Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lazy Sunday in Print

With the Indians rolling up victories (while Jenny Lew racks up saves) on their way to 3rd place and my dad calling while I was still sleeping this morning to tell me that my name and this site appeared in the PD via a mention by Terry Pluto, let’s get right to it and hit “all the news that’s fit to link” on a Lazy Sunday:

As pointed out, Terry Pluto gives a quick hat tip to yours truly (specifically the Huff piece from a few days ago) in addition to hitting on topics ranging from the infield situation for 2009, where Kelly Show Pack fits in, and what help may be en route from the farm.

One piece of conjecture that Pluto puts out there is that he thinks that the PTBNL in the CC deal will be OF Michael Brantley, a 21-year-old speedster with a high OBP and the look of a potential leadoff hitter. With the two other notable names that have been thrown out there being 3B/2B Taylor Green (who would admittedly fill more of an organizational need, assuming he can make the transition to 2B) and C Matthew LuCroy (who is around the same level of advancement at the same position as newly acquired Carlos Santana…who I’ll get to soon), I have to agree that I hope that Brantley is the pick.

Detractors have pointed to his lack of power and his suspect arm in LF, but given his age (and the fact that power is often the last “skill set” to develop) and the fact that the team has won with Coco and The Looch lobbing balls in from LF, I don’t think that they’re major concerns. All told, Brantley’s positives (OBP, youth, speed) outweigh the negatives (lack of power, arm) to the point that the Indians should lean in that direction to give them what they thought they were getting with Trevor Crowe when they drafted him in 2005…you know, before he became the soon-to-be-25-year-old with all of 111 AB above AA and a career minor league OPS of .747.

Anywho, great stuff as usual from Terry, who should be expecting that check in the mail any day now.

Outside of the category of articles that mention me by name, Ken Rosenthal hits on some very pertinent Tribe topics including CC’s unbelievable pitch counts in the Cream City and what the Tribe may be targeting in terms of arms, in addition to a bit on Grady’s ascension to a leadership role. Most interesting is his take on some potential bullpen arms and how some internal parts might fit in 2009:
“Francisco Rodriguez will be out of the Indians' price range. Kerry Wood likely will stay with the Cubs. But look for the Indians to make runs at virtually every other closer on the market this offseason, from Brian Fuentes to Brandon Lyon to Rafael Soriano.

Class AAA right-hander Adam Miller almost certainly will open the season in the Indians' bullpen if he is healthy, but the Tribe will need to add at least one veteran reliever and maybe more. They also will need to use an internal option such as left-hander Zach Jackson or righty Anthony Reyes in their rotation until right-hander Jake Westbrook returns in the second half from Tommy John surgery.

Class AAA left-hander David Huff is another pitcher who could figure into the Indians' plans. The Yankees planned to take Huff ahead of Joba Chamberlain in the sandwich round of the 2006 draft, but the Indians grabbed the lefty first. Huff is a combined 10-5 with a 2.39 ERA at Class AA and AAA, with 135 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 135 2/3 innings.”

Hard to argue with the line of thinking on the bullpen and it isn’t anything too new, though a guy like a Fuentes figures to be in line for a decent payday as well as he falls behind K-Rod in terms of available closers and the teams that miss on K-Rod could have Fuentes as their fallback option, meaning he could get too expensive for the type of pitcher he is. A player like Lyon would fit more into what I see the Tribe targeting, a pitcher with closing experience, but one that has also filled multiple roles in the bullpen, in the off chance that an internal answer at closer emerges.

As for Rosenthal’s thoughts that The Zach Attack or Rey-Rey is going to simply hold a spot for Westbrook, I would have to say that Reyes (more so than Jackson) figures into the rotation independent of Westbrook and that an external arm is still necessary to augment the rotation and the arms looking to slide into that 2009 rotation.

To that end, another topic that Rosenthal touches on in the same piece is Ryan Dempster, who some thought could be a target for the Indians this offseason as a starter. Rosenthal pegs re-signing Dempster as the Cubs’ top offseason priority, a thought echoed by my future brother-in-law (whose bachelor party was the reason that the trip to Vegas was “in the cards” a couple of weekends ago) when I asked him for his opinion on the topic.

