Monday, October 17, 2005

Getting to First Base

With the FA’s available not exactly knocking anyone’s socks off, let’s take a look at what could be available in the trade market for 1B (in order of preference):
1) Lyle Overbay - .276 – 19 – 72 - .816
With Prince Fielder ready for the majors, Overbay will probably be stroking doubles somewhere other than Miller Park in 2006. Honestly, though, he may be only a slightly better version of Broussard, a gap LH hitter with a nifty glove. Is it worth giving up prospects for another Broussard?
2) Sean Casey - .312 – 9 – 58 - .795
There WILL be an odd man out at SOME point in Cincinnati with Griffey, Dunn, Casey, Kearns, and Pena all fighting to play 4 positions. If this is the year, the Tribe may have an interest in the odd man. Casey, a Tribe product would probably like to return to the North Coast, but is he that much of an upgrade, with his dwindling power numbers? Or will the Reds continue to inexplicably hold onto too many position players, while their pitching staff continues to struggle?
3) Shea Hillenbrand - .291 – 18 – 82 - .792
Whether Hillenbrand is on the block or not remains to be seen. With the Blue Jays new ownership wanting to make some splashes in the FA market, they’re unlikely to move an established player. I put Hillenbrand on this list to compare an “established major leaguer” to the numbers that Broussard put up (shown below and in less at bats) in 2005.
4) Tino Martinez - .241 – 17 – 49 - .767 (in 303 AB)
Tino, if he decides not to retire, would fit the bill of a veteran presence in the lineup and the clubhouse that many decried as lacking in the final week of the season. With the Yankees likely to pick up his 2006 team option as insurance against another “tumor” attacking Giambi’s pituitary (what would cause that?), he probably won’t be available (why would they pick up his option only to trade him?) but this might be the kind of player added to the Tribe for the 2006 season, much like Easy Eddie Murray and El Presidente brought some veteran savvy to a very talented 1994 team for the 1995 campaign.
5) Matt LeCroy - .260 – 17 – 50 - .798 (in 304 AB)
LeCroy is a nice stick (and looks a lot like Wickman), but his glovework at first (or lack thereof) would probably prevent LeCroy from donning the Chief in 2006.

For comparison’s sake:
Broussard - .255 – 19 – 68 - .771

So, what are the options presented to the Tribe? Here would be my Plan A and contingency plans:
Plan A: Platoon Broussard & Garko
Terry Pluto called Garko the best young hitter in the organization, putting him in a class with the likes of Sean Casey, The Stick, Brian Giles, and Manny Ramirez as great homegrown hitters. He said that the ball jumped off of Garko’s bat at AA Akron much in the same way that it did with the aforementioned players.
Keeping both Broussard and Garko allows Garko to take a break against tough RH pitchers as he adjusts to the majors and gives the Tribe some insurance (Broussard) if Garko fails to make the transition to 1B, not to mention a late-inning defensive replacement. All indications in the Arizona Fall League are that Garko’s hitting in the minors is far from an aberration and his glove may be adequate. As the year progresses, if Garko proves himself to be a competent major leaguer, Broussard can always be moved.
Plan B: Platoon Broussard & Blake
Plan C: Plug Acquisition (see above) into #6 hole
None of the names above excite me enough to merit trading some prospects for what may or may not be much of an offensive upgrade.

I think that the organization is high enough on Garko and realizes that Broussard is not the “lost cause” that many people think because of his streakiness to go with Plan A as listed above.

Broussard is certainly not the long-term answer, but may serve as a bridge to Garko, much like Paul Sorrento did in the mid-90s, until the young Stanford grad gets comfortable enough to establish himself as another “core player” for the Tribe.

Next up, the trade options that may be out there for RF, the most likely spot for that “Big Bat” to solidify the lineup.

122 days until pitchers and catchers report. After Sunday’s debacle in Baltimore (thanks go out to the Baltimoran for taking his patented “jinx” to the game), it’s time to start the countdown.

1 comment:

Baltimoran said...

After witnessing the 35-0 crapfest in Buffalo last year, i didn't think it could get worse...until I saw Ray Lewis dancing to rap before every big play on the least our seats were the top row so the bastards had to turn around to point and laugh at me.

thank you for the diversion, i'de like to see the garko/broussard split and focus on retaining pitching