Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lazy Sunday in the Bullpen

After a nice victory yesterday up North and hopefully another one coming in Baltimore this afternoon, let’s take a quick whirl around a Lazy Sunday:

Terry Pluto addresses how the Indians are shying away from FA and identifies what the Pirates and Marlins would be looking for in exchange for Jason Bay or Miguel Cabrera.
Here’s a hint: One of the names rhymes with GastroBlab.
Still interested in those guys?

Pluto also touches on some of the names that the Indians are looking at to fortify their bullpen depth via Free Agency, mentioning Troy Percival, Mike Timlin, and LaTroy Hawkins. All three would seem to fit the mold of relievers that the Indians generally sign – high-risk, high-reward type pitchers who would likely work off of a one-year deal so as not to compromise the financial flexibility of the club.

Here’s the entire list of relievers out there on the FA market.
Not too much to see here, unless you want to pay Francisco Cordero $10M for the next 4 years (allegedly what he’s asking for). Players that intrigue, like a Jeremy Affeldt or even David Riske, are probably in line for the Danys Baez treatment from some short-sighted, desperate team. Otherwise, it’s the same names that seem to populate this list year after year; and a lot of the players that were rumored to be coming to Cleveland (Dotel, Gagne) or never actually made it north to Cleveland (Foulke).

Luckily for the Indians, they have a pretty deep farm system when it comes to pitchers and the first bona-fide MLB relievers to come out of the Tribe organization since…well, David Riske (?), showed up down the stretch last year in Perez and Lewis and it is conceivable that more pitchers like that could emerge in 2008. While it would be foolish to count on any coming out of Winter Haven, pitchers like Jeff Stevens (whom Pluto mentions), Reid Santos, Randy Newsom, T.J. Burton, or James Deters could be fast-tracked to Cleveland if they compile a start to 2008 similar to what Jenny Lewis did.

Elsewhere around the horn, Pat McManamon touches on the Cy for C.C. adequately until he embarrasses himself by making fun of the VORP statistic favored by a good number of baseball statisticians as an accurate way to measure a player’s value.

I’m fine if McManamon doesn’t know what it is (it is very confusing), but why even bring it up then?
Just to make fun of something that he doesn’t understand?
By the way, the man who created VORP for Baseball Prospectus, Keith Woolner, was hired by the Indians last year…so, yeah, it might be relevant, particularly if you care to know how the Indians’ Front Office makes decisions.

In today’s Plain Dealer PdQ section, they “reveal” that the Indians have new Sunday uniforms, something that was mentioned here about two months ago…I think. While I can’t find a link or photo online (way to embrace the Information Superhighway, PD!), the article says that the new jerseys and hats will be available at the Team Shops for Christmas. If you forgot how phenomenal these are, here’s the design again:

By the way, there are no names on the back of the jerseys and the article claims that the retro look was Shapiro’s idea to go back to a “simpler look” as well as quoting Kurt Schloss, the Tribe director of merchandising interviewed for the piece that, “Chief Wahoo is a part of who we are. It’s not about representing a person or a group, it’s about our history.”

Outside the realm of reality, the 1986 Cleveland Indians are now sitting at 5-6 after finally taking a game from the red-hot Tigers last night thanks to Mel Hall’s big night and in spite of the Candy Man sitting on a 6.38 ERA after 3 starts.
By the way, Brett Butler is killing me.
One hit and two BB in 32 plate appearances at the top of my lineup does not create a lot of scoring opportunities.

Finally, some big things may be forthcoming this week (I hope) in terms of an “interview” that I don’t want to jinx, but stay tuned to see if it comes through as I think that it would be amazingly informative and insightful…again, if it comes through.


Anonymous said...

I must be the only one who doesn't like these new uniforms, nor do I care for the absence of last names on the back. I hate and fear change.

stevedimatteo said...

First of all, the new uniforms are the single greatest thing I have ever seen in my life.

Secondly, getting Miguel Cabrera means we would never be able to sign C.C., especially with the kind of money Cabrera would be worth. I wish as much as the next person that we could fit him into our "budget," but I don't think it will be possible. I hope I'm proven wrong. And if giving up Asdrubal means we get Jason Bay, I would say "have fun wasting away in Pittsburgh, Jason."

peter said...

While I agree that Astrubal isn't worth Jason Bay (probably meaning we're not getting Bay), I'd be willing to put Asdrubal in a package for Miggy.

Bay is older, coming off a bad year, and now has questionable upside.

Miggy is one of the top 3 or 4 pure hitters in all the Majors, and yet is still young with a tremendous career ahead of him. The Boston Globe's baseball notes column today compared Miggy to Manny--favorably in terms of pure hitting.

