Friday, June 20, 2008

Fear and Worrying in Los Angeles

On the cross-country flight to the Left Coast (a few rows on the plane behind Rafael Betancourt’s wife, unless you can think of another smoking hot Latino woman with a diamond necklace that says “63” with a reason to be flying from Cleveland to LAX on Thursday), awful thoughts filled my head about where this 2008 season is headed for our beloved Erie Warriors. The Indians, presented with a portion of the schedule to take advantage of to make up some ground in the AL Central, have continued to scuffle and watched EVERY other team in the AL Central blow up their Interleague opponents while getting swept by the Rockies.

Losing ground when they should be gaining ground, or at least keeping pace. Ugh.

Now sitting 8 ½ back, with 3 teams ahead of them in the Central, perhaps it’s time to start asking some very hard questions about this team…and none of them even getting into a certain 300+ pound lefty. Sitting now in my sister’s house in Long Beach (for the record, we’re out here because she just had a baby, not because the Tribe is playing in Chavez Ravine the next few days…which doesn’t hurt), let’s throw some of those questions out there that need to be answered in the next week, month, and few months.

Not many answers, but the questions are plentiful:
If 2008 is an afterthought (which is looking more likely by the day) is it time to flip Paul Byrd in a Chuck Finleyesque nature to see if the Indians can fill some organizational holes that have become apparent? Do the injuries of Westbrook, Fausto, and Miller make you think twice about keeping Byrd around for another year to help fill out the rotation? If the team does decide to move him or if he is reticent to talk about re-upping for next year, it's time to put the feelers out there, even if he’s not going to bring much in return, in terms of anyone close to being MLB-ready or being a shiny prospect.

Continuing on the same vein regarding veterans not under contract for next year, isn’t this situation almost exactly like what happened in 2006, when the Indians were able to flip Benuardo to Seattle for Asdrubal and Choo and jettisoned Wickman and Belliard?
Is it time to look to move anything not nailed down?

If so, what other veterans, besides Byrd, could be fodder for a trade?
Blake to a team looking to strengthen their bench?
Dellucci to a team looking for a LH bat, given that Choo is filling the “Dellucci” role on the team?
Borowski to a team desperate…please note, I said DESPERATE…for bullpen help?

If we’re talking about players that may be fungible, what other players on the Indians may have more value to another team and could be moved to augment the suddenly shifting “core”? That is to say, are there young players that are not seen as “core” players that are young enough (and under club control at known salaries) that they could net some talent in return from a team that may have a greater need at a certain position than the Indians?

If Victor figures to come back at a certain point, are BOTH Garko and Shoppach needed on the roster? Victor will, at some point, settle into 1B or C, meaning that one of those players figures to remain a backup (unless Pronk, as we once knew him, is gone forever and Garko becomes the DH) and wouldn’t it be a good idea to deal from a relative strength to fill some other holes on the team rather than stockpiling similar players?

Given Frank the Tank’s superb play in the OF (and his relative struggles at the plate), is he attractive to other teams as a defensive wizard in CF (and that role is filled in Cleveland for the foreseeable future), where he can play everyday? Is he essentially blocked by Grady, making him more valuable to teams not playing in Cleveland? Couldn’t an NL team, able to sit Gutz at the bottom of the lineup and happy to benefit from his defensive prowess, be a better spot for Gutierrez?

With the organization down on Jhonny Peralta (and there’s no question that they are), is it time to look into moving him to a team that needs offense more than defense at SS? Asdrubal looks to be the long-term answer at SS (anyone notice he’s playing SS in Buffalo), so where does that leave Jhonny? Trying to figure out how to play 3B (with no guarantee that his defense would improve by moving to his right on the infield? Not with the way that Wedge and Shapiro have PUBLICLY said that Peralta is not where they want him to be as a player.

Are the signings of Morgan Ensberg and Sal Fasano simply for “organizational depth” or are they harbingers of things to come where a player like Blake or Shoppach could be moved?

Is Andy Marte alive? No…seriously. Isn’t it time to just cut bait with a player so obviously not in this team’s plans? The Indians have had chance after chance to work Marte into the lineup because of ineffectiveness or injury and haven’t done so, portending that Marte simply will not see the field any time soon in Cleveland…regardless of how obvious opportunities for him may seem to some.

Again, no answers today…just food for thought. Answers are for another day.
For today, it’s time to go walk to the Pacific Ocean with my new niece and take in some ocean air. They’ll be plenty of time to consider the answers as I get to watch all of these Dodgers’ games ending before midnight local time (although I got up at 5:00 AM “local time” this morning) and head to Dodger Stadium for Sunday’s game.
If you’ve been to Chavez Ravine, any input is appreciated as I try to figure out a way to get Matt Kemp into my carry-on.


Halifax said...

BLAKE: However much we like this guy, he can be moved, but don't give him away.

DELLUCCI: Someone needs a solid LH PH off the bench and part-timer. Move him for the best you can get. He's familiar with both leagues.

