Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Evaluating Tomahawks

After spending last night in the Mezz and thinking alternately that some team must want Paul Byrd (Hello? Is this thing on? Bueller…Bueller…) and that Eddie Mujica’s splitter is going to vault him into the back end of the 2009 bullpen, it’s time to release some ‘hawks:

Since the final 3 months of the seasons have already been identified as a mere extension of Spring Training as players try to slot themselves into the mix for 2009, let’s take a look at how some of the position players attempting to make an impression have fared in the month of July:
Kelly Shoppach
.286 BA / .355 OBP / .554 SLG / .908 OPS with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 56 AB

Ryan Garko
.228 BA / .228 OBP / .386 SLG / .614 OPS with 2 HR and 10 RBI in 57 AB

Asdrubal Cabrera
.207 BA / .281 OBP / .345 SLG / .626 OPS with 1 HR and 2 RBI in 29 AB

Andy Marte
.245 BA / .298 OBP / .453 SLG / .751 OPS with 3 HR and 5 RBI in 53 AB

.230 BA / .304 OBP / .426 SLG / .731 OPS with 2 HR and 8 RBI in 61 AB

Franklin Gutz
.184 BA / .200 OBP / .367 SLG / .567 OPS with 1 HR and 2 RBI in 49 AB

The Ben Francisco Treat
.239 BA / .313 OBP / .394 SLG / .707 OPS with 2 HR and 9 RBI in 71 AB

Despite the small sample sizes, most of those numbers are pretty unsightly (and I’ll try to post those at the end of August and September to keep tabs on these “position battles”), but how about the way that Kelly Shoppach has busted through an open door, taking full advantage of the opportunity presented to him by sitting on the 2nd highest OPS among AL catchers with more than 200 plate appearances, behind only Joe Mauer and ahead of…well, everybody else. Victor’s move up the 1B line when he returns (if Shoppach is not deemed to be of the Coco Crisp mold – that is, more valuable to a team that doesn’t play in Cleveland – this offseason) would not be too surprising as Shoppach has laid a claim to a chance to be the Indians everyday C in 2009.

As an aside on the man known to some as ShopVac, my brother-in-law in LA pronounces Kelly’s last name as if it were written as “Show Pack”…and I don’t have the heart to correct him.

Something to consider going into next year regarding these players as well is that players who still will have at least one more option intact are Josh Barfield (allegedly ready to come back in the next week or so), Garko, Cabrera, and Francisco. When decisions are made next Spring, don’t be surprised if some of those options play a role in who breaks camp with the parent club and who gets slotted as “depth”.

Speaking of extended auditions, the Indians’ brass has essentially come out and said that 3 spots in the bullpen will be filled by the artists formerly known as the Fist of Iron and the Fist of Steel (Perez and Betancourt), as well as Kobayashi figuring in somewhere. It would seem that the other 4 spots in the bullpen figure to be filled both internally and from outside the organization, with the internal candidates already in Cleveland posting these numbers in July:
Edward Mujica
0.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 7 K, 0 BB, 4 H in 9 IP

Jensen Lewis
9.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 7 K, 3 BB, 15 H in 8 IP

Tom Mastny
11.37 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 6 K, 5 BB, 7 H in 6 1/3 IP

The real revelation here has been Eddie Moo, who has the second best OPS against in the month of July for pitchers in the AL with 9 IP or more, besting the likes of Bobby Jenks and Joe Nathan. Small sample size…hot streak…the cautionary tale of Fernando Cabrera…I know all of these things, but I’m still allowed to get excited about the potential of Mujica as a late-inning option that emerges as the season winds down.

Looking at those other two, let’s be happy that the likes of Jeff Stevens, Zach Jackson (the LHP in the CC deal who has let up 9 H and 3 BB while striking out 12 in the 16 2/3 IP since he arrived in Buffalo), Jon Meloan (who pitched a scoreless inning of relief in AAA in his debut) should be viable options for 2009 (or even this year), as well as some arms lower in the system that may project into the 2009 mix.

I know that the USA Olympic baseball team plays a few exhibition games against the Canadian team as a warm-up for the real deal in Beijing. While I could care less about the Olympics as a whole, does anyone know if any of those USA-Canada games are scheduled to be televised?

I haven’t been able to find anything as of yet, but would LOVE to see Matt The Door, Jeff “Even” Stevens, Nick Weglarz, and Akron reliever TJ Burton in action for their respective teams. I mean, LaPorta, Stevens, AND Weglarz on the same field?
Forget Michael Phelps…this I have to see!

Much has been said and written about whether Paul Byrd is the next FA-to-be that will take flight (pun intended) to another location before the year is out. While the “Trading Deadline” is July 31st (at least that’s what ESPN tells us), most people in the know are saying that Byrd is more likely to be moved AFTER that deadline in the month of August.

How can this be?
Well, it’s a complicated situation pertaining to a process known as revocable waivers, and is probably best explained by looking at the actual text from the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement. In a nutshell, if the Indians aren’t able to find a suitable trade partner for Byrd prior to the July 31st Trading Deadline, when teams will likely be looking for bigger names to supplement their rotation, the Indians can place him on said revocable waivers after that date, a move most teams would expect to happen as more players are exposed to this process than you would think.

If a waiver claim is placed by a particular team, the Indians can either pull him back (not likely), work out a trade of Byrd to that team, or let that team assume his salary (about $2.75M) for the rest of the year. As Byrd is a Free Agent at the end of the year, very little risk exists for him to be placed on revocable waivers because even if he clears those revocable waivers (that is every team has a chance to claim him and passes), the Indians can then either trade him to ANY team or simply bring him back to the Indians to close out the season in Cleveland.

