Minor Moves Mark Indians Offseason





CLEVELAND—Indians general manager Chris Antonetti returned from the Winter Meetings without a deal for a coveted righthanded power hitter or a first baseman. But Antonetti said his time spent in Dallas might not be a waste after all.

"There's some things we could be relatively close on," Antonetti told reporters before leaving Dallas. "But then again . . . that timing can change very quickly. It may take weeks for it to happen."

In addition to striking out on trades for the big league club, the Tribe also did not factor much in the Rule 5 draft, despite having 37 players eligible for selection in the major league phrase. Among the group of players who could have been snatched by other teams was righthander Hector Rondon. Two years ago, the 23-year-old was one of the more promising prospects in the Indians system.

But that was before arm injuries the last two seasons derailed his career after he'd reached the Triple-A level. After having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in August 2010, Rondon was pitching in the Venezuelan League in November when he had another surgery on the elbow—this one on Nov. 15 to repair a fracture.

With Rondon possibly back on the shelf for another season, the Indians removed him from their 40-man roster when they needed to clear a spot after re-signing Grady Sizemore.

Though they didn't lose anyone in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, the Indians did lose two players in the Triple-A phase. The Twins selected righthander Marty Popham while outfielder Donnie Webb went to the Marlins.

Farm director Ross Atkins told MLB.com that Popham is "a strike thrower that will have a strong professional career." He called Webb a "very hard-nosed player with some energy to his game.

"Both of those guys will end up complementing those organizations well. We're sorry to have lost them."

SMOKE SIGNALS

• The Indians hired former major leaguers Steve Karsay and Scott Erickson as minor league pitching coaches at the Rookie-level Arizona League and high Class A Carolina League levels.

• Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was batting .264/.338/.400 in 35 games with Magallanes of the Venezuelan League.