SHOPPACH: Will Victor ever be the same? I like Kelly a lot, and with Vic's uncertain health I hate to let a good backstop like Shoppach go, unless you get a VERY good return.

GUTIERREZ: As much as I like Francisco, somebody has to play opposite Choo, and Frank's the best option. Between the two they make a really good RF that hits, runs and defends well and offers a little pop at the plate. Plus, they'll both get better. Francisco is my choice to deal while he's hot, but only if we pick up a young stud LF in a Sabathia deal.

MARTE: He needs to be some sweetener in somebody's coffee. No, he has no value, but he could still make a deal just enough better to seal it. Adios, Amigo.

PERALTA: Don't bother moving him to third, just deal him already. He probably still has some value, somehow. I can't see him being a good 3B.

CC: Do it, do it when you get the package you want (decide what it'll take from each organization) and when opportunity knocks, open the door.

BYRD: Some team desperate for pitching will give us Max Ramirez.

THE RANGERS: CSUSI mentioned them, I'd love to see us nab Ian Kinsler and Hank Blalock somehow. Blalock looks to me like Jermaine Dye, Joe Crede or Magglio Ordonez, where a good player struggles with injuries.

Halifax said...

Continuing that Rangers thought: Blalock is only 27 and he could bounce back well. He's been a second-half struggler in Texas but it's 100 degrees down there. Kinsler could end up being a real nice player.

GARKO: He's the one they should deal. They're stuck with Hafner, Vic may move to DH or 1B and they have a good-hitting Jordan Brown on the way. Garko would make a nice bat in the middle of someone's lineup.

A package of Garko/Peralta/Francisco could possibly get Kinsler/Blalock, etc. who knows what they're looking for?

JoBo: First $50 bucks takes him.

csusi said...

im with you halifax on about all of that. especially with the shoppach talk. but along with that, theres the wonder in me of what we could get for shoppach. i love having him around, but theres alot of teams out there that i bet would be drooling at the idea of having shoppach. so, you have to wonder at what we could actually get for him.

i think ian kinsler would be the dream pickup for us. i dont think the rangers are goofy enough to let him go. but, man what a grab that would be.

can we trade wedge? i wouldnt mind that one. wedge for a player? has that ever happened? wedge for anybody for that matter. pickup a descent bat boy. somebody to warm up the relievers. hell, wedge for my 92 year old grandpa wouldnt be a bad swap. would probably be more active in the dugout and show more life than wedge. and i guarantee you he can smack talk better than wedge. get the tribe wound up. put a little scare into them.

ill talk to him about it. see what he thinks.

csusi said...

continuation to halifax:

i dont know what my deal is with garko, but i cant seem to let go of the hope i have in him, regardless of how disappointing he can be sometimes. i think its a situation where i just see so much potential in him and want him to live up to it.

and i have to say im sold on francisco. i love this guy. i think he's the answer we've been struggling to find when it comes to one of our outfield corner slots. and it seems he's always hitting the ball. it doesnt always find the grass, but he's always making solid contact with the ball. in the month of june, in 74 at bats he's struck out 9 times. like your mentioning, i do think he could be nice bait. but, when it comes to fresh young talent im not sure theres many out there as sharp as francisco.

but, with all that said, i will have to dis-agree with you on the joe borowski claim. $50 is a little steep on the asking price. you throw in a bag of peanuts and a large sprite each game for the rest of the year, and he's yours.

Anonymous said...

My son gave me DEALING by Terry Pluto for fathers day. There is a bit in it that covers an interview with Wedge by Pluto. Wedge was asked why he didn't praise Vic a little when he had a great week and carried the team. Wedge even then refused to praise Vic beyond saying "he had a great week, he played well..." Do you suppose his 'even-keeled' attitude is wearing thin on these guys? Have we ever seen Wedge really slap a player on the backside for doing it right? I mentioned in an ealier post how dead-panned Vic once looked after a strike-em out throw-em out to end an emotion at all, all the way into the dugout....could we use a little Ozzie once in a while from Wedge?

csusi said...

thank you minktrapper. thank you.

Baltimoran said...

don't think wedge should take the fall with 4 of his best players not playing.

reading paul's link to Posnaski's article about Joe Charboneu made me think back to my formative years of watching the willie upshaw's, jerry brown's, brook jacoby and everyone else. i never worried about standings cause i never even thought about contending. i do remember alomar's rookie season (90 i think) when i watched every game, was sauced when they won and didn't mind when they lost especially if sandy had a few hits...when the tribe got good, i found out how angry i would get when we lost during a pennant race or in the playoffs, and it often put me in a nasty mood. I think i'm gonna try to to go back to 1990 and have a stress free summer with Francisco as my new sandy.

rodells, unfortunately i will be in upstate NY this sunday...somehow i have managed 31 years on this planet without seeing a pj show, inexcusable i know but i sort of blew my concert going load on dmb in my younger days...have fun

Anonymous said...

