Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Best Regards, Mark

Before heading down to enjoy a lovely Cleveland evening on Monday at the Jake (and watch Jeremy Sowers take on Jered Weaver), I opened the mailbox to see that my friend, Mark Shapiro, had penned me a letter.

OK, it’s to all season ticket holders and I don’t have a scanner to scan the whole document, but here’s the gist of it:

  • The Indians organization is just as, if not more, disappointed about this year’s performance as the fans are.
  • They remain confident that the core is in place to make the playoffs in 2007. That goal – the playoffs in 2007 – is reiterated many times throughout the 2-page letter.
  • They admit that, once the team was out of contention, they began making moves with 2007 in mind.
  • Shapiro speaks for the owners’ spending capabilities, saying they are “committed, both economically in the FA market and philosophically in our trades, to achieving the playoffs in 2007” and that they will make “the resources available to add the players necessary to bring us back to our championship-caliber level.”
  • The “core” is very distinctly listed as Grady, Hafner, Sabathia, Martinez, Peralta, Lee, Westbrook, and Blake. The youth of these players is stressed, as is the fact that Hafner, Sizemore, and Victor have matured into three of the best hitters in all of baseball. It’s also pointed out that “C.C., Cliff, and Jake remain several of today’s best starting pitchers after leading last year’s staff to the top ERA in the AL.”
  • The complementary pieces that have already been added are then listed as Sowers, Carmona, Marte, Inglett, Choo, and Luna.
  • The letter ends with thanks for support and a statement that “we remain steadfast in our belief that this organization is poised to bring another era of championship baseball back to Jacobs Field.”

Maybe T-Bone will put a link up of the letter (with all of his fancy toys) that you can view in the comments section, but it’s an interesting letter in what it says and what it doesn’t say.

It’s interesting in that it’s a pro-active stance to ask the Season Ticket Holders to keep the faith and, while it’s an admission that they are not where they want to be (as evidenced by this year), they still believe that this Indians team is not far away from contending next year. It also nearly promises that players (and payroll) will be added, saying “it is of utmost importance to communicate our dedication to making the necessary adjustments and acquisitions to achieve our goal of reaching the postseason in 2007”.

The other VERY interesting thing to do is read between the lines to take note of the players omitted. Nowhere is there a mention of Paul Byrd, Jason Michaels, Kelly Shoppach, or any members of the bullpen (except Carmona, and the letter is dated 8-7-06, so the 9th inning meltdowns were common knowledge). Eric Wedge’s name also does not appear anywhere in the letter

Where does that leave Byrd and Michaels for next year?
Make your own assumptions, but the fact that Westbrook, who is signed for fewer years than Byrd and has comparable numbers this year, is mentioned but Byrd is not is pretty telling.
Also, I think that Michaels’ omission is an admission that the Indians realize that they need to have a run-producing corner OF at one of the positions and, if Choo/Blake is going to patrol one of those spots, Michaels would be the odd man out.
Shoppach is not as noteworthy as it’s rare that a backup C is identified as an exciting player. The only thing that it shows is that Martinez is seen as the starting C for next year, not a straight Vic/ShopVac platoon.
The bullpen not being mentioned as having any players worth saving is, well…taking it easy on the beleaguered pen.

In other news, Todd Hollandsworth is gone (yawn), which means that he can’t pinch-hit for Marte in the 9th inning and that the DiaBride can no longer call him Dutch.

Finally, here’s an interesting story on Juan Gonzalez and steroids back in 2001, when he was still an Indian. The story, inexplicably, not getting any play in the local (or national) media. It’s a pretty damning article and, once again, makes you wonder how widespread this whole steroids thing was (is).

17 comments:

Dan said...

To me, the names in 'the core' sounded right, though the names 'westbrook' and 'blake' surprised me a bit. neither have been that consistent over spans of seasons.

i didn't expect michaels to last through next season... he's always felt like a temp to me. and byrd? eh... he's old, and not much better than elarton so... if we can get somethin decent out of those two im happy.

nice entry though. i hadn't heard of the letter.

Sir Sniffs alot said...

Paul,

I really like your site, but I think that you are reading into this "letter" a bit too much. He is trying to sell you season tickets for next year, so the letter will highlight the most notable players to build on the excitment. I don't think the letter was meant to be a complete player evaluation. Everyone needs to relax, I think Mark is saying the right things. I don't recall the front office ever coming out and saying that the are 100% committed to spending money to get free agents and building a good team. We are usually force feed some crap about how we will try our best to sign someone or it is up to the fans to spend money on tickets, then we will spend money. I love being 27 games out, I think it is a real eye opener for the young kids on the team. They know what they need to do next year, and I feel the will come out focused and determined in 2007

Cy Slapnicka said...

