(Originally posted on June 27, 2003 at this address)

Part I: Cleaning Out Shapiro’s Closet

In one of the more bizarre trades in recent memory, Mark Shapiro moved Karim Garcia and Dan Miceli for apparently nothing more than a small sum of cash or an insignificant player. According to most accounts, Garcia was the player Shapiro was interested in trading, and Miceli was added to get the deal done. (For our purposes, I’ll ignore Miceli as the basis for this trade, as he’s pretty much proven over the course of his career that he’s your garden-variety reliever.) It’s pretty obvious that the deal was done to clear space on the 25-man roster, rather than a salary dump. Coco Crisp was going to be squeezed off the 25-man roster, so Shapiro had a couple of questions to answer:

1) Was Karim Garcia a long-term solution for the Indians?

2) If not, is any increased trade value accrued by playing Garcia worth Coco spending that time in Buffalo?

Obviously, Shapiro answered “no” to the first question. Garcia would have been arbitration-eligible at the end of the year, and eligible for free agency after the 2004 season. It obviously wasn’t worth playing Garcia for two years, taking playing time away from Sizemore, Crisp, Church, and Escobar and seeing Garcia walk just before the team was ready to contend again. This also was an evaluative question as well; Even with Garcia’s monster second-half last year, his career On-Base Percentage is horrendous. The track record for impatient sluggers is not a good one. Note that I’m not equating impatience with strikeouts; rather with the lack of walks. When pitchers figure out that Garcia will swing at just about anything near the strike zone, what’s stopping them from avoiding throwing one close?

Question 2 was tough to answer. If Shapiro had played Garcia for a month, and Karim hit 8 or 9 home runs, the trade value for him would have been much higher, no doubt about it. But was it worth keeping Coco Crisp in Buffalo for a month on the off chance that Karim became a valuable commodity? If Karim was already not in the future plans, why keep him if there’s a possibility of cutting him loose? So the trade happened, and Karim joined a cast of thousands in the Yankee outfield.

And so Coco Crisp will get to play everyday, whether that be in left field or as the designated hitter. If he takes this opportunity to assert himself as a major weapon at the top of the order, the trade will have been a success. Only time will tell, and the Indians have the luxury of taking it.

Part II: A Short Introduction to the Minors

I’ve received a couple suggestions that I include statistics with the player profile, and I’ve started to do so. For some examples, visit the profiles of Milton Bradley, Alex Escobar, and Danys Baez. I’m just not capable of typing out everything about the player, so I stuck to the basics: AB, BA/OBP/SLG, HR, 2B, and SB for the hitters, and IP, ERA, SO, and BB for the pitchers (I may add opponents’ BA in the future for the pitchers). I’ve also included their age (very important for evaluating prospects), as well as an abbreviation of the league they’re in. Some may recognize the abbreviations, but the vast majority of you probably don’t. So here’s a quick introduction to the minor league system, starting at AAA.


International League (IL)

Pacific Coast League (PCL)

The Indians’ AAA affiliate is the Buffalo Bisons, and they play in the International League. For the most part, AAA is made up of older players that have been in professional baseball for a while. While the Indians were in contention in the late 1990s, Buffalo was stocked with older pitchers and hitters (Jeff Manto, Jason Jacome, Dave Burba, etc) that management could call up and plug in if needed. Recently however, Buffalo’s roster has been almost entirely made up of players 25 years old or younger (Victor Martinez, Coco Crisp, Jhonny Peralta, Cliff Lee, etc). The average age in AAA is around 23 to 25.


Eastern League (EAST)

Southern League (SOU)

Texas League (TEX)

The Indians’ AA affiliate is the Akron Aeros, and they play in the Eastern League. In recent years, a lot of clubs kept their top prospects here and then sent them to the majors, avoiding AAA. The Indians haven’t necessarily followed this model, although they have made exceptions (Jason Davis, CC Sabathia). The average age is usually 22-23. Grady Sizemore is 20, and he’s more than holding his own; this is why he’s considered a very good prospect, and why other older players putting up similar numbers aren’t.

A+ (Advanced A)

Carolina League (CAR)

California League (CAL)

Florida State League (FSL)

The Indians’ A+ affiliate is the Kinston Indians of the Carolina League. These players could have come directly from the short-season leagues, or from the full season Low A leagues. Usually players are 21-22 years old, although you’ll see some older college players here. The jump from here to AA is probably the most difficult jump in professional baseball, so this is where you separate the real prospects from the pretenders.

