Thursday, July 07, 2005

Crawling to the Break

The Indians have looked like a tired team the last 2 nights against Detroit, allowing Mike Maroth and Jeremy Bonderman to turn into Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, circa 1995.

They are in the midst of playing 18 games in 17 days, so there's definitely a reason for it. Maybe it's a good thing that Sticky is the only All Star, so these guys can get some rest (assuming of course they don't use the break for some sort of Vegas bender).

Alex Cora was traded to the Red Sox for a minor league utility INF this afternoon, prompting Brian Tallet to be called up from Buffalo for the Yankees series. The trade is less of a condemnation of Cora's spotty play (he really never got consistent AB's) than it is a statement on the progress of Jhon. Cora was acquired as insurance, in case Peralta wilted under the pressure of replacing Omar (who, coincidentally, may end up in a White Sox uniform before the year is out...and the next 3 years) and to prevent the annual Jelly Belliard August Disappearing Act, but Peralta has responded with a very solid first half and Brandon Phillips is ready to step into the Cora role, to give Belliard some days off.

The move also frees up about $1.3 million this year and $1.4 million next year that can be used in a bigger spot of need. And, I hate to harp on this, but at last night's game (yes, I went, to run my season record to 1-7) there were at least 3 conversations in the Mezzanine about how a RH stick would look great protecting Victor in the lineup. Hopefully the Cora money can be thrown at a RH bat, which looks more and more to me like a Mench or a Wily Mo.

After the All Star Break, expect B-Phil to be called up to play SS and 2B when Jhon and Jelly need a break. Maybe this approach of easing Phillips into the majors will have better results than thrusting him into the lineup under the title of "the next Barry Larkin".

C.C. looked horrible last night, again letting any and everything fluster him and allowing things to snowball around him. Driving home from the game, WTAM was reporting that the Crooked Cap had some choice words for a heckler that were caught on the FSN mikes. What exactly did he say? Then he said all the right things that make you think that he really gets it. That part of the act is getting old for me. If you know what you have to do, how to be an ace, blah, blah, blah...JUST DO IT!

Jody Gerut had some interesting comments after the Tuesday game's attendance of 18,500 regarding the marketing of the players on the team, who are exciting but still may be somwhat of an unknown quantity. Terry Pluto captured the feelings of many Tribe fans in his Wednesday column:
http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/columnists/terry_pluto/12064105.htm

I'm still blown away that people aren't coming down to the Jake to watch this team, particularly after the 4th of July Show. I actually heard callers to sports radio asking if there's a chance of getting Omar back and moving Peralta to 3B, then another caller asking if we should try to get Thome. Are you kidding me? Are people in this town THAT clueless about the happenings of the 2005 baseball season. We're not in 1995 anymore, people. Learn about this team and embrace it.

Another Pluto gem addresses what we've talked about here before, Shapiro's trading history:
http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/12066335.htm
If you're not getting his e-newsletter, sign up today. It's the only TRUE analysis of the Indians available in Northeast Ohio. Let's be honest, everything in the PD is just game summaries and notes (unless you like Roger Brown's mindless ramblings). In addition to that, I once was having trouble getting the newsletter and sent an e-mail, only to have it responded to by Pluto, who stayed on the case until the problem was rectified.

In response to some questions asked earlier:
Where does Jason Dangerously fit into this team's plans?
I think that he'll finish the year as a starter, bouncing between Buffalo and Cleveland, and will provide some insurance (along with Traber and Tallet) if Millwood (and Elarton) leave. I still think his stuff translates better to the pen (looking mainly at his success of 1st and 2nd time through the lineup), but for now, he's a starter.

Who is the leader (Varitek) of this team?
I love this question. I think that the leader of a team is based more on personality and work ethic than years in the league, strict performance, or sound bites. Current leaders of teams that I can name off of the top of my head are Varitek, Jeter, Tejada, Erstad, Chipper, and Rolen. Most of these guys are GREAT players, but they all have that intangible that makes other players follow them. The risk of just naming your best player your leader is what the Cubs ran into last year when "Cap'n Sammy" alienated the clubhouse and went to Baltimore.

With all of that being said, I would say that of all of the players on the team, Sizemore is probably the most likely to emerge as a leader. Much like Jeter when he broke in, Sizemore will establish himself as a star by quietly leading by example (his hustle, will to win, and enthusiasm). Hafner's goofiness and Victor's antics prevent them from being real leaders and C.C. seems to say everything right, but can never back it up. Give Sizemore another year, and he will have the universal respect of the locker room and will show himself to be the leader of this new Indians team.

Let's take a few from the Yanks.

4 comments:

baltimoran said...

good post
i went to the sawx/o's game tonight, ridiculous amount of sawx fans, made me want to puke, but i did get in a good fight with two chics who yelled at me when i called wells "fat and old" when he made a lackluster play at a slow grounder up the middle...how could these fans embrace yankee boy...i hate the blow sawx

when is grady's loooooong term extension coming?

tb said...

Cavs reach agreement with Hughes
Agent confirms Redd to re-sign with Bucks for $90 million over six years



The Cavaliers have landed a top shooting guard.

According to league insiders, the team reached a verbal contract with Washington Wizards shooting guard Larry Hughes late Thursday.

It is believed the Cavaliers will sign him to a five-year contract starting at around $12 million per season when they are allowed on July 22.

Hughes averaged 22 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and a league-best 2.9 steals per game last season. He was named to the NBA's All-Defensive Team after helping lead the Wizards to their first playoff appearance since 1997.

The Wizards had intended to keep Hughes. But with two other stars, Gilbert Arenas and Antwan Jamison, with large salaries on the books, it is possible the Cavaliers simply out-bid them.

The Cavaliers had courted free agent point guards Ray Allen and Micheal Redd earlier this week. Redd agreed to a six-year, $90 million deal to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks. Allen decided to remain with the Seattle SuperSonics for $85 million over five years.

The Cavaliers, who still will have around $16 million to spend in free agency are believed to be focusing now on re-signing center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.









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Baltimoran said...

since i've been stuck watching wizards games the last few years, I'm not sold on hughes, he's not a great shooter and takes questionable shots, and although he gets a lot of steals he's not a shut down defender (he gambles a lot, and gets burnt)...but he has improved the last 3 years, i would of prefered simmons...at least we got someone

i watched the tribe at the wife's parents in NY, David Justice was somewhat blasting eric wedge for not sitting Jelliard after he slipped and didn't appear to run out a grounder, he even mentioned how Bobby Cox "would have
never stood for that"...and how some organizations (he mentioned yankees, braves, and ???twins???) prevent things like that from ever happening...but then again this is the same jackass who beat up H. Berry

Cy Slapnicka said...

i am so sick of hearing about the twins i want to puke. in the mag and on baseball tonight last night, they talked about the twins and whether or not they can catch the sox and/or win the wild card. no mention of the tribe at all. they are 1 game back for petesake! show us some love.

also, DO NOT rent Hide and Seek. I saw it a while back when it was called The Shining. Just awful, I can't say enough bad things about it. Elizabeth Shue and her bad self was the one highlight, and she was bundled up for winter the whole time.