Indians Outfielder arrested on suspected DUI charge

Clevland’s outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was arrested early Monday morning in the Cleveland suburb of Sheffield Lake on charges of driving under the influence.

Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement. “We are aware of the incident with Shin-Soo Choo and have spoken to him about it. The Indians organization takes these issues very seriously, and we are disappointed in the matter. “We will continue to monitor the situation and we will not have any further comment at this time.”

The Right Fielder has a hearing on Thursday at 5pm EST  at the Sheffield Lake Mayor’s Court.

“I sincerely apologize to my family, teammates, fans and the Indians organization for the attention stemming from this matter,” Choo said in a statement. “However, I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to the Indians organization while we remain focused on continuing to play winning baseball. Since this is a legal matter, I look forward to it being resolved within the court system as soon as possible.”

According to the official police report, a breathalyzer test performed at the Sheffield Lake station determined Choo’s blood-alcohol level to be .2. Prior to being transported to the police station, Choo also failed a handful of field sobriety tests.

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Carlos Carrasco leaves game early

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher, Carlos Carrasco left his start early on Easter Sunday with a tight elbow.  He went 3 innings, giving up 2 runs with 1 strikeout.  Carrasco is off to an OK start.  He’s 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in 29 total innings pitched.

Expect David Huff to start in his place until he returns.

This is kind of scary for the Indians and their fans.  Usually people incorporated Tommy John surgery with “tight” elbows, hopefully this isn’t the case.  The Indians are off to a great start posting a 13-8 record and 1.5 games ahead in the American League Central division.

Trade Candidate: Grady Sizemore

Once praised as a top player in all of baseball, Grady Sizemore is next up on our trade candidate series.

Sizemore is having a great rebound after being out all but 33 games last season.  Thus far he has posted a line of .357/.400/.714 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in 7 games.  If Sizemore continues, he may have quite a few bidders.  What makes Sizemore a team-friendly case is his contract.  He is scheduled to make $7.5MM this season with an $8.5MM team option. Well, let’s get down to business and predict some fits:

Washington Nationals – There a top candidate to acquire almost any top CF option.  These options include BJ Upton, Matt Kemp, Michael Bourn and of course, Grady Sizemore.  Michael Bourn is cheaper, but Sizemore can give alot more.  The Nationals payroll this season is at $68,306,929.  They pursued all top free agents last season like Cliff Lee and came up short.  They have the money to spend for Sizemore.  Sizemore is the most expensive out of the above options but is only scheduled to make $7.5MM as I said before.  Look for the Nationals to purusue all these options!

Texas Rangers – I listed them as an option for Upton, as well.  Right now, they have Julio Borbon in center field.  Borbon is only scheduled to make $490K this season so he is a cheap center field option.  They could still acquire Sizemore and use Borbon as a 4th OF.  They have Jurickson Profar who has been in recent trade rumors and could be used as prime trade bait.  If the Rangers are in contention, which we expect they will be, they could still at least call the Tribe and inquire about him.

Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers are rumored to try to acquire a bunch of big names including Jose Reyes.  They need a center fielder.  There current center fielder is Carlos Gomez.  However, the Brewers farm system is picked clean after acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.  The Brewers need a center fielder and shortstop.  Jose Reyes and Sizemore are great fits if they plan to do an “all or nothing” type of season.

These are the top 3 destinations for Grady.  The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves are candidates too, but they have the untradeable contracts in Nate McLouth and Aaron Rowand. If they can somehow get rid of them, they will also be in the running to acquire Sizemore.  This is pending of course, they are in contention, which they should be.

Best Upcoming Free Agents

This will be by position for all upcoming and potential free agents.

Catcher – Ramon Hernandez is probably the best available upcoming catcher.  The only problem is, can he play 130 plus games? Last season, in 97 games he hit .297.  Doumit will be available but he isn’t consistent.  Ramon Hernandez, if he can play on a consistent bases, is the best available catcher.

First Base  – Easy one, Albert Pujols!  Pujols will be a free agent for the first time in his career, and we analyzed earlier which teams may be interested.  It is very likely that he’ll come to some sort of an agreement with the Cardinals before then.  Other than Pujols, Prince Fielder is due for a big day.

Second Base – Brandon Phillips is a potential free agent so he makes the list.  He has a $12MM club option upcoming which the Reds will most likely accept.  Next on the list is definitely Kelly Johnson.  He can hit for power (26 HR last season) and can hit for a great average.  If Phillips’ option is accepted, Kelly Johnson is easily worth $7MM-$9MM annually.  This is obviously pending if he repeats last seasons success.

Third Base – Easy. Aramis Ramirez.  He is without a doubt the best third baseman available.  The next best available (arugably) is Omar Infante.  He’s due to make $14.6MM this season and has a team option worth $16MM for 2012.  This will most likely be declined.  Ramirez will likely make $10MM-$13MM annually pending he returns to his old form.

Shortstop – Another easy one.  Jose Reyes.  He is coming off of an injury prone season in 2009 (33 games played) and came back in 2010 and play 133 games. Reyes had a great season last year. 11 HR, 54 RBI, 30 SB and a .282 AVG.  He is only featured in out list of possible trade candidates.  Reyes is due $11MM this season.  If he repeats last seasons success, he’ll be worth that, if not more in such a shallow position.