A- (Low A)

South Atlantic League (SAL)

Midwest League (MID)

The Indians’ A- affiliate is the Lake County Captains of the South Atlantic League (although they may move to the Midwest League next year). This is the lowest full-season league in professional baseball. Many of these players come from the short-season leagues, and are experiencing a full season for the first time. Players are usually 19-21 years old, although again you’ll see older college players.

SSA (Short-season A)

New York-Penn League (NYPL)

Northwest League (NWL)

The Indians’ SSA affiliate is the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League. The season starts in mid-June, just after the draft. The vast majority of players in SSA come from college programs, most of them 20-21 years old.

R+ (Advanced Rookie)

Appalachian League (APP)

Pioneer League (PIO)

The Indians’ Advanced Rookie affiliate is the Burlington Indians of the Appalachian League. The season stats in mid-June, just after the draft. Most of the players at Burlington are high school picks, graduates of the Dominican and Venezuelan academies, as well as a few JUCO draft picks. Because the Indians do not have a “Low Rookie” team, a lot of high school picks and DSL/VSL products are playing against players 1-2 years older.

R- (Low Rookie)

Gulf Coast League (GCL)

Arizona League (AZL)

The Indians do not have a Low Rookie team. Most players in the GCL and AZL are very raw high school or DSL/VSL players 18-19 years old.

Foreign Academies

Dominican Summer League (DSL)

Venezuelan Summer League (VSL)

The Indians have two DSL teams and one VSL team. These players are usually 16-18 years old, and can only spend a maximum 3 years in the academies.

(Originally posted on July 18, 2003 at this address)


In creating the Cleveland Indians Compendium, I strived to give Indians fans a resource that had been sorely lacking – a clear, concise record of the Cleveland Indians organization. Nothing more, and nothing less. To that end, there is very little editorial influence at work in this site; mundane transactions and rosters don’t show any bias at all. However, I still wanted to create some sort of way of communicating to the readers of this site, some sort of “owner’s manual” to the Compendium, as I realize that not everybody who comes upon this site understands all the arcane symbols and procedures of professional baseball. To that end, I’ve decided to add a weekly column to supplement the “hard content.” It’s going to be a fairly eclectic effort; included will be commentary on current Indians issues, transaction guides, baseball philosophy, as well as news that I can’t communicate through the site itself. If you’re hungry for daily Tribe news, I heartily suggest perusing the outstanding Cleveland Indians Report.

Part I: Baseball Objectivity

I started following the Cleveland Indians when they were probably at their worst point – the middle to late 1980s. The Hank Peters/John Hart plan hadn’t yet started to take shape, and the talk about the Indians moving elsewhere was getting louder. But I was 6 years old, so none of it mattered to me. All I cared about were wins and losses. If they somehow won, I was elated, and if they lost… When Joe Carter, my favorite Indian, was traded, I felt betrayed. Little did I know that two of the players the Indians received from the Padres, Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar, would help lead the Indians to the World Series.

Short-term thinking plagues us all from time to time, and especially in sports. We want our teams to win now, no matter what the long-term effects. But in order to truly understand what’s best for a team, you have to consider the long-term ramifications of an action. When John Hart traded Brian Giles to the Pittsburgh Pirates to get LOOGY Ricardo Rincon, few questioned the move. The Indians were still in the midst of winning division titles, fans were hungry to get back to the World Series, and getting a left-handed reliever was a step towards that goal. Instant gratification won out over long-term success. Today most lament that fateful trade, and some compare it to the infamous Rocky Colavito deal. Last June, when Mark Shapiro effectively ended the Indians’ 9-year contending run by trading ace Bartolo Colon to the Montreal Expos, the media and fan backlash was stinging. Yet one year later, most in Tribe Nation consider the Colon trade one of Shapiro’s better moves. Time blurs opinions and perceptions, so how can you separate the competing short-term and long-term goals?

This is where what I term “Baseball Objectivity” comes in. Whenever the Indians make a move, I ask two questions: How does this help (or hurt) the Indians this season? and How does this help (or hurt) the Indians in three to five years? However, these two questions will not carry the same weight. In the mid-‘90s, the short-term help would outweigh any long-term hurt inflicted on the organization. Likewise, any move made this year is almost exclusively applied to a long-term standard. Now let’s apply the Bartolo Colon trade to this test. First, some background:

Contract Particulars: Colon was signed through the 2003 season. The salary was not an issue. Re-signing him was doubtful

Trade Value: Montreal was willing to give up three of their top prospects, two of which were within a year of the majors

Team Outlook (Short-term): Out of contention in 2002

Team Outlook (Long-term): Poor farm system. High payroll for their market size. Much of the core past its prime.

