Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lazy Sunday with Terry

With leaf pick-up starting tomorrow, it’s time for a quick Lazy one so the leaves can make it to the tree lawn prior to 1:00 PM. And with that, we’re off:
Once again, Terry Pluto remains the only Cleveland writer still paying attention to the Indians, starting with the signing of Kobayashi. I think that as much as people would like to predict what Kobayashi will do and throw comparisons out there (as I did when the signing was announced), there has to be a wait-and-see approach. We can search YouTube, watch his delivery over and over again, and pore over Japanese baseball stats, but Kobayashi will be a relatively unknown quantity until he arrives in Cleveland on March 31st for the Home Opener. Seeing as how the White Sox just gave a rapidly declining Scott Linebrink a 4-year, $19M deal (and he will set up – at best – for a couple of years), the financial commitment to Kobayashi is minimal.

Since the Kobayshi is the only Pluto article available on line right now, I’ll summarize his other piece on Peralta, where he comes to the conclusion that the Indians are better off dealing Peralta in a package (he mentions with Lee for Jason Bay – which would go against about everything that Neal Huntington should be looking to do as the Pirates’ GM by adding payroll and not prospects, regardless of what public opinion may be) and go with Cabrera and Barfield at SS and 2B.

If he’s going to rehash this, I’ll come back with my same argument against it – Cabrera and Barfield are simply too unproven to simply hand them the middle of the infield with no viable alternatives on the farm.

Cabrera has all of 159 AB at the big league level and, while he performed very well, young players are prone to inconsistency as they make the full adjustment to MLB. Perhaps Cabrera is an exception (he certainly made a quick transition last year), but to give him the SS, again without a backup plan, seems shortsighted.

As for Barfield, he had the 2nd lowest OBP (.270) of all MLB players with more than 400 AB last year, ahead of only Miguel Olivo (.262). But it wasn’t just that he wasn’t able to get on base, his slugging percentage (.324) was 5th worst in all of MLB for players with more than 400 AB, ahead of only Nick Punto (.271), Jason Kendall (.309), Omar Vizquel (.316), and Marcus Giles (.317). Not getting on base very frequently is not a great attribute, but combining it with a low slugging percentage calls into question a player’s readiness for the every day lineup. By no means am I suggesting that Barfield is a lost cause and should be given up on. Far from it, in fact, as Barfield seems to have the talent and ability to play at the ML level (evidenced by his 2006 in San Diego), but was simply unable to make any adjustments at the plate in 2007 and should have to EARN a starting spot at 2B, not simply have it handed to him as a by-product of trading Peralta.

So, if Peralta is traded, Cabrera struggles in his 2nd trip around the league (with game tape on him), and Barfield continues the troubling trends of his 2007 – the Indians just took two positions that they have the ability to perform well at and created a monstrously bad middle infield in one fell swoop. If, in 2008, Cabrera thrives at 2B and Barfield shows some promise (or MI depth is achieved), the “Peralta trade talk” could start up again, but it just seems premature to me right now as it may fill a hole on the team…but could create one (or two) bigger ones when it isn’t a necessity.

This week, T-Bone should be putting his finishing touches on a new uniform piece that (since T-Bone is rather maniacal about the minutia of uniforms) should be awfully in-depth on the new Sunday alternate jerseys and hats. Also, I still have some feelers out on some big things that I don’t want to jinx but should know about very soon.


Voltaire said...

An excellent read as usual.

For the life of me I will never understand the disaffection towards Jhonny Peralta. When he came up in '05 and had a great season he was ragged on for not being Omar, when he struggled in '06 it was "back to Buffalo," and after regaining his form in '07 he's viewed only as trade bait. You did a better job than I could breaking down why he shouldn't be traded, and when those reasons are explained and people still call for his head, I wonder if they truly grasp that this would be a terrible move for the Indians.

rodells said...

Just saw this...

Juan Lara, P CLE
News: Indians reliever Juan Lara was involved in a serious car accident in the Dominican Republic that left him hospitalized with unknown injuries, a team spokesman said Sunday night. Lara was returning from a winter league game Saturday night in San Pedro de Macoris when the sports utility vehicle he was driving was hit by a speeding motorcycle, instantly killing the two people on the motorcycle, Indians spokesman Bart Swain said. Lara was stopped at an intersection when he was struck on the passenger side. Swain couldn't provide any further details on Lara's condition. "We are monitoring his status very closely," Swain said, "and he is definitely in our prayers right now."
Analysis: The 26-year-old Lara, originally signed by the Indians in 1999, spent most of last season with Triple-A Buffalo. He was recalled from the minors on Sept. 4 and made his only appearance for the Indians two days later, working 1 1-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels. The left-hander pitched in nine games for the Indians in 2006. He'll have to fight for a roster spot in 2007 and has no Fantasy value, but right now, his health is of greater concern.