Sunday, February 24, 2008

Old Faithful: Another Lazy Sunday

After overwhelming support to continue Lazy Sunday in its current form (with a few additions by way of the augmenting the normal roll call with more web writers), we’re ready to tackle another trip around the horn as we all wait for this new incarnation of the Cavaliers to take the floor (is it 6:00 yet?), so let’s get warmed up with a Lazy Sunday:

First off is a Bloggers’ Roundtable that I was asked to participate in, along with Jay Levin of Lets’ Go Tribe (someone whose opinion and expertise I hold in high regard) and Jon Steiner of Bugs and Cranks. As I said earlier in the Michaels piece, most of the questions have been addressed in detail here but there are a few interesting takes.

Also from Let’s Go Tribe is a piece from one of their resident minor league experts, who goes by the name of APV, with an in-depth analysis of Jordan Brown in terms of possibly comparable players that we are all familiar with and a nice ensuing discussion.

Terry Pluto has some good news on his favorite forgotten Indian, Jeremy Sowers, and some startlingly bad numbers for Cliff Lee against lefties. Because of Sowers trainwreck in 2007, it’s easy to forget that he was able to beguile AL hitters over 14 starts in 2006 to the tune of a 1.19 WHIP. Though we were never quite sure how, unless the Jamie Moyer comparison that we all hope to be true is accurate, Sowers zoomed through the minors and found easy success in his first foray in MLB. If Sowers has fixed a hitch in his delivery (as Pluto asserts), the depth that the Indians so desire in the rotation could be falling in line.

Jim Ingraham comes through with a nice, succinct preview of the AL teams with accurate assessments of all the teams competing with the Tribe for the right to represent the AL in the Fall Classic.

Paul Hoynes reports that some in the organization are cautiously optimistic about re-signing C.C. after 2008 as, “the Indians would then be in position to offer him a five-year deal of all new money. Their five-year offer includes a four-year extension along with 2008, the final year of Sabathia's old deal.” Unless the “five-year deal” mentioned becomes a seven-year deal of new money, I’ll believe it when I see it. Not that I wouldn’t love it, it just seems that C.C. and his agents are hell-bent on using Barry Zito as the measuring stick for his next deal.

Ken Rosenthal identifies Brewers OF Gabe Gross as a player who could be caught in a roster crunch and someone whom the Indians have shown interest in. Not sure that Gross would count as an upgrade over the current in-house options and looks to be a LH platoon OF (career .784 OPS vs. RHP, career .436 OPS vs. LHP). With the BLC scheduled to come off the DL in May, the only reason I could see this would be if Dellucci is not ready to break camp with the team – which would be very surprising given all that has been written about how Dellucci is ready to put 2007 behind him.

From the genius of Deadspin, comes their Tribe 2008 Preview from Dan Friedell, who understands that season previews are nothing more than educated guesses as the fickle winds that blow during the course of a baseball season lay waste to most predictions (ahem…Hoynes picking the Tribe to finish 4th in the Central last Spring).

Also on the 2008 Preview swing is the wildly disappointing Baseball Prospectus Preview from
Why is it disappointing?
Absurd comments like “After losing most his playing time down the stretch, Josh Barfield was not expected to be brought back” (who thought a player with options remaining and playing for the league minimum wasn’t coming back?...Bueller…Bueller), “The Indians, however, have enough question marks on the outfield corners -- populated largely by veteran fourth outfielders -- that a big spring could get the switch-hitting Crowe into the discussion.” (no argument on the corners, but Ben Francisco, The Big League Choo, and Jordan Brown would enter the discussion before a guy who posted a .694 OPS in Akron last year.), “Cabrera is a plus defensive shortstop who may have to beat out Barfield again just to play second base.” (again, that’s just silly talk to say that there’s a competition for 2B in Winter Haven when it’s been known since the end of last year that 2B belonged to AstroCab).
Why is it wildly disappointing?
Because it seems to be a mail-it in piece as the author (Joe Sheehan) put forth no effort to address the issues facing the Indians, instead writing that the main questions for the 2008 Tribe were things that were actually decided before the Pitchers and Catchers even got to Florida. What’s so disappointing about that is that Baseball Prospectus has become an excellent resource for intelligent baseball fans and the fact that this is passed off as an authoritative season preview is too bad.

Apparently, Andy Marte isn’t making a great first impression down in Winter Haven as Wedge said about his weight upon reporting to camp, “It’s not great,” the manager said. “It’s not bad, either. He still needs to do some work this spring.”
Translation: We’re…um, we’re not happy about it.

Also, the 1986 Tribe has finally eked over the .500 mark as their pitching staff has been completely overhauled. Out of the starting rotation are Candiotti, Niekro, Schrom; into the starting rotation are Bryan Oelkers and Scott Bailes. Ernie Camacho, and his 7 blown saves, has been demoted out of the closer’s role and the bullpen has been completely revamped.
The net result? Schilling’s Red Sox are in the rearview and the Yankees are in the crosshairs.

Outside of things related to the Tribe, Bill Simmons provided his thoughts on the NBA Trade Deadline, which mirror my reaction, particularly the Cavs’ move. Say what you will about Simmons and his Boston-centric view of the world, but the guy does know basketball.

Speaking of which is it 6:00 PM yet?


Rockdawg said...
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Rockdawg said...

A couple things here...First off, thanks for mentioning one of my favorite Indians of all-time, Scotty Bails. Secondly, I couldn't agree more about Simmons. Although sometimes his blogs revolve around all things Chowda', and his predictions are bold and not all-the-way thought out, the guy lives and breaths NBA hoops. His comedic value is also unmatched in terms of sportswriters. Props to him for admitting that the Cavs are now the strongest team in the East, even above his beloved Celtics. The best part about the piece you linked to is that Simmons points out that some Cavs fan had a website called Cleveland fans rule.


Ben said...

meh, Simmons 'predicted' that the Cavs wouldn't even make the playoffs and that LeBron would demand a trade this year.

His take on the Cavs trade was one of the first positive things I've seen him write about the Cavs.

Anonymous said...

This is good, PC. A Let's Go Tribe Weekly would really ease the pain of my having given up LGT for Lent. I echo your praise for the Deadspin preview -- what a polite little read. Oh, and sorry my boy Brian Roberts couldn't come through for your Flyers today.

"Smoke 'em Brian Slocum" Nickname-Check Watch enters week 2.

Vegas Watch said...

I was convinced it was a typo, but Gabe Gross does in fact have a career .436 OPS against lefties. It's only 68 PAs, but still, .093/.269/.167 is pretty amazing.