How does this affect the Indians in the short-term? Cleveland loses a 20-game winner, so of course it hurt the Indians.

How does this affect the Indians in the long-term? The Indians infuse three blue-chip prospects into their system, and have two of them contribute right away. The full impact of the trade won’t be felt until a 2004 or 2005, when all three are in Cleveland and beginning to reach their potential.

If you make the assumption that Colon would not have signed with the Indians after the 2003 season, Cleveland received 6 years of Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore for 1.5 years of Bartolo Colon. Now of course the big question will be how productive those 18 combined years will be, but from all accounts, the players in question haven’t given me any reason to doubt that they will be major contributors to the next good Indians team.

Had the Indians had a decent farm system, or had their payroll been significantly lower, I don’t think Shapiro would have made the trade. But something had to have been done, or else the Indians would have resembled a frame-by-frame train wreck, with pieces slowly coming off until nothing remained but spare parts and a rusted-out chasis. The Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles are good examples of teams that tried to keep it together too long.

By balancing the short-term and long-term goals, and keeping in mind what’s the most important at that particular time, you can get a better feel of what the Front Office of the Indians are thinking, because they have to do the use the same criteria when make financial and personnel decisions. This column will reflect this when examining player decisions the Indians have made and will make, so hopefully this can give you some understanding of where I’m coming from in future analyses.

Part II: A Beginner’s Guide to the Rule 5 Draft, Options, Arbitration, and Free Agency

Why those four aspects of baseball language? Because they represent the main reason why 40-man rosters exist, why 25-man rosters exist, and why Scott Boras is a very rich man. The easiest way to explain all of these is to create a fictitious ballplayer.

Let us imagine a high school pitcher named Roy Sanders. He’s 18 years old on June 3rd of this year, the day he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians. Roy now has 4 seasons (including this one) to make it to the 40-man roster, or he’ll be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s see what happened to Roy after he was drafted:

6-3-03: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians (3rd Round)

6-19-03: Signed a minor-league contract (not added to the 40-man roster. Jeremy Guthrie signed a major-league contract, and is currently on the 40-man roster)

6-19-03: Assigned to Burlington (R)

Started 2004 in Lake County (A-)

5-26-04: Placed on the Disabled List (elbow)

(uh-oh. Roy had surgery on that elbow and missed an entire year)

5-26-05: Reinstated from the Disabled List (Lake County)

8-1-05: Promoted to Kinston (A+)

7-31-06: Promoted to Akron (AA)

Now the Indians have a big decision to make. Roy is now eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, since he was younger than 19 when drafted. (players 19 and older have only three years to make the 40-man roster before they’re eligible.) Cleveland decides to risk leaving him off the 40-man roster, since the highest level he’d pitched at was AA, and that was only for a month. They transfer him to AAA Buffalo, making him ineligible for selection in the minor-league part of the Rule 5 Draft. If he’d have been selected in that part, he wouldn’t have to be kept on the major-league roster, and he’d probably be long gone from the Indians. They make this decision in November, when they finalize their 40-man roster. They cannot add any minor-league players to the roster until the Rule 5 Draft has taken place, usually in early December.

11-20-06: Transferred to Buffalo (AAA)

The Winter Meetings are held in Arizona in December, and the Rule 5 Draft is held on December 6th. The Texas Rangers, having a desperate need for pitching, select Sanders in the Rule 5 Draft. They add him to their 40-man roster, and invite him to Spring Training in Arizona. Message board posters go crazy.

12-6-06: Taken by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft (1st Round)

12-6-06: Contract Purchased by the Texas (In other words, added to the 40-man Roster)

Sanders enters the Rangers’ camp in February 2007. The Rangers have to keep Sanders on their 25-man roster for the entire 2007 season, or they have to offer him back to the Indians for a nominal fee. With this being his first big-league camp, Sanders struggles, and even the Rangers have no choice but to offer him back to Cleveland. Or so they thought. Tampa Bay was interested in Sanders, and offered to trade a 35-year old AA catcher for him. The Rangers gladly accepted.

