Signed free agents RHP Matt DeWitt and RHP Robert Ellis to minor-league contracts
Placed RHP Michael Rogers on the Voluntarily Retired List
Eric Wedge has denounced the stolen base as being overrated, eschewing the "small-ball" mythology that light-hitting teams like to throw out as their strategy.
In a piece written by Paul Hoynes, Wedge alluded to ideas championed by sabermetrically-based teams:
"I'm not a huge proponent of base stealing," said Wedge. "I'm a huge proponent of getting on base."
This is something I feel strongly about when picking a leadoff hitter, or even evaluating hitters in general: you need to get on base to be successful. Speed (and the ability to steal a base) does not compensate for getting on base to begin with. Yes, speed is a great asset to have in conjunction with on-base skills (see Carlos Beltran and Ichiro Suzuki), but if I had to choose one or the other, I would take on-base ability in a heartbeat.
So what does this say about who the leadoff man will be? Right now, it looks like it's Matt Lawton. He's not the fastest guy in baseball, but he has the best career on-base percentage on the team. Hoynes goes on to say,
Of course, they'd feel differently if they had a young Kenny Lofton or Rickey Henderson.
Unfortunately, the Indians don't happen to have a 90-plus base stealer on their team. And in case, Hoynes hasn't noticed, no one does that anymore. There are very few basestealers who can steal with a high percenatage of success, and fewer still who can get on base as well. Ricky Henderson, when he finally decides to retire, will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer because of this combination. So until the Indians find the next Henderson or Lofton under a rock, they'll be content with someone who can get on base. If you have good hitters behind the leadoff hitter, the runs take care of themselves.