH it really wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to Grady in LF…but you do hurt the OF defense by putting Brantley in CF. May be the best long-term move as Brantley MUST improve in CF or his value takes a huge hit.

    Also wouldn’t mind seeing BJ Upton brought in to play CF.

  • Hermie13


    Um….Carmona kind of IS Tomlin though.

    From June 1st on….Josh Tomlin posted a 5.24 ERA.

    From June 1st on….Carmona posted a 5.21 ERA.

    Josh Tomlin had 2 very good months to start the year, then was a #5 starter the rest of the way. Jeremy Sowers was great for 2 months in 2006 as well….but hitters will adjust to guys with bad stuff. Tomlin has much better control and has shown the ability to go deeper into games, so think he can remain a ML starter…but if he doesn’t improve (and get healthy), he may be in the bullpen in a year or two.

    Basically the Indians had Masterson and pray for rain last year….he was the only above average starter there. Carmona is a pain, but is 1 year rmoved from an All-Star 2010 season. If he comes anywhere near those numbers, he’s a good #3/4. You have to keep him…and IMO, add another starter on top of him.

  • NJ

    Tomlin ’11 – K/9 4.84, BB/9 1.14, HR 1.31, xFip 4.03, WAR 1.8
    Carmona ’11- K/9 5.20, BB/9 2.86, HR 1.06, xFip 4.17, WAR 1.5

    Tomlin was better thanks to less walks, but they’re not THAT far away from each other. Saying Fausto is garbage while saying Tomlin is amazing is just wrong. Perception is not reality.

    We’re going to need Huff, McAllister, and Gomez to fill a starting position as is (and step in when the eventual injuries occur). Hoping that they can fill two is ridiculous when you have a serviceable, reasonably priced starter in Carmona (with options too).

  • mgbode

    @Hermie – thanks for the correction on Beltran.

    on Sizemore, even if the injuries happen on the basepaths, I tend to believe the overall grind he puts on them in CF could affect it. I think about it like a pitcher with an extra days rest.

  • Ghost To Most

    David Huff is not an upgrade over Carmona. This is where the unrealistic expectations placed on Carmona cloud people’s judgment. Carmona fooled a lot of people into believing that he was an ace with his remarkable season in 07. The truth is, he’s more of a 4/5 type starter, a back of the rotation inner eater.

    Huff had a string of nice starts when he was called up in July, but quickly reverted back to the old David Huff. Huff only logged 6+ innings in 4 of his 10 starts, and it was taking him 100 pitches just to get through 5 innings. In his last 7 starts Huff posted an ERA of 6, allowed 6 home runs, allowed 41 hits and walked 13 batters for a WHIP of 1.63. I really hoped that Huff had turned a corner, but he’s the same guy that he always was. Now imagine a 1.63 WHIP throughout the course of an entire season. Yikes.

    As for Tomlin, Im thinking, or at least hoping that his elbow issue had been lingering for some time before we found out about it. He was quite good until the All Star break, afterward not so much. His control is quite remarkable, he averaged about 1 walk per 9 innings which I believe was tops in the American League. If healthy, he could turn out to be a right handed Mark Buehrle. I dont think we should get too down on him for how he pitched in late July and into August, because I dont think he was healthy.

  • TSR3000

    Not sure if anyone has seen this:

    Interesting ideas on what to do this off season.

  • khdenn

    Call me crazy, but I feel like we are the Astros last year talking about Lance Berkman, when we are discussing Grady this year. I think it’s a mistake cutting him loose. I would hate seeing him have a good year with another team and making it to October. This is the year(s) we have decided to “go for it” a player like Grady for $9 million is the type of “go for it” moves a team makes.

  • NJ

    I agree on Huff. Like to keep him around to see if he can get it together, but that nice little run he put together didn’t negate all the suckitude.

  • mgbode

    @17 – I don’t see it. Berkman was being called out for being out of shape and unmotivated in Houston (rather viciously by local media which was shocking because he was a local kid, went to Rice, etc).

    Berkman dedicated his offseason into getting into shape and onto a contender and had a renaissance year (hitting in a particularly friendly spot).

    Grady has been injury prone for years now. He ‘could’ stay healthy, but $9mil is a ton to gamble on a player who ‘could’ stay healthy (and you really don’t know what % of his former self he will be if healthy)

  • Drew

    I’m going to preface my opinion with the fact that Grady Sizemore is my favorite Indian.

    There isn’t a single player on this team with an upside higher than Grady’s with a possible exception of Choo. Letting Grady walk and bringing in a free agent OF is going to cost the team just as much money without the potential of having a top 10 WAR player.

    Let’s face it, with our market the Tribe has to take some risks and get a little lucky to have a chance at winning the Series any time in the near future.

    Carmona will be back and will be paid $7 million to eat up another 200 innings.

  • Shamrock

    Let ’em both go and pay a real life hitter.

  • @20 Great post.

    We’re not a contender as currently assembled. We need another big bat before we’re to be taken seriously – and Grady represents the best opportunity for that bat. There isn’t anyone else out there that we are going to sign that will provide that bat – so if we TRULY want to contend, we almost have to bring Grady back.

    Another point – the microfracture was ALWAYS going to be a two-year recovery. I would hate to pay for his recovery time and then cut him loose right when he is scheduled to be healthy.

    (I totally understand the sentiment to cut him loose – but look at 1B on this team and look at our OF depth. Without Grady, we are going to have some GLARING holes.)

  • mgbode

    103, 33, 71 – games played the last 3 seasons

    bruised right knee (2x in 2011), bone contusion on right knee, sports hernia surgery, microfracture surgery on left knee, another sports hernia surgery, surgery on left elbow

    let’s just remember we are not just talking about recovering from one surgery here. with Grady, we could still have every hole we would have without him, but be paying $9mil for it.

  • matt underwood

    cut grady. no way in hell he gets that kind of money on the open market. if he wont sign a new deal he will be lucky to get a $2m or $3m deal in FA.