CLEVELAND, Ohio — When Cheap Heath Hembree Jersey was weighing his options in free agency this offseason, the 32-year-old righty got a little help from a familiar face he knew back in Boston.
Indians pitching coach Carl Willis worked with Hembree for parts of three seasons when he was a youngster pitching out of the Red Sox bullpen. Willis was part of Cleveland’s recruiting effort to snag Hembree, who agreed to a minor-league contract with Cleveland earlier this week worth a reported $1.25 million if he makes the club out of spring training.
Hembree said the relationship with Willis was one of several factors that drew him to the Indians, but it wasn’t the only one.
“We built a relationship that we both liked and respected each other,” Hembree told cleveland.com on Thursday. “There’s some familiarity there for me coming over to a new organization. So, it was just something that made my decision a bit easier.”
A big reason Hembree picked Cleveland was the opportunity to work with the club’s player development department and the way it embraces analytics to get the most out of a pitcher’s potential. Hembree said he felt the Indians were maybe a little further along in terms of analytics than any other club he’s played for.
The analytics revolution was in its infancy when Hembree was drafted to San Francisco back in 2010, but the veteran reliever realizes how important the numbers game is now for every player, regardless of when he came on board.
“Seeing the resources (the Indians) have and what’s going to be available to me to develop, I’m going to be able to dive deeper into my repertoire and what makes me “me” on the mound,” Hembree said.
After posting a 2.0 bWAR in seven seasons with Boston, Hembree struggled following a midseason trade to Philadelphia last year. He posted uncharacteristically high numbers for walks per nine innings (4.8) and home runs per nine (6.8) and allowed 13 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings before a sore elbow shut his season down.
Now fully healthy, Hembree says he is looking forward to getting on the mound in Arizona and pitching to his strengths.
“Obviously it starts with my fastball,” he said. “Early in my career I didn’t know what made it good, but now I kind of know about spin and how I can throw my off-speed pitches to help my fastball be that much better.”
Looking at a potential role in Cleveland’s bullpen, Hembree realizes that there is room for somebody with experience, particularly the kind of playoff stripes he earned in 2018 when he did not allow a hit or a run in four outings for the Red Sox on the way to a World Series title. But Hembree says he still can learn plenty from the young talent in the Indians’ pen.
“I feel like I’m still learning as well,” Hembree said, “I’m just looking forward to getting in the mix with the guys, getting in the flow and trying to build a relationship. If it means bringing a little more experience, I’m just looking forward to getting involved.”
Cheap Cleveland Indians Jerseys president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said the team was unaware of inappropriate behavior toward women by former pitching coach Mickey Callaway while he was with the club.
Antonetti said he became “distraught” and “disturbed” in learning of allegations against Callaway that were reported on Monday night by The Athletic.
Five women who spoke to The Athletic on condition of anonymity said Callaway, who was with Cleveland from 2010 to 2017 and served as the pitching coach for his last five seasons, sent uninvited and sometimes unanswered messages to them via email, text or social media.
He asked one to send nude photos in return, according to the report.
Angels suspend Callaway after misconduct report
Antonetti said he didn’t know anything about Callaway’s behavior until the report came out. He reiterated a previous statement by the team condemning any sexual harassment.
“I want to be really clear,” Antonetti said. “The behaviors described in that article have absolutely no place in any workplace and certainly not in our organization. When I read them I was disturbed. I was distraught and saddened to read them. It’s my responsibility as a leader in this organization to re-double our efforts to make sure we have a safe and inclusive environment.
“We know we have a lot of work to do to create that safe, inclusive environment that we want to continue to build, but I am committed to making sure that happens.”
Callaway, who left Cleveland to manage the New York Mets for two seasons, was suspended Tuesday by the Cheap Los Angeles Angels Jerseys as their pitching coach.
He has initially denied wrongdoing, a source told ESPN on Tuesday, which prevents the Angels from firing him without the just cause that could be procured from an investigation. MLB and the Angels are hoping to wrap up that investigation relatively soon, perhaps before the start of spring training, the source said.
Callaway wrote to The Athletic that “any relationship in which I was engaged has been consensual, and my conduct was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved,” the report said.