Saturday, September 16, 2006

Filling Out the Lineup Card

Watching the lineups that have been trotted out there since Pronk’s injury, it’s frustrating to see guys like Boone, Michaels, Luna, and even Blake taking plate appearances away from players that need to be evaluated for next year.

Unless the Tribe is showcasing Michaels for an off-season trade, there’s no reason for him to take time away from Choo or Gutierrez; we know what we have with Michaels – a nice 4th OF who thrives only in a platoon situation. Do Choo or Gutierrez project to be more than that? We’ll never know without seeing them in the lineup with some regularity.

We also know what we have in Luna, an IF with less range than Peralta (never have I longed to see Jhonny at SS than when Luna takes the field) who is incapable of being a starting 2B, and is an even worse option as a Utility IF.

Not that anyone’s asking me to fill out the lineup card, but this is how the lineup should look for the last 16 games of the season- ½ of which are against playoff contenders:
C – Martinez
1B – Garko
2B – Inglett
SS – Peralta
3B – Marte