Plus, he comes with 2 more years on his contract.

In short, Miggy is good enough to be worth it, quite possibly good enough to get the Indians back to the World Series.

It would mean going back to Barfield at 2nd, but think about it-- would you rather have Asdrubal and Blake at 2nd and 3rd, or Miggy and Barfield? clearly the latter. Plus, Barfield is still young and developing as a player--he hasn't lost all the up-side Shapiro saw in him when he traded for Barfield.

The real issue is that it would mortgage the future for today. I understand that, but this team seems special enough to be worth it. A 2008 run, with this rotation, and Miggy...

That would be special. They'd blow it up afterward, yes, but wouldn't you happily live with it for a world series ring?

Pat Tabler said...

A fantastic letter that I was lucky enough to be "carbon copied" on to Pat McManamon of the ABJ from an informed reader:

You say about the 'VORP', "What the heck does that mean". Well Pat, I guess you have a "Road Not Taken" moment here. On one path, you can remain seemingly sly and wise but in reality ignorant while staying at your present career level as a non-lead columnist in a minor league city. On the other, you can choose to learn and grow. This is not a pot shot, you know that that is where your career is currently mired. Pat, you can be lazy while talking down and/or appealing to the lowest denominator in your audience or you can enlighten yourself and educate your readers. Let's call it your Sheldon Ocker/Bud Shaw vs.Terry Pluto decision. Which of these guys would you rather be? I don't think I need to tell which guys are which... While I am criticizing you, please realize that it is my intent to be instructive. I pray that you choose the path to enlightenment; God knows we need more people in the traditional media around here who "get it". If you are young, I hope that my words resonate. If you are old and/or your mind is otherwise closed, I'm sorry I wasted your time.

By the way, if you wish to learn more about VORP, the guy who invented it works for the Indians. Call Keith Woolner at 216 420 4200. If you are genuinely interested in learning more about one of the sports you are covering as opposed to remaining that wise-cracking ignoramus in the back row from eighth grade, I'm sure he will explain it to you.

As if the Browns' victory didn't make my day - that did.
So concisely presented with an accurate perspective on the situation, I had to share.

t-bone said...

Wow, that there's a helluva letter!

Reminder to all DiaTribers, Opening Day tickets on sale Friday at 10am!

t-bone said...

New uni's officially unveiled...

Cy Slapnicka said...

seriously, was it really necessary for them to show a picture of joel skinner modeling the uni's? the browns didn't announce new uni's a month after the fumble and have byner modeling them. the indians didn't have mesa or fernandez model new 1998 uni's. i just happily clicked away at the link and had visions of kenny lofton standing on third rushing back into my brain.

on another more pleasant note, wouldn't it be hilarious if the b-more scoreboard operator was fired today for showing the replays while the officials were discussing the call from the game yesterday?

t-bone said...

you know, i thought that too. billick is probably calling for that guy's head if the replays we were seeing on TV were on their scoreboards.

Mr. Tabler alerted TCF boards to the ChiSox-Angels trade today. You'd have to assume Chicago has something else in the works in trading away pitching, right?

t-bone said...

Sources: Tribe near deal with Kobayashi
Ken Rosenthal /
Posted: 53 minutes ago

The Indians, continuing the run on Japanese relievers, are close to an agreement with right-hander Masahide Kobayashi, according to major-league sources.

Kobayashi was already taking his physical for the team Tuesday.

Kobayashi, 33, has spent his entire nine-year career with the Chiba Lotte Marines, the team managed by Bobby Valentine. He has averaged 31 saves the past seven seasons.

As the price for domestic free-agent relievers soars — and as Japanese relievers such as the Red Sox's Hideki Okajima and Dodgers' Takashi Saito succeed on relatively low salaries — teams are increasingly turning to the Japanese market to bullpen help.

The Royals are close to an agreement with another Japanese free-agent right-hander, Yasuhiko Yabuta, 34. A third Japanese reliever, right-hander Kazuo Fukumori, 31, also is drawing interest.

The Indians are trying to supplement their bullpen due to the heavy workloads that right-handers Joe Borowski and Rafael Betancourt carried down the stretch and into the postseason.

Cy Slapnicka said...

I have a feeling this deal is going to end badly, perhaps when Shapiro notices the coffee cup Valentine is drinking out of has "Kobayashi" printed on the bottom. Or when he tries to get him to trade Grady and Fausto for Keyser Söze?

Indians tix went up today. Interesting move by the brass, as attendance was a challenge last year.