Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Back to Square One

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting Guillermo Mota has failed his physical, putting the brakes on the Coco deal, and thus the Rhodes deal.

While this is a setback, I don't think that this is a deal-breaker.

And with the firing of Dan O'Brien in Cincinnati, Austin Kearns could once again be in play to upgrade the Tribe outfield. O'Brien reportedly turned down a Westbrook for Kearns deal (which I'm happy for), but the Tribe may be able to package some players to get Kearns to play RF or LF. Whether the Michaels deal even happens after that is up for debate (though I wouldn't mind it).

I don't think that this Coco move to Boston is dead, just be assured that there won't be as many leaks or hand-wringing in public when talks resume (and they will). Negotiating through the media is not the way that Shapiro likes to conduct his business and, last I checked, he's still holding the chip that Boston can't seem to take their eyes off of.

With all of the talk of these Boston prospects, I thought I'd pull the scouting report from Rotoworld on the AL East Prospects (Marte is Boston's #1 prospect, Shoppach is #7):

#1 Andy Marte - 3B
ETA: April 2007
Marte's bad 47-at-bat stint for the Braves should hardly qualify as a setback, not when he was so productive in Triple-A as a 21-year-old. The only real source of concern now is the mysterious right elbow injury, which came to light after he was traded to Boston for Edgar Renteria. His agent dismissed the report of him possibly requiring Tommy John surgery as nonsense. Even if Marte did need the surgery and missed 2006 as a result, he’d still be a fabulous prospect. His defense at third base, once a weak point, continues to improve, and he’ll be a .280 hitter with 30 homers and 60-70 walks per year in his prime. Another three to six months in Triple-A should be sufficient.
Reports have Marte on his way to Cleveland for Coco Crisp. It’d be an incredibly short-sighted move for Boston.

#7 Kelly Shoppach- C
.253/.352/.507, 26 HR, 75 RBI, 116/46 K/BB, in 371 AB in AAA
It hardly seems fair, but Shoppach’s embarrassing showing in 15 at-bats for the Red Sox last season seemed to counter what good he did by hitting 26 homers and finishing with an 859 OPS in 371 at-bats in Pawtucket. There didn’t appear to be much interest in him in trade talks over the winter, and now the Red Sox are prepared to go with John Flaherty rather than try Shoppach as the personal catcher for Tim Wakefield this year. Shoppach still figures to be a long-term regular. He’s solid enough defensively that he’ll never have to hit for much of an average to be one of the game’s top 30 catchers. With Jason Varitek signed through 2008, Shoppach will again be a candidate to go in an in-season deal this year.

Comparatively, Baseball America had Fernando Cabrera as the Indians' #7 prospect, so we're not talking about two marginal prospects. Shoppach would likely start the season as Vic's backup and Marte would start in AAA, with all opportunities to progress to the Majors quickly.

Just a little background on these names that sometimes feel like nothing more than names.

Stay tuned as pitchers and catchers report in mid-February, and at the rate that we're going, there's no telling what could happen.


clutchdavenport said...

As a transplanted tribe fan forced to watch the poorest excuse for a baseball team, aka the Cincinnati Reds, I am not very excited about the possiblity of getting Austin Kearns. Kearns was once a big-time prospect and has the dreaded "potential" tag affixed firmly to him.

I watched plenty of Reds games this past year, and when Kearns wasn't injured, he was out out of shape, unmotivated and a constant complainer. During crunch time, he's a double-play, waiting to happen. Even when he did produce, it always seemed to be when the Reds were winning big. Coco is a much better player at this point in time. Just my two cents. Darn shame about the Boston deal. I liked it-- not for this year, but for the next several after that. Take care and hope to see you soon.

T-Bone said...

Maybe, though, the last event that sealed O'Brien's firing Monday was a deal he didn't make as late as last week.

The Reds, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians were in a three-way discussion, working on a proposal that would have brought pitcher Matt Clement to the Reds from the Red Sox. The Reds would have sent outfielder Austin Kearns to Cleveland and the Tribe would have sent outfielder Coco Crisp, catcher Josh Bard and pitcher David Riske to the Red Sox.

At the last moment, Boston front office people say, the Reds backed out

Baltimoran said...

without marte in the deal, i would rather keep coco, he may never hit 40 but he can learn to become a base stealer, and who knows if kearns can consistently hit over .265.

i can only assume that shapiro reads this blog, so now he can relax if the reds did in fact back out

Cy Slapnicka said...

I am at a loss for how this deal is good for the Tribe. We already have a couple guys that don't hit for average and have a little pop (given, Kearns has more than a little pop). And one of them is even a righty.

I understand trying to take advantage of Coco's inflated market value, but there is no need to try and force this. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, we still have a solid outfielder. However, if it happens and Austin its 40 dongs and bats over .280, the Baltimorian said he'd get on his knees and start....jugglin.

clutchdavenport said...

I'd been ticked off if the tribe lost Jake for Kearns, straight up. Thank god the former Reds GM was stupid for turning that deal down.

Losing Coco and getting Kearns in the three-way deal that's been mentioned is big risk-big reward. Kearns is such a wild card at this point. The Reds did jack him around some, but Kearns did not take it professionally. I'd hope for the tribe's sake that he was purposely tanking last year just to get out of cincy. But then again, do you want that kind of player on your team? I remember one game where Kearns left like 15 players on base. It was sick. In three straight at-bats with the bases loaded, he had two inning-ending DP and a strike out. He acted like he didn't even care.

All the tools are there, but giving up something proven for Kearns doesn't seem smart to me, especially if we don't end up with Marte.