Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Sprinklings

  • The news that Cliff Lee will start the season on the DL doesn’t bother me that much. Maybe it was Lee’s “Five-and-Fly” mantra last year that wore me down as the season wound down. Maybe it’s the success that Carmona is having this Spring (including 5 scoreless IP against the Yankees’ “A” team) that gives me hope that his head is right and that he’s a making a case to become a legitimate threat to be in the starting rotation sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s that (right now) it looks like Lee will only miss 3 or 4 starts, which isn’t like finding out that there’s a torn rotator cuff. Whatever the reason is, it isn’t bothering me nearly as much as you think it would when you consider that the Indians will have a pitcher who has won 46 games over the past 3 years on the shelf to start the season.
  • Franklin Gutierrez is having a good Spring (.304 Average/.320 On-Base/.522 Slugging), but with the performance of Ben Francisco (.400 Average/.429 On-Base/.840 Slugging with 3 more Plate Appearances than the Tank), it could only mean that the Indians are able to acquire a better middle infielder for Gutierrez because the Buffalo outfield is looking awfully crowded and Frankie, a natural CF, may have more value to a team not named the Indians.
  • Speaking of Generalissimo Francisco ($1 to John Sickels), he has those gaudy numbers plus the fact that he’s poked out 3 HR with 2 doubles in 11 games. With the likes of Gutz, Crowe, Snyder, Choo, and John Drennan in camp, Benny’s made quite an impression, shedding the moniker of the most forgotten outfielder in the Indians system. Often thought of as nothing more than a 4th OF, Francisco is proving to be at least a 4th OF – and perhaps more. The way that he’s playing, it’s likely that he would get the first call to Cleveland in case of an injury. His minor league numbers at Buffalo last year don’t scream “platoon”, so it will be interesting to see if he follows the Coco Crisp path to the lineup.
  • With Joe Inglett nursing sore legs and Hector Luna nursing ice cream cones, it seems that the Utility IF race has boiled down to Mike Rouse and Luis Rivas. At this point, it seems that Mike Rouse is the leader in the clubhouse as he played 118 games at SS for Oakland’s AAA team as recently as 2005, so the requirement of being able to play SS is filled. The fact that he’s a LH bat (while Rivas is RH) would mean that his inclusion on the roster would make it easier for Garko (RH) to make the team. The possibility still remains that the Indians go outside of the organization to find a Utility IF once all of the rosters start to take shape and the hard decisions are made in other organizations; but right now, I’ll put a sawbuck on Rouse.

1 comment:

T-Bone said...

WTAM is reporting a 5-year extension for Shapiro to be announced Thursday...