It’s really a no-lose proposition for the Indians where they can find a potential trade partner for Byrd as the Indians would be pretty compelled to move Byrd (if he was claimed) for the final two months of the season. If they’re unable to consummate any deal for him by Thursday, and are motivated to move him with the idea that any return (whether it be a player or money) is better than simply letting him stay with the team for the remainder of the season, revocable waivers is the process by which to do so…assuming that a team that feels that Byrd would upgrade their rotation is out there.

Then again, with reports that players like Jarrod Washburn, Bronson Arroyo, Derek Lowe, and A.J. Burnett are all either not going to be made available or will only be made available for a pretty penny, a player like Byrd could hold enough value that a contending team thinks that adding him to the back end of their rotation will provide enough of an upgrade for them to justify moving him prior to Thursday’s deadline.

Don’t be discouraged or frustrated, then, if Paul Byrd is still receiving his mail at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario on August 1st or view it as an “opportunity lost” as this process is the reason why many are stating that the likelihood of him being moved AFTER the July 31st “Trading Deadline” is actually higher than it is for him to be traded prior to it.

Finally, it does look like the show tomorrow night is happening from 6 PM to 7 PM with yours truly coming live into your living room on your Time Warner channel 23 as Todd Dery and I assume the controls for Les Levine on his call-in show. It looks as if there is a way to get the hour of “Must-See-TV” on the Interwebs as, obviously, many people who spend time with me here don’t get Time Warner…or aren’t even in Cleveland.

So whether you lay your head in Chicago, Charlotte, Toledo, New York, or anywhere else, there should be a way for you to witness a television first (of some sort or another) within a day or two of the show.


Unknown said...

There's been not much worth commenting about this year, but this is right up there with a new episode of the Office in terms of anticipation!! Kudos, Paul.

RE said...

Since I am "laying my head" in Charlotte this evening, I'm delighted to learn I might see the most PC of PC's tonight for the straight scoop. Does one go to the TW website or is it more mystical than that?

Cy Slapnicka said...

If you don't bring a guitar and sing "Chubby Chief Wahoo" on the air, I will consider it an opportunity wasted. Ever since seeing the performance in the ghetto of UD, I've been waiting for an encore.

Bour-bon! Bour-bon! Bour-bon!

Rockdawg said...

Re, I'm in Charlotte too, and I HAVE to see this performance. I have not yet found a viable option, can someone let me know how to watch this???

Paul Cousineau said...

I'm being told that the people on the show can post it on YouTube and/or provide us with a disc that would have the show on it.

I'll know more when I get there tonight...without any kind of guitar.

Cy Slapnicka said...

does anyone in the cleveland viewing area have a slingbox or know someone with one?

if not, can someone record it and get it up on youtube or something?

Cy Slapnicka said...

will someone swing by the studio and get this man a guitar and some dortmunder imperial!?!

Cy Slapnicka said...

nice to see cc's full page thank you in the paper today. maybe he's just buttering us up for his glorious return for less money and years? :)

Rockdawg said...

Awesome job by a class act...CC that is.

PTC, thank you for covering a mystery that I have always been too lazy to research myself, that being that every year there are trades after the "trading deadline". It's kind of the same way that Pryor signed with OSU after the "National Signing Day".

CY, I haven't had the pleasure of viewing the "Chubby Cheif Wahoo" performance, but if it is anything like the "Bicardi Rum Jig", which I have seen a couple times, SOMEBODY local has to convince Paul to turn this into Les Levine's most memorable show, topping out Marrie's prank phone calls.

Cy Slapnicka said...

I have not seen the rum jig, didn't realize Paul had enough material for a B side to his Chubby Chief single.

Baltimorian, you were there and will be in Cleveland this week. Get down there with a guitar. Maybe Big Larry can accompany him on the pipes?

Baltimoran said...

PC did awesome, and a friends mother said he "looked like a movie star"

Cy I have to correct you..."chubby chief wahoo" was sang in Columbus along with a song that described the entire story of Willy Wonka and Chocalate Factory and of coarse a song created about a topic chosen by drunkovon who didn't think PC could create a song about a "Gay Nazi Eskimoe"

Paul Cousineau said...

Things went pretty well, though "movie star looks" is quite an overstatement.

On the way out of the studio, they gave me a DVD that I'm trying to upload for sharing, but am completely lost as to how to do this...outside of just inviting everyone over for some pizza and High Lifes while watching the DVD.

For all of you computer-savvy people out there, any ideas?

Cy Slapnicka said...

you're right, it was in c-bus when we went down for dave show. i believe that was also when marrie was removed from the amphitheater in a wheelchair?

Rockdawg said...

PTC, I would call Timmy, he can probably uplaod it in his sleep.

Nice to see Fausto get a "W"...I can't believe I have to watch not one, but two of my alltime favorite players (Thome and Junior) play for the White Sox.

As I'm typing this I am watching Lebron being interviewed while wearing, what else, a Yankees hat.

Paul Cousineau said...

It looks like I might be able to get this thing up tonight as the people at Time Warner are breaking it into segments that can be posted on YouTube, which is (apparently) much easier than trying to upload it to the Blogger system.

The link will be up as soon as possible.

Cy Slapnicka said...

so far, this is the only link i could find...