Quick Hits: Indians, Payroll, Patton, Nationals, Catchers

The Indians did not budget enough money in 2021 to both re-sign Cesar Hernandez and add free agent Eddie Rosario. With those two completing the lineup, the Indians’ roster is more-or-less set with a payroll around $50MM, per Paul Hoynes of Take this for what it is, but the Indians exceeded payroll just to get there. Owner Paul Dolan made an extra concession to allow the addition of Rosario. To their credit, he represents a somewhat major addition given their inability to field above-average offensive outfielders. Over the last two seasons, Rosario slashed .271/.305/.494 with 45 home runs over 821 plate appearances, good for a modest 105 wRC+. That Nolan was willing to stretch the payroll speaks volumes about how the Indians value Rosario’s fit in the lineup.

  • Spencer Patton is throwing an improved change-up with the hopes of bringing three viable pitches out of the bullpen, per Robert Murray of FanSided. The 32-year-old right-hander led Nippon Professional Baseball with 57 appearances last season, which is no small feat to MLB teams aware of the perils in ramping up pitcher workloads in 2021. Patton’s numbers from Japan won’t blow you away, however, with a 4.92 ERA, respectable 28.1 percent strikeout rate, and slightly-concerning 11.7 percent walk rate. Patton will throw for teams again on February 2nd, with the Braves, Rays, Angels, Royals, Ranger, and Giants being among the teams to have shown some interest thus far.
  • Pitching has long been the focus for the Nationals organization, but at the same time, they’ve lagged behind in the catching department, writes’s Mark Zuckerman. Pedro Severino is the most prolific homegrown catcher with 105 games played for the organization – though he didn’t break out until joining the Orioles. Raudy Read or Tres Barrera are next in line to have an opportunity, but the recent signing of Alex Avila suggests GM Mike Rizzo isn’t ready to give either one too long of a look out of the blocks. Both Barrera and Read have served PED suspensions in the past, however, and Welington Castillo will also be in camp as a non-roster invitee.

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