Left Field – Johnny Damon is arguably the best LF available this upcoming offseason.  He’s played in 140 games or more since the 1996 season.  He still provides a bit of pop (8 in 2010), can steal a handful of bases.  But, after this offseason he’ll be reaching 38 years old an is a more enticing DH.  Damon is due to make $5.25MM this season.  He’ll probably make less on the open market next season.

Right Field – Nick Swisher would easily top this list but his club option will likely be expected.  There isn’t really a clean cut “best.”  David DeJesus, JD Drew, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer are interesting options.  If Jason Kubel can still play the field, he’d probably be the best.  He’s silently averaged 25 HR and98 RBI per season.  If he can play RF, he is the best available RF.

Center Field – Grady Sizemore takes the cake here.  There is an $8.5MM team option which I presume the Tribe will most likely take.  If that’s the case, Carlos Beltran will top the list.  Beltran may not be able to play CF, possibly, but more than likely LF.  Sizemore will be well worth the $8.5MM his option dictates.

Starting Pitcher – CC Sabathia if he opts out.  It’s looking more and more like he will.  $92MM over 4 years translates into $23MM annually.  If Sabathia can repeat his usual Cy Young performance, he’ll be worth around $25MM or so.

Relief Pitcher – I’ll give this one to Kerry Wood.  Struggled in Cleveland but went to the Yankees and dominated.  He has a 3.65 lifetime ERA.  He’s due to make $1.5MM this season.  If he repeats somewhat of what he did in New York, he’ll be in the mix for a multi-year deal.  He’ll be worth somewhere around $4MM-$5MM a season.

Closer – Easily Heath Bell if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Padres.  Since becoming a closer in 2009, he’s averaged 46 saves per season.  He will easily be worth anywhere from $10MM-$15MM a year annually if he does not sign an extension with the Padres.

Trade Candidate: Brett Myers

One of the more underrated pitchers in the game, Myers can offer a lot to a team in the mix of a pennant race.

Myers posted a 3.14 ERA last season with a 14-8 record with 180 K’s.

Brett Myers recently signed a 2yr/$23MM extension with the Astros that also offers a $10MM vesting option with a $3MM buyout.

A team with deeper pockets might pursue Myers since he is scheduled to make $7MM this season and $11MM next season. There are plently of teams that could be in search for his services. My list includes:

Philadelphia Phillies
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals
Cleveland Indians
Baltimore Orioles
Texas Rangers
Colorado Rockies

Could the White Sox pursue Myers again? They tried to at the deadline last season exploring a deal that would have sent Edwin Jackson to Houston.

In my opinion, the White Sox have the best chance. They may just be in the mix for an AL Central title and might need a pitcher of Myers’ caliber to push them over the top. Expect them to re-explore the Jackson offer.

Of course, the Yankees are a favorite as well. But, so aren’t their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are a team that have a few struggling pitchers in Lackey and Matsuzaka. Myers would definitely help the Red Sox out, but who coudl they offer?

All in all, the Red Sox and White Sox are my personal favorites to acquire Myers’ services.

Trade Candidate: Fausto Carmona

Fausto Carmona will probably be one of the most coveted SP on the trade market this season.

The ace of the Cleveland Indians is scheduled to make $6.1MM this season with 3 team options. The Indians may look to trade other top players in Carmona, Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Orlando Cabrera and others.

Thus far, Carmona is 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA which aren’t exactly enticing numbers for rival teams to pursue him. But, if he can turn it around and even become an average pitcher, he may have teams swarm him with interest.

Most notably, the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees could pursue him in hopes for a playoff push. The Yankees may pursue much more heavily considering all the rotation questions heading into the season and the struggles of Phil Hughes. Carmona could quite possibly even get those team options of his which are worth $7MM, $9MM, $12MM respectively. Keep in mind that Carmona’s old teammate, CC Sabathia is a New York Yankee as well. I’m unsure how their relationship but considering they were teammates for 3 1/2 seasons, you could only imagine their relationship being tight. This could also be a win-win for the Yankees because it could convince Sabathia to pick up his player options worth $92MM over 4 years if they bring in an impact guy, and former teammate.

The Baltimore Orioles could even pursue Carmona to help bolster their rotation as well to try to push them to their first playoff berth since 1997. But, don’t expect the Orioles to pursue him if they are out of the running for the AL East or Wild Card by the deadline. Carmona, otherwise, would be a great compliment to young hurlers Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and also veteran Jeremy Guthrie.

A dark horse in all of this is the Texas Rangers. The Rangers remain top contenders to win the AL West and are almost a lock for the playoffs. Although, the A’s could give them a run for their money. Regardless, Texas has great pitching out of the gate so far, but Carmona is an upgrade over most of them. A potential CJ Wilson, Fausto Carmona, Matt Harrison, Tommy Hunter, Colby Lewis rotation (not in order) or potentially Alexi Ogando could stay in the rotation. The Rangers also have lots of SP depth with David Bush, Derek Holland as backup starters but Carmona could be a huge impact to a Texas Rangers squad that has hopes to return to the World Series.