Saturday, March 25, 2006

Heading to Buffalo

With the announcement of Andy Marte, Ryan Garko, and Franklin Gutierrez being sent to Buffalo (along with Lou Merloni, Jose Flores, and Ben Howard being sent to minor-league camp), the roster stands at 32 with 7 more players to be cut to hit that magic 25 number.

Marte, Garko, and Gutierrez all being sent down certainly isn’t a surprise as that has been the stance of the Front Office since Day 1 of Spring Training, but the three represent a rarity in baseball. They represent viable options (Marte and Garko more than Gutierrez right now) to be called up to the Major League team to contribute. That they happen to play the same positions as the players who underperformed last year is astounding.

This group of “not-ready-for-primetime-players” (says the Front Office) may share more in common than that first group of performers at Saturday Night Live, who went by the same name, than you would think. All of the players are talented, and may be more talented than what is currently showing in “primetime”. They just lack the chance to do so, and should be more than ready when the call comes to play in the Majors.

The one explanation that Shapiro gave, specifically about Marte, but it could apply to the other 2 as well, is that Marte had never started a season in cold-weather and some players have trouble adjusting to the climate change, causing slumps at the beginning of the season. Shapiro’s logic is that he’d rather have these players start out in Buffalo to work out the kinks, without the glare, attention, and expectations of starting for the Indians on Opening Day. That argument holds some water, as an early-season slump in Cleveland would do more to damage a players’ confidence than one in Buffalo; but it also seems to infer that these players (Marte and Garko, specifically) will get the call pretty quickly in the chance that Boone or Broussard starts the season poorly.

The comment from the PD that I love this morning is from Grady Sizemore, who told Garko to “go down there and just blow everything up”. Do you think that the similarities of Grady’s situation of last year to Garko’s of this year are lost on the young CF? Grady came into camp last year, did everything that was asked of him to make the team, and was the last guy sent out of camp because of the Juan Gonzalez Experiment. Luckily for all of us, Gonzo's rubber band hamstrings forced Grady back onto the club in time for Opening Day.

Garko came in this year and proved that he was adequate defensively, while continuing to hit consistently. Grady, who some would argue is one of the leaders of the club at 23, has to see that the Indians may be better off with Garko at 1B and the comment would seem to indicate that Grady wants Garko to force the organization to make a decision sooner rather than later. Or it could just be a clich├ęd quote for the paper.

There is no denying Garko’s comment that the Front Office told him he could be a “championship-caliber 1B”. Hmmm…with the Indians meant to contend for the Central (at least) this year, do you think that Shapiro is saying the same thing to the two-headed monster of Broussard and Perez?


Rockdawg said...

Easy on the Coldplay bashing, they are a fine group with great songs.

PTC, I gave your email to an employee of the Tribe, and he said he would put it on the official Idians "press release" email list, if you're not already on it.

The Piedmont Middle School baseball team, coached by yours truly, is 3-0 with a combined score of 40-5 in those games...Look out Wedgie, here I come!!

Cy Slapnicka said...

Wow, I didn't realize Buffalo was 80F and sunny in April?!? Seriously though, Garko played at Stanford and the past two years started his seasons in Akron and Buffalo. None of those locations are exactly Spring Break destinations this time of year.

I can see it with Marte, as he's spent all his minor league seasons below the Mason-Dixie line. However Franklin and Garko-my-god-did-how-far-he-hit-that have started their last few seasons worrying about lake effect snow.

That being said, I will not be a hypocrite and question Shapiro as I slurp his Kool Aid out of my pimp juice chalice.

Paul Cousineau said...

I did start getting those Press Releases about a day early. Thanks. Although the site doesn't generally "break" the big news, it sure doesn't hurt.

Leave me alone with the Garko thing, the idea is to let Garko get into a groove in Buffalo so WHEN he comes up, he'll already be mashing.

Baltimoran said...

it was clear that PTC implied the weather could cause a slump either place, but it would be a lot easier to deal with in the minors.

you need to coach with the "Tank" philosophy, find one pitcher only (refuse to even consider other canidates) and make sure that he ruins his shoulder/arm to the point that it ends his baseball career and leaves him with a popped out vein for the rest of his life. you might want to insult your right fielder's haircut before you break his nose too.

after this spring, i'd be ready to trade Jason Johnson now and bring up one of the young guns

Cy Slapnicka said...

A. I cannot spell.

B. I read the whole post.

C. Benny's earned nothing. Garko's mashing now. While I will wait patiently for Garko to hit the show, I don't think the weather will slow his rise. At some point you have to baptise a few by fire. I'd rather them work out the kinks in April than in September like last year.