Friday, July 30, 2010

Clearing the Decks

With the news that Austin Kearns has joined the Yankees for what is going to be either cash or a PTBNL (not always a bad thing for the Indians), with the answer coming by August 20th, and the assertion from ESPN’s Jayson Stark that the Cardinals have narrowed their focus on one Jake Westbrook, the realization that the Indians’ roster is about to see some serious turnover has set in. While change is not necessarily a bad thing, it will be a jarring fact nonetheless to see an Indians’ team without Peralta, maybe Westbrook, and (to a lesser degree) Kearns as the team scuffles through their AL East adversaries.

With all of that in mind (and promising that more will be coming in the Lazy One), perhaps it is time to revisit something that was written here about two weeks ago as to what the Indians should be looking to accomplish in the second half:
#1) Clear the Decks
While this is sure to be portrayed as “just another Fire Sale for an organization that runs one every year” by some in the local and national media, the 2010 season was entered as a “season to build upon”, something that certainly couldn’t be said in 2008 (coming off of a ALCS appearance) and in 2009 (when the team inked Wood and traded for DeRosa). Thus, this isn’t really a Fire Sale so much as the final step in jettisoning the veterans that aren’t under contract for 2011 and don't obviously figure into next year’s plans. Think of it more as saying goodbye to the some of the last vestiges of the 2007 team that was once thought to be “headed for greatness”.

It’s a new day on the North Coast and while the “window of contention” slammed shut back in 2008, the Indians are attempting to (ever so slightly) inch that next one up with an eye past 2010…maybe even well past 2010.

Thus, the Indians should trade Westbrook, Wood, Kearns, and (if possible) Peralta and not worry as much about how much money they’ll have to include to cover the cost of the remaining salaries to see if they can get prospects that have a serious chance of making an impact instead of simply providing organizational filler. Of course, it’s possible that the market for the players that figure to be available isn’t all that great (and my TCF colleague Steve Buffum contributed to a phenomenal Trade Deadline Primer, that’s available here), but moving these players OFF of the 25-man roster could be viewed as just as important as getting something of value for them.

Wood, Kearns, and Peralta unquestionably have no future with the team and should be moved to any team willing to take on their inconsistent performances. If the Indians can pull a couple of lottery tickets in the process, so be it…but there should be nearly no trade refused for those three.

As for Jake, if you’ve been here for any amount of time, you know of my opinion that maybe the Indians really are serious about having Westbrook in the 2011 rotation, but that shouldn't affect whether they trade him as re-signing him for 2011 isn’t affected by which uniform he’s wearing on the final day of the 2010 season. Of course, there is the possibility that Westbrook simply isn’t garnering any interest on the trade market, which is why the Indians are out in front of this, putting forth the idea that Westbrook might be kept around for the remainder of the season to provide that “veteran presence” when, in fact, there simply isn’t a trade market for him.

The impetus for bringing this up comes from John Perrotto at B-Pro as he relays what the scouts (or at least one scout) are saying about Westbrook, with the scout on the record saying, “If I’m a contender, there is just no way I trade for him for the stretch run. He’s been too inconsistent. He is not the pitcher he was before he had Tommy John surgery.”

To that I say – pay no attention to this, ye who populate the Front Offices in St. Louis and Los Angeles and Cincinnati while you’re looking to add to your rotation in a push for the playoffs…

That’s said in jest, but the veterans that the Indians figure to have on the block (Westbrook, Wood, Kearns, and Peralta) aren’t necessary to this team for the second half of the season, one that should be devoted exclusively to development and with an eye to 2011 and beyond.

What kind of Trade Market exists for that quartet?
That’s hard to say as the Indians’ willingness to eat money will play a role as will recent performance (um...Austin, Jhonny...we could use a little “bump” in production about now) of each player. If the Indians are able to find dance partners (and remember, it takes two to tango in this) in the next two weeks, they should move all of these players and not give a second thought to trading all of them.


That was true two weeks ago and that is true tonight as the Indians find takers for their ancillary veterans…

Yes, this team has been painful to watch as of late (minus one “Andy Marte…Relief Pitcher”), particularly on offense and the likes of Jayson Nix/Andy Marte/Luis Valbuena and Mike Brantley may not represent much of an improvement over Kearns and Peralta.

However, it should be pointed out that Peralta had an OPS of .698 when he was traded (21st among the 23 qualified 3B in MLB) and Kearns has an OPS of .701 since May 8th over 64 games, so given the fact that neither Peralta nor Kearns was going to be around next year lends credence to the idea that the Indians should be divvying up plate appearances and time in the field to players who figure to perhaps contribute past October of this year.

Obviously, more will be coming in the Lazy One as details are known, particularly if Westbrook is dealt now that Talbot has joined Laffey on the DL, but with the Trade Deadline at 4 PM tomorrow and with Kerry Wood presumably re-joining the Indians at some point this weekend, let us remember that big picture painted above and not get caught in the web of the craziness that July 31st has become.

7 comments:

danh8 said...

Peralta has already been traded ...

Paul Cousineau said...

...which is why I re-posted a portion of the piece from two weeks ago (in italics to differentiate it) to show that the rationale for trading these guys hasn't changed in two weeks as odd as it's going to be to see them go en masse.

scotto313 said...

Unlike much of the local media, your criticism of the Tribe has been constructive. Are you pleased with the front office this season? It seems unlikely that there will be anyone left that doesn't fit into the plan past 2010.

Rockdawg said...

And now, the sweep is complete (Westbrook). I applaud all of these trades...did I spell applaud correctly?

Elia said...

Now here is an upstanding player. If the tribe needs Westbrook next year I hope he comes back. He said this in regard to lowering his trade bonus:

"Anyway I could help the Indians, I wanted to do that," said Westbrook, before leaving to catch a flight to St. Louis. "I don't feel I honored the contract with them because of my health. It was in my best interest and the Indians best interest to do something like that."

scotto313 said...

First Westbrook to STL, now Wood to NYY. Is it Sunday yet?

凱v胡倫 said...

好的開始並不代表會成功,壞的開始並不代表是失敗..................................................