3-25-07: Designated for Assignment (Removed him from the 40-man roster. The Rangers have 10 days to trade him, pass him through waivers, or release him)

3-29-07: Traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for J.A. Mierzynski

The same rules apply: Tampa Bay still has to keep him on their 25-man roster for the entire season. But, Sanders caused Lou Piniella to lose his last hair during a shellacking, so the Rays finally gave up on him. This time, no one else wanted him, and he passed through waivers. The Indians, eager to get back a former prospect, accepted him back and sent him to Akron so that he could un-learn those crazy mechanics he acquired over the past couple months.

5-1-07: Designated for Assignment

5-11-07: Offered Back to the Cleveland Indians

5-11-07: Returned to the Cleveland Indians; Assigned to Akron (AA) (note: he is no longer on the 40-man roster)

After about a month, he started to dominate the Eastern League, so…

6-19-07: Promoted to Buffalo (AAA)

After the 2007 season, the Indians place Sanders on the 40-man roster, ending his eligibility for the Rule 5 Draft

11-20-07: Contract Purchased by Cleveland

Here’s what happened to Sanders over the next two seasons:

3-31-08: Optioned to Buffalo (AAA) – (Used up 1 of 3 option years)

5-9-08: Recalled by Cleveland

8-5-08: Optioned to Buffalo (AAA)

9-1-08: Recalled by Cleveland

3-30-09: Optioned to Buffalo (AAA) – (Used up 2 of 3 option years)

6-8-09: Recalled by Cleveland

Sanders stayed in Cleveland the remainder of the 2009 season, and the entire 2010 season, using up the third and final option year. So when he fell apart in Spring Training, the Indians couldn’t option him to the minors without passing him through waivers. So they kept him as their 12th pitcher and used him only in blowouts. He found his stuff in August, however, and became an integral part of the Indians’ 7th straight Central Division crown. His agent was happy too, for Roy had finally accumulated enough service time (three seasons) that he was eligible for arbitration. Scott Boras naturally rejected the Indians’ offer of a one-year, $900,000 contract to be the team’s second LOOGY. So they went to arbitration:

12-15-11: Offered Arbitration by Cleveland

1-5-12: Arbitrator set 2012 Contract at $1.1M

Now able to buy that Westlake house, Sanders pitched Orosco-like in 2012. After the season, the Indians offered him a two-year, $3.0M deal to take him through his final two arbitration-eligible years. Even Scott Boras couldn’t say no to that offer.

12-13-13: Signed to a two year, $3.0M extension

After two more seasons of mystifying lefties, Sanders was finally able to become a free agent. The Indians, having already found their next LOOGY, declined to keep him, so Sanders tested the free agent waters:

10-30-14: Declared Free Agency

11-29-14: Signed a 3-year, $9M contract with the Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Nation went crazy over the signing, declaring the now 100-year drought over. However, Sanders lost a couple miles off his fastball, got smacked around a couple times by the Yankees, began getting death threats, and quietly finished his career in Colorado after being traded in a salary dump:

12-7-15: Traded to the Colorado Rockies for Mike Neagle

10-31-17: Retired from baseball

And there you have it, the career of an average major-league player. Hopefully it’s beginning to make sense to you, but if it isn’t, give it some time: the game of baseball is a language unto itself, and learning the transaction lingo is like learning an exotic dialect. Try perusing some of the current profiles on this site, and eventually everything should start to come together.


Family Reunion Footage

These 16mm films were made by Jane Golding between 1949 and 1955. This first video contains the entire set, with background music added. Most of the footage is of Jane’s vacations in the Western US and Canada.


This second video is the section of the film (without background music) that contains the family reunion, with timestamps listed below.


9:19 Family Reunion footage begins

9:27 (possibly) Naomi Morgan in the red dress in the background.

9:30 Phil (boy in black shirt) and Thomas (man in blue shirt looking at camera)

10:00 Velma (Golding) Uhrig (in white hat) and Benton Uhrig (man in foreground look back towards camera)

10:04 Jean (Uhrig) Richards (girl in red, white and blue dress)

10:20 Jean by the lake

10:23 Mary (Uhrig) Bradbury carrying John Uhrig

10:31 On left: Mary, holding John Uhrig

           On right: Betty (Uhrig) Taylor, holding stick, Jean

           In center: unknown girl (in pigtails)

10:36 Mary walking John towards the camera, with Jean, Betty, and unknown girl in background

10:38 Betty, Jean, and unknown girl

10:42: Velma, Jean seated on lap of either John Golding or Bert Golding