Traded OF Ryan Church and SS Maicer Izturis to the Montreal Expos for LHRP Scott Stewart

Re-signed LHRP Carl Sadler to a minor-league contract; Invited him to Spring Training

Signed RHSP Jeff D’Amico, RHRP Luther Hackman RHRP Matt Miller, and 3B Kevin Orie to minor-league contracts; Invited them to Spring Training

A very busy day for the Indians, and they addressed a couple of their needs.

Scott Stewart instantly solves the LOOGY problem. Actually, Stewart is a bit better than your standard LOOGY, and is capable of closing games if need be. For example, if three left-handers are due up in the 9th inning, why not bring in a left-hander to at least turn them around? Along with Riske and Wickman, Stewart makes the back end of the bullpen much better than last year, when the Indians had Carl Sadler, Danys Baez, and an unproven David Riske in those roles.

The Indians gave up Ryan Church and Maicer Izturis in the trade. Church, who was on the 40-man roster, had an injury-filled 2003 season, and the jury’s still out on him. A couple of years ago, he was the best outfielder in the system, but in the past year or two, with the addition of outfielder Ryan Ludwick, Grady Sizemore, Coco Crisp, Alex Escobar, among others, Church slipped down the ranks. He has a much better shot in Montreal, and if he can stay healthy, he’s capable of sticking around as at least a reserve outfielder.

Maicer Iztuis’ ceiling is a little lower. He’s the brother of Cesar Izturis, who plays shortstop for the Dodgers, and also is known for his glove. However, his offense probably isn’t good enough to warrent starting every day in the majors. His future is likely going to be a utility infielder.

Stewart’s stats:

2001 47.2 IP, 39 SO, 13 BB, .243 BAA, 3 SV

2002 64.0 IP, 67 SO, 22 BB, .207 BAA, 17 SV

2003 51.0 IP, 29 SO, 13 BB, .306 BAA, 0 SV

vs. Left 59.0 IP, 65 SO, 11 BB, .234 BAA, 1.05 WHIP

vs. Right 95.2 IP, 70 SO, 37 BB, .254 BAA, 1.36 WHIP

The other move of importance is the signing of Jeff D’Amico, who pitched with the Pirates last year. Between him and Jason Bere, you should have your 4th or 5th starter. D’Amico certainly won’t win any Cy Youngs, but he should give the Indians around 150 generic innings, exactly what you need from the bottom of your rotation. The fact that both Bere and D’Amico are signed to mino-league deals makes it much better, as the Indians can afford to be objective in Spring Training.

Most of the other signings will likely spend their summer in Buffalo. Matt Miller and Luther Hackman are marginal bullpen arms, and Kevin Orie is likely to a part-time infielder in Buffalo.

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