I couldn't agree more. Treat the letter like the opening day program or something. Would they ever put Michaels on the cover of that? There is not a hidden meaning behind everything. If he is writing a letter to get people to buy tickets, what is the point in saying something about Byrd, Shoppach, and Michaels? They don't excite me anymore than Paul Assenmacher, Brian Anderson, or Pat Borders. However, if the letter did mean to provide a hidden message to season ticket holders, I am quite certain that it was nothing more than "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine". Good to see your secret decoder ring is working though.

As for the JuanGone article, I agree...amazing that hasn't been a bigger story.

Pat Tabler said...

True, I'm probably looking too deep into the letter and the omissions.

But JOE INGLETT is mentioned, as are Westbrook and Blake as part of the "core"?!?

Byrd and Michaels not being there are more than just an oversight, particularly as comprehensive as the letter was.
Remember that Byrd's only the 3rd or 4th highest paid player on the team.

Like Sir-Sniffs-A-Lot said, I don't remember the FO coming out and saying "WE WILL SPEND MONEY" until this letter. The prior company line was "We need to do some projections, blah, blah, blah".

That's the significance of it...that and the fact that I need something to hold onto.

Baltimoran said...

i considered inglett part of the core...until he struck out 3 straight times against the tigers.

pc, i just watched National Treasure last night and I think you should use some reagents to see if there is an invisible ink code on the back of the letter that may give us some insight on Paul Byrd's future

Cy Slapnicka said...

PC, if you need some help, I know a guy that might be able to analyze some DNA or blood spatter patterns.

T-Bone said...

still working on scanning in the letter, until i do, here is my choo haiku.

he wears two ear flaps
although he doesnt switch hit.
poor man's ichiro.

Pat Tabler said...

After Choo's RBI hit on Tuesday night, it came over the speakers...

...C'mon ride the train, hey ride it. CHOO CHOO.

You know the Quad City DJ's were smiling somewere

T-Bone said...

Letter, Page 1

Letter, Page 2

T-Bone said...

sorry the quality isnt the best on there. but apparently the budget is so tight at the corner of carnegie and ontario that Mark could only print the letter on a HP deskjet 300, so it bled and is difficult to read when its right in front of your face. kind of bush that they sent it out like this, but oh well. it is what it is.

Cy Slapnicka said...

You know what would have sold some tickets, if he added in there....
"You might remember that old relic from Municipal, Chief wahoo standing over the shoreway, swinging away...well we've decided to bring him back and mount the sign over the corner of Carnegie and Ontario"

Did we ever figure out what happened to that sign? What shame it would be if it became scrap...

T-Bone said...

chief sign - i'm pretty sure it's in the crawford auto-aviation museum still. although i havent seen it in person there. i've just seen pictures of it there.

in a related note, one of the bigger regrets of my life is not buying old stadium seats. i was in high school at the time and the $50 a seat price was a lot at the time. urgh.

lastly, see who's starting for washington tomorrow? i'll give you a hint... it's not my boy, ryan drese.

Rockdawg said...

True, the letter is trying to sell tickets for next year. But, right now, that's the only ray of hope I've got. I know PTC already used this quote a couple of months ago, but I feel life Loyd from Dumb and Dumber - "So your tellin' me there's a chance." I mean, what else can PTC possibly write about at this point and still stay positive? Carmona? 27 freaking games? Marte's smooth transition?

More props to Cy...I laugh out loud every time I read or hear the nickname Ryan Gark-Oh-My-God-Did-You-See-How-Far-He-Hit-That-One?

Pat Tabler said...

The other Garko nickname that came out last night from the 3B Field Boxes by my buddy Joycie: Garko Milicic.

Here's a link to the letter:
http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/cle/ticketing/y2006/shapiro_letter.jsp

And, yes I passed up a Browns' exhibition on TV to see THIS Tribe team.

rodells said...

don't mess with big league choo.

was that like that 2nd series we won since june 1? seems like it.

T-Bone said...

1100 just reported Mota designated for assignment, Vazquez back up, and Trivissano is claiming a little birdie told him Atlanta is throwing in the towel and looking to move Wickman.

Baltimoran said...

my dad saw the chief wahoo sign at the Western Reserve Historical society.

they should have given Mota a shot to close