The offense remains in a deep slumber and wasted some good pitching performances (Carmona and Laffey’s combined numbers - 12.1 IP, 2.92 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7 K) to drop the last two listlessly in Minnesota. While the standard answer has been that this is a “team slump” and these players have too much of a track record to worry, I hope that someone in the organization has located the Panic Button on the console…just in case.
To put the youth of the Tribe starters for the weekend in perspective, the baby-faced Aaron Laffey (22) and Fausto Carmona (23) were born when Kenny Lofton was attending Washington High School in East Chicago, IL. Lofton was enjoying his junior year in high school when Carmona was born (12-7-83) and preparing to graduate when Laffey was born (4-15-85).
One more game to go in the Twin Cities, so let’s take a quick Lazy Sunday:
The answer as to why the PD’s Paul Hoynes had so little to report on Trade Deadline rumors becomes known as he recounts his experience as the president of the Baseball Writers Association of America at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. I think I speak for everyone when I give Hoynesie a pass on this one.
Given the choice of sitting on a bus and listening to HOF players talk shop and wondering which bullpen arm would save the Indians season…I think the answer is fairly obvious – “Octavio Who?”
Not sure what the ABJ’s Sheldon Ocker’s excuse is for swinging and missing on the Trade Deadline talk as it looks like his beloved, and always entertaining, mailbag has been replaced by generic MLB wire reports over at the ABJ.
I’m actually saddened by this as it was always fun to see how Ocker could alienate and unnecessarily embarrass and talk down to people that took the time to write in to him.
Maybe his banished mailbag can catch on wherever Roger Brown prints his Sunday column.
Could the retirement of the Ocker’s mailbag (if it is permanent) be the first move to open the door for Stephanie Storm (who reports on her phenomenal blog that Brian Barton is headed to Buffalo soon) to take over the Indians beat from the curmudgeon?
More on the ball is the Canton Rep’s Andy Call, who explains the Waiver Wire Trading Deadline and identifies some players that could be available to help down the stretch.
The LMJ’s Jim Ingraham details Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski’s account of the Gagne/Dotel talks (which sound like they probably could have come from Shapiro as well), also addressing Buddy Bell’s announcement of retirement and how ex-Indians are faring at 1B in the Emerald City.
Back to the Tigers, something that bears watching in Motown is Gary Sheffield’s shoulder.
Why so interesting?
Sheffield has been told the shoulder won't need surgery. He has had two prior surgeries on the shoulder, and, when asked what he would do if doctors said he would need major surgery, he replied, "That would be it for me."
Sheffield, 38, expects to honor the remainder of his current contract, which will pay him $14 million in 2008 and in 2009, "as long as I don't have to have surgery. If I have to have surgery, then that would probably be it."
As in, it for his career?
"Yeah," he said. "When you go through as much as I have, I get to a point where I'm only going to push myself so far. I know how long this takes to rehab. I know what you have to go through to come back and be the same player.
"It takes a lot to do that, and I don't know if it's in me."
Leo Mazzone may try to resuscitate the career of another once-promising ex-Indian, with reports that the Orioles are interested in Fernando Cabrera. Interestingly, if Cabrera does head to the Orioles, he could end up replacing Paul Shuey on their 25-man roster. By no means does this mean that Baltimore is where Cabrera will end up, but it shows that there’s interest in Cabrera, meaning that the Indians will get something in return for CaBBrera. The Tribe has until August 11th to consummate a trade for the young reliever, so if the Orioles are interested, the return will be more than what they got for Hector Luna.
Finally, from the “To Buy a C.C. Jersey or Not” file, it looks like Carlos Zambrano is ready to go for a 5-year, $18M/year deal (once the Cubs are sold, of course). Zambrano’s contract, whenever it is signed, will serve as a decent guideline for what Sabathia might be looking for after the 2008 season.
More important to watch than the annual salary is the number of years included in the deal. A 5-year deal is not as excessive as the 7-year deal that Zito received and would set a good precedent for any Sabathia negotiations with the Tribe.
The Tigers continue to falter as the once-dominant AL Central is showing some chinks in their collective armor as the Tribe and the Tigers are falling back to Earth with the same problem – offense.
Let’s hope that the Indians can pull it together before someone in the AL really catches fire.