The Nats are interested in Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona

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Phil Wood of MASN reports that a “big league scout” says that the Nationals have had conversations with the Indians about Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona.

I guess I can see that. Both of those guys have tremendous upside. But it also strikes me that the Indians would be silly to entertain offers for them now.  At the moment Sizemore is an unknown quantity given that he’s coming off microfracture surgery, and most teams would be foolish to offer more than a pittance for him. If he shows he’s healthy and effective again, however, he’s a relative bargain of an impact player for whom the Indians could get some serious value.

Carmona is someone that the Indians should probably not consider trading at all given that he’s locked up for the next four seasons with a $6.1 million deal this year and three affordable team options through 2014.  Someone has to pitch for the Indians, and if Carmona even comes within sight of his 2007 form, he’s a bargain.  At the very least the Indians should wait to trade Carmona to a desperate contender mid-season, demanding a ton in return.

It’s a fun rumor, but unless the Indians have lost their minds, it’s almost certainly a one-sided one, borne more of the Nats’ desires than the prospect of an actual deal.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.