Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Until Friday night, the thought was that the replacements that have been coming up from the minors (Perez for Sauerbeck, Carmona/Mujica for Graves/Mota’s reduced role, Sowers for Johnson) were based on talent and the ability of those players to help for this year. However with Shoppach catching, Martinez seeing some games at 1B, and Broussard moving to the periphery of the locker room is a definite shift in thinking/philosophy for 2006.

It’s true that Broussard has not been a very solid defender, but he’s certainly not alone in that respect in the Indians’ infield. Belliard and Peralta have looked like they’re sleepwalking at times, and Boone has zero range at 3B (without even addressing offensive production).

So, it’s not surprising that one of those underperformers was singled out for a change. What is surprising is that Wedge has picked out Broussard to be the “example” for this team that anyone is replaceable. It’s surprising because the 1B platoon was one of the areas of the team that was OUTPERFORMING expectations coming into the season. Perhaps the move was made because the most feasible alternative was available at 1B/C (as opposed to 2B), but the wheels seem to be in motion for Benny B. to strap his 6-string on his back and head out of town.

Some would say, “why wouldn’t Boone be the example with Andy Marte heating up in Buffalo?” The only answer that I can come up with is that Marte’s reputation is built on his offense, not his defense; so Marte wouldn’t necessarily be a defensive upgrade from Boone. Conversely, Shoppach is considered a definite upgrade defensively from Victor at C.

Don’t get me wrong - I don’t have a problem with the move to see what the Indians have in Shoppach, to see if he’s a long-term alternative at C. Broussard wasn’t going to be patrolling 1B for the 2007 Tribe; it’s just a surprising turn of events.

Now that the page has been turned (has it?), it shouldn’t be too much longer for Boone/Belliard to be moved and for Marte to come up from Buffalo (unless the Indians Front Office is THAT concerned about his arbitration clock).

Think about this – the last Minor League Report that appeared in this space on June 12th (less than 2 weeks ago) contained 5 names (Shoppach, Inglett, Gutierrez, Sowers, and Mujica) that are now on the big league roster, or 20% of the Tribe.

With the Tribe now 17 games out of 1st and the Twins now pulling away from them for 3rd place, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Disappointed? Sure. Frustrated? Absolutely.

However we feel, mark Sunday, June 25th as the day that clearly delineates when the moves have started to find out what they have in the minors (presumably for 2007) as Jeremy Sowers made his debut, pitching to Kelly Shoppach, and Rafael Perez ending the game.

Whether these moves are talent upgrades for 2006 or whether we're just seeing what we’ve got in the stable for 2007 should be known in the next two weeks.

With the Tigers (swept the Cards), the White Sox (winners of 9 straight) and the Twins (on fire since the promotion of Liriano) - it's getting late early in the Central.

15 comments:

T-Bone said...

baltimorian, point me to which insider article you wanted. dont immediately see anything about k2.

Baltimoran said...

its a seth wickersham article

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=wickersham_seth&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab6pos2&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fespn%2fblog%2findex%3fname%3dwickersham_seth%26lpos%3dspotlight%26lid%3dtab6pos2

thanks t-bone

T-Bone said...

From Gammons today:

• The Indians want to get third-base prospect Andy Marte up to the big leagues so third baseman Aaron Boone can be traded to the Dodgers or even the Padres, although Padres GM Kevin Towers seems more inclined to stick with Geoff Blum and Bellhorn at third. Indians reliever Bob Wickman, maybe even first baseman Eduardo Perez (although the Indians have a friendly 2007 option), could be moved as the club keeps promoting its own players out of the system.

As 2005 No. 1 pick Trevor Crowe shoots through the system and could be leading off in 2007, the Indians are now speculating that he could play in Cleveland next season. Thus, they will try to see if he can return to playing second base. Crowe was moved out of the infield at Arizona because of a throwing problem from a high school football injury, but his arm has come all the way back. The Indians have their leadoff hitter of the future from that draft, and the Red Sox have theirs from the same draft in Jacoby Ellsbury. Crowe and Ellsbury grew up playing AAU ball together, a la David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and B.J. Upton.

T-Bone said...

Winslow earning rave reviews posted: Friday, June 23, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry

OK, so now I move onto Friday's list, the Top Five Surprises of training camp.
1. Kellen Winslow, Browns TE. I wrote about Winslow in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine. Winslow looked good in Browns camp, which he should have, considering he's at 90 percent. If Winslow is at 90 percent, he should be faster than most linebackers. What surprised me was how quickly he's turned his reputation around on the team. He's a leader now, which is amazing considering he's played two games in two years.

Quarterback Charlie Frye had a lot to do with Winslow's transformation. The two didn't really know each other last year, but started hanging out in January, when other Browns were dispersed across the country and they were the only ones at the complex every day. Winslow now calls Frye his "best friend," and the Browns seem to genuinely be rooting for him.

Rockdawg said...

T.O. also called McNabb his "best friend" during their first training camp. That was before he threw McNabb under the bus and ruined many fantasy football squads (including mine) all across the country.

Baltimoran said...

please don't compare Winslow to T.O. you jerk. I need to have some hope for this season; and if Winslow hasn't been humbled by the past 2 seasons than he is an alien.

speaking of hope, that is good news about Crowe, I just hope he is a good fielder

Cy Slapnicka said...

Its pretty bad when words about a '05 draft pick are uplifting.

Rockdawg, you drop the towel yet....or will the Cards unleash a monster punch, complete with that evil sounding growl like in IV?

Rockdawg said...

Still holding on...Apollo just landed a light jab.

Baltimoran said...

better get your over-sized sunglasses ready for the funeral and a "Hearts on Fire" montage

Cy Slapnicka said...

Wow, this made my day. Someone has posted the aforementioned montage on you tube. God bless them. I need to watch this every morning at the office. Here it is: http://youtube.com/watch?v=PDtcVez_vgc&mode=related&search=IV

Cy Slapnicka said...

My bad, here is the link

Baltimoran said...

good work cy, looks like Bill Simmons had you on youtube for hours too. i got hooked on watching old episodes of mtv's "the state" the "maybe you should try some pants" skit is great.

Rockdawg said...

The State rules....Just ask Doug. If anyone has seen "Boom goes the dynamite", that may be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It gets funnier every time I watch it, just like the drunken Joe Nameth interview.

Cy Slapnicka said...

I rescind all my negative remarks about Peter Gammons. They were made in jest. Lets hope for a full and speedy recovery.

Rockdawg said...

I agree with Cy...as much as he seemingly hates the Tribe, he is a great analyst and his favorite band is Pearl Jam....gotta respect that.

Looks like Apollo landed another jab last night...."one more, and that's called a 'winning streak'".