Monday, July 31, 2006

The Smoke Has Cleared

Welcome to the rest of the 2006 season as the dust has settled after the Trading Deadline has passed and the Belliard move was the last one. Now that the Belliard trade has had a chance to settle in, the performance of Luna over the last 2 months is going to determine whether this trade can be deemed a success or the addition of just another middling middle infielder.

I suppose there’s no harm in playing Luna, though it tells you that the Front Office has no intention of playing Joe Inglett on an everyday basis next year. Much in the same way that the acquisition of Big League Choo ($1 to serial poster Rodells) is an indictment of where the Indians think their upper-tier OF are (Frank the Tank and Brad Snyder who were thought to be ML-ready going into next year), the Luna addition almost certainly relegates Joe Inglett to the super-utility role next year. That role probably suits Super Joe the best, just as long as Luna proves that he can be a legitimate 2B in the Majors. We shall see…

The lineup for the opener in Beantown is a harbinger of what the rest of the season should look like:
CF Grady Sizemore
LF Jason Michaels
DH Travis Hafner
1B Victor Martinez
RF Casey Blake
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Hector Luna
C Kelly Shoppach
3B Andy Marte

Throw in the occasional inclusion of the BLC instead of Blake in RF (but instead of Shoppach in the lineup) and these are the players we’ll be evaluating. The less of Mr. Laura Cover and Dutchworth that we see can only be seen as a positive (that is unless they’re shown congratulating players in the dugout or putting a reassuring arm around the likes of Marte).

We’ll find out if any of these players can become the complementary players to the core of SuperSizemore, Le Pronque, Vic, and Jhonny or if the Indians need to look outside of the organization for those suitable complements.

If tonight’s game is any indication (albeit against a 350 lb. pitcher fresh off the DL), this lineup should be able to put up some runs. Of course, the positivity was oozing out of the Jake after the Mariners’ opener, only to have it squashed by a consistently inconsistent team.

Outside of the lineup, we can expect to see the rotation, as it stands now, finish the season intact (injuries notwithstanding) and the bullpen to remain an open audition.

Fausto Carmona would be the only reliever certain to be on the squad in 2007, though his role as the closer is no certainty. The likes of Fernando Cabrera (please can we see him in some crucial situations), Jason Davis (who has hidden Jason Dangerously from us for the last couple of outings), Rocky Betancourt, Brain Sikorski, Tom Mastny, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, and probably Andrew Brown, Brian Slocum, Jeremy Guthrie, and maybe Tony Sipp will all get a chance to show off their wares to the team in an attempt to make a good impression going into 2007.

Enjoy Spring Training 2006, Part II…the one that you don’t need a ticket to Florida to see.

Allegedly, Jason Johnson is starting for the Sawx tomorrow.
Even I'm licking my chops.


Cy Slapnicka said...

I want big bad Andrew Brown brought up and throwing gas for the big league club, pronto.

Also, I think whether or not Jhonny should still be considered part of our core is open to debate.

Baltimoran said...

Being at a bar with Boston fans last night was especially painful, not a good start for carmona the closer

nice to see sean casey go to detroit, it will be good to see him in the postseason

t-bone said...

Got this off deadspin, but interesting to look at the list of "scab" players. I didnt think I'd recognize this many names...