Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The First Domino

In a surprise move, a starting pitcher for the Tribe hit the DL today…but his name wasn’t Carsten. Jake Westbrook was placed on the 15-day DL with a rib cage strain – this just after going all 9 innings of Saturday’s game in Minnesota without a hint of any kind of injury. In his place, the Indians promoted The Ben Francisco Treat – but it’s not too likely they’ll be asking him to throw every 5th day, so follow the logic on this announcement and what it likely portends.

With Westbrook’s injury, Lee and Byrd obviously move up in the rotation and can pitch with their regular rest this week thanks to Monday’s off day. So the pitching schedule will look like this:
Tonight – Sabathia
Wednesday – Carmona
Thursday – Lee
Friday – Byrd

Saturday’s game against the Yankees (nationally televised, no less) is where the Indians will need a replacement starter for the rotation. As mentioned here previously, Aaron Laffey (who pitched last Saturday’s game for the Herd, the same day that Westbrook pitched against the Twins) has proven by his performance in Buffalo that he should be ready to step into the spot vacated by a starter (surprisingly Jake, not C.C.) due to injury.

Until Saturday, though, the Indians have time to determine what player is not long for the 25-man roster, being effectively replaced by The Frisco Kid today. In effect, instead of promoting Laffey today, the Indians get themselves another position player and (unless Francisco is sent down on Saturday, which I can’t even get my sometimes-circular logic to buy) have about four days to jettison a player on the 25-man roster, either via trade or being designated for assignment.

The two most logical candidates would be Jason Michaels (which was addressed here) and Andy Marte, who the team has shown no interest in playing to this point. If it is indeed Michaels, then I suppose being late to the party is better than never arriving at all. However, if it is Marte, then the Indians’ brass better have some hard data and reasoning as to why Marte was never given more than the 57 at-bat tryout that he went through a year ago before deeming him unworthy of sticking in an organization without many other viable 3B alternatives for this year, and certainly next year after being so universally highly thought of when being traded from Atlanta to Boston, then to Cleveland – all for MLB talent.

Is placing your 2nd best pitcher (thus far this year) on the DL the preferred method of shaking up the roster? Absolutely not, but if the injury brought all of the simmering ineffectiveness to the surface in terms of the team having to make a move, in addition to having the luxury of buying a couple of days to figure out who just drew the short straw, consider the first domino felled.

For now, we’ll hope that Westbrook’s injury doesn’t have the same effect that the oblique strains had on his 2007 season (or that of C.P. Lee last year) and wait, with bated breath, to see how (or is it if?) Francisco is ingratiated into the lineup as well as waiting for the news of which position player is on their way off of the 25-man prior to Laffey’s start Saturday against the Bronx Bombers.


C.C. Ya Later said...

Maybe a sign?

I'm sitting here watching the game; Tribe just brought Fransisco, Marte and Carroll in defensively. Manning and Underwood commented on how that leaves the bench empty. About 30 seconds later, they corrected themselves and stated that Shoppach was still available.

It has been 10 minutes and still no mention of Michaels sitting in the dugout. Maybe he has already been traded\designated?

C.C. Ya Later said...

Wishful thinking.

Shoppach just came in defensively, Manning states "Ok, so everyone's be in the ballgame now." Took about 10 seconds, but Underwood finally chimed in "I think Jason Michaels ", obviously thinking along the same line as me, "is still out there."

Sorry for the false alarm.

Ron Vallo said...

maybe they'll raise all of our blood pressure and keep the Dispeptic Duo and Marte and send out Gutierrez, since he's off to a slow start.

Les Savy Ferd said...

whats this curious spring in my step this morning? Why does the sunshine seem shinier? The buds in the trees buddier?

Ah, what a 15-1 rout can do for the baseball soul. Your turn Fausto...

R.M. Jennings said...

So THAT'S what Kansas City is for!

Rockdawg said...

I am STILL trying to figure out who that bearded dude is that had 6 steaks against the Royals the other night....Who is that guy????

Brandon Heikoop said...

Nice write up about whats going on. I would love to see CC go on short rest and pitch on Saturday. I think that might keep the ball rolling for him taking away time to see what he did right (which I don't think there was really anything).

Check out my write up on CC at my site.