For those who don’t remember (and really, why would you), my future brother-in-law is a mildly obsessed Cubs fan who correctly predicted that the North Siders didn’t have the ammo to net CC some time ago. Anywho, here are my future brother-in-law’s thoughts on Dempster:
“With Dempster, he is definitely going to want to stay as a starter. At one point last year, Lou mentioned putting him in the rotation very soon. He got really excited in front of the media and wanted to do it ASAP. Lou decided that they wouldn't do it mid-season. Smart idea by Lou.

They told him in the offseason that they wouldn't guarantee him a rotation spot but that he could compete for one. He was ready to go from day one this spring. Lost some weight and stretched his arm out. I am sure that being a free agent season didn't hurt.

I don't know how much money he will demand but I think it will be substantial. I could see 4 years, $70 mil but that is a complete guess. Big teams are going to have money to spend this year and they will want to spend it on pitching. The tough thing is that this is his first year back as a starter. The Cubs will want to sign him but might have ownership issues and might want to put the Shark (Jeff Samardzija) in the rotation. The other factor is how far they will go this year. He has been their best starting pitcher by the numbers this year including Z. He will be high on the free agent list.

His public comments are that he wants to come back to Chicago. He has a sense of loyalty to them because they signed him while he was out with Tommy John surgery, put him in the closer role and then gave him the shot at the rotation.”

So…um, scratch Dempster off the wish list.

Back to Kenny Rosenthal (who is really coming correct and in full effect this week), who floats this balloon out there in a separate piece discussing the moves that the Dodgers made, and specifically Kinston C Carlos Santana:
“Some with the Indians, however, view Santana as an even better prospect than Class AA outfielder Matt LaPorta, the marquee player that Cleveland received in the CC Sabathia trade. Quality catchers are scarce. If the Dodgers had kept Santana, they could have used him in a bigger deal later or eventually moved Martin to third base.”
How could that be, you say…LaPorta has a nickname contest already happening for him, with WangBanger leading in the clubhouse?

How about the fact that Santana’s actually IMPROVED on those video game numbers that Santana put up in the Dodgers’ organization while in Kinston? Single A-ball is a long way from MLB, but 109 RBI in 121 games is mighty impressive…even if you don’t think much of RBI as a quantitative stat.

If that doesn’t scratch your itch, how about the fact that he’s posted a cumulative 1.001 OPS this year, good enough to put him in some pretty rarified air among players his age at his level as Matt Wieters, who appears a few notches above Santana on the list and has since moved up to AA, will likely be a Top 5 prospect…in all of baseball.

Elsewhere, ESPN’s Amy Nelson (who you might remember was the media member texting the Hefty Lefty after his trade) has an interesting and insightful piece on C.P. Lee. It focuses on last year compared to this year and how Lee’s attitude has remained unchanged, if the results have changed wildly.

Isn’t it amazing how success can turn a guy from a perceived hothead (fighting with Victor, doffing his cap in his final outing last year) and someone that most everyone was ready to write off (including me) into a fiery competitor and someone who just wants to win. Lee’s demeanor hasn’t changed, but his pitching sure has…along with the fickle winds of public perception.

Finally, some great news for one of my favorite sports writers, Joe Posnanski, who is having his brilliant blog picked up by which (you will learn when you read the great piece) brings him full circle in his burgeoning career.

Look out Detroit, Tribe’s on a warpath…and that brass (or would that be bronze?) ring of 3rd place is in our reach!


Rockdawg said...

It must feel awesome to know that the best major Cleveland sports journalist (by far) is reading your blog. Kudos PTC, you are know OFFICIALLY a major playa!!! (As if you weren't already)

Terry is no dummy...He knows good insight when he sees it.

We're coming for you Tigers! .500, you're next.

T said...

DUDE....Congrats...I see more TV work coming your way!

Cy Slapnicka said...

now all you need is livingston or ocker to criticize you, and you'll have officially made it!

t-bone said...

a belated CONGRATS... but i'll pass on lyon. he's single handedly submarining my attempt at a fantasy championship!

KonstrucktaTribe said...

There is only one thing to the whole f'n thing. I don't know everyone we can still dream can't we.

Art McGregor said...

The '08 Tribe are "Olympic champions."

(I'll take what I can get.)

They went 13-3 from 8.8.08 through this past Sunday.

No other MLB team had a better record during that time.

The Tribe's the real redeem team! ;)