I'n not asking Wedge to take the fall at all. All I would like to see is him forget his childhood for awhile and show what a father-figure/big-brother or whatever can act like when one of his kids/little brothers does good. Stop worrying about showing up the other team with a little emotion....
btw...his 4 best players were playing in April and May...when we actually blew this thing....(you know, back when all injuries were a big freaking secret?)

Anonymous said...

I know most of you have read the book I referred to above...but for any who have not I highly recommend it. It will give you an idea what is going through Shap's head when he starts to wheel an deal next month.

Chris said...

Dodger Dogs sukk azz, but the rest of the stadium is pretty cool.

Why are you following this Tribe team around? They will be blown up soon enough.

Paul Cousineau said...

I happen to be an Indians' fan from Cleveland who is visiting family in LA when the Tribe is facing the Dodgers. I also happen to like visiting ballparks and watching baseball.
Sorry if you have trouble understanding that.

Thanks for your contribution to the was enlightening.

Rockdawg said...

Hal, you say about Blake "however much we like this guy..." Speak for yourself, I have harbored a hatred of Blake for years now. He is the reason that I know this season is in trouble. At times, he is our BEST PLAYER, and that is sad.

I would say that nobody except Fausto, Grady, Vic, The General, Laffy, Sowers, and Fransisco are safe.

It is amazing how just one win can start making me believe that, just perhaps, we might not need to implode this thing.

Halifax said...

rock -- i LIKE him, he's an ok player.

R.M. Jennings said...

You know, I've come to believe that maybe srqdale (of was right! Elerton did a great job today! Sure he gave up a run in his inning, but I think he's a great candidate to replace Brodzoski (The Close).

(big old 'sic')

For real, though, I listened to a lot of today's game on XM, which carried the Dodgers' broadcast. Those guys (Charley Steiner and Rick Monday) did a great job talking about the Indians. I was looking forward to hearing Vin Scully, but I enjoyed listening to them. They said that Sabathia's HR was possibly the longest they've seen ALL SEASON. Really.

Paul Cousineau said...

Listening to Vin on Friday was nothing short of a religious experience and the radio guys that RMJ mentions are top-notch.

Fair, even-handed, knowledgeable, and hilarious. At one point, Charley Steiner compared the ump to Leslie Nielson in "The Naked Gun" with his K call. He then riffed on Enrico Palazzo and the whole movie for a 1/2 inning.

It was gold,

dave said...

mentioned a while ago to bat Sabathia,most of the team in a slump and he hits the farthest home run,how bout dh him on his days off from pitching?but Wedgy wont do it.

-Mike said...

Garko is where you are wrong my man. I agree with most of your points, but Garko is going to be the better player between him and Pronk. I don't think it can happen this year, with the shoulder, but Garko is the one you keep. Find someone looking for Hafner, and ship his arse out.

Oh, Paul, for those of us on the west coast who get to listen to Vin, it's awesome. Just wait until there is a double play, he goes on about how the devil jumped up and bit some guy for 3 innings. I heard he go on and on about BP for at least 3 innings when the Reds where out here last.

Rockdawg said...

Vin, Steiner, and Monday are, no doubt, some of the best in the biz. But I'll take Hammy any day over all of them...If only the Tribe would get him a good partner, or just let him do the games by himself, a la Joe Tate.(another legend)


Anonymous said...

I agree Rock...I can't tell you how many times I have turned the TV off and just listened to the game on the radio. Hammy is a true pro. Does anyone have the audio of C.C.'s homer?..I need to hear Hamilton's call on that.

Anonymous said...

Hey all....I just downloaded the new FireFox browser. It has an automatic spell checker built in that works here.....pretty nice for us illiterates... it underlines the misspelled word.... just right click the misspelled word and it gives you the correct spelling.

csusi said...

for all you hamilton lovers. you need to hunt down on ebay the audible hamilton bobblehead. comes with 3 of hamiltons signature calls:

1. "how about that"
2. "swung on and missed.....ballgame"
3. and the greatest, "swung on and belted waaayyyyy back. gone!"

i crank out all 3 of them before each game to get me hyped.

a worthwhile purchase for sure.

looking for the sweep. cmon byrd, prove me wrong in the ways that i think of you.

Anonymous said...

CRAP!!! is it byrds turn already?

Joshua Whitman said...


I hope you've been enjoying your weekend getaway. I, however, have been refreshing my browser every five minutes since 6 am this morning. My hands are starting to shake and I feel like I'm going to throw up. I NEED MY LS!!!
Just kidding, I'll be OK.
This new Firefox speel checkor is wunderful!!! Two bad it ain't got no grammar checker.

csusi said...

and in regards to scully. how is it that i watch 2 indians games broadcasted by scully and learn a massive amount more about the tribe than i have from all the games prior. not to mention that he never repeats himself. its always fresh information. just insane. id be curious to know how he does it. i mean i know that most of it comes from just raw talent to call a game, but he's got to have a load of people working for him to pull all the information he spurts out. he's darn good though.

anyway, cmon byrd. lets keep it to a minimum. just watched him produce a brutal 1st inning. garko just drove in choo. looks like we're rallying. get em tribe. we shall see.