Monday, July 30, 2007

Attention Shoppers...

The trading deadline is coming up quickly and the Indians still are looking for that bullpen arm to add to the back end. Some reports out of Kansas City have the Braves giving up Kyle Davies, a 23-year-old starter that would be a coup for 2 ½ months of Dotel for the Royals. To see Davies go for Dotel means that the ante is being raised (again) for quality bullpen arms, but if the Indians lose out on Dotel, it certainly won’t mean that the Tribe has missed the boat.

Just because Dotel’s name is the one that’s been most regularly linked to the Indians doesn’t mean that he’s the best option out there. With JoeBo and Senor Slo-Mo taking care of the 9th and 8th, the Indians are looking for quality depth, not a savior.

Look how Dotel compares with some of the other names that might be out there. With Fultz almost ready to come off of the DL and The Scarecrow thriving in the 7th, it’s unlikely that another LHP is the target, so only RHP are compared. Obviously, Joaquin Benoit probably would have come over in the Lofton deal if the two teams were in negotiations for him, but David Weathers, Al Reyes, or Russ Springer offer other excellent RH alternatives that could be had for a lesser price than the better known (if not necessarily better) players like Dotel, Gagne, or Farnsworth.

The need is great enough that Shapiro may overpay to fill the void in the bullpen created by Mastny’s recent struggles and Cabrera’s season long ineffectiveness. Everyone is out there looking for bullpen reinforcements that is in the playoff hunt, so it may come down to a matter of finding a trading partner enamored with someone in the Indians’ organization to make it happen.

Further down the list of needs, is the growing concern that the Indians infield depth (ahem…Mike Rouse…ahem) may be another problem as this team goes down the stretch without many days off. While I recently read (from a wise man) that arguing or complaining about the Utility IF is the lowest form of baseball conversation, Rouse has made it very clear that he is far from a viable ML alternative at the plate. His recent performance in the field (I know, I know – in VERY limited appearances) though, is what has made the hole more glaring. Without viable options in the minors (Inglett can’t play SS and Luis Rivis is still Luis Rivas), the Indians may have to make a minor move to acquire some Middle Infield depth.

Without going all “those were the good old days”, a player like John McDonald (who may be available from Toronto as he is a FA at season’s end and could be headed to Cleveland at that point) would fit the Indians’ need of a slick glove and a bat that is going to be an upgrade over Mike Rouse (not difficult, but the perennially light-hitting Johnny Mac has an OPS double that of the Mighty Rouse) on the roster.

Additionally, McDonald could offer some insurance for the continued struggles of Josh Barfield as he continues to adjust to the AL. By no means should that statement be misconstrued as a suggestion that McDonald should replace Barfield at 2B, but having a better alternative than Rouse on the roster is depth that a playoff team needs going into the stretch run.

Much can happen before tomorrow afternoon, so here are the links to Ken Rosenthal’s page (funny how Rosenthal has surpassed the boys in Bristol as THE go-to guy for being the 1st to report trades without being an “Insider” or sitting on the set of a “BBTN Trade Deadline Special” all afternoon), Fan Nation’s Rumors Page (which links into newspaper feeds), and MLB Trade Rumors, which scans the web for rumors, (though they are just that…RUMORS) to monitor everything that could happen between now and 4 PM.

Less than one shopping day left.

1 comment:

Cy Slapnicka said...

Caesars Palace sports book has the Indians at 5-1 odds for the world series. I haven't seen the AL pennant odds.

The Browns at 50-1 would be an awesome payday if they win the super bowl. I think I'll have to place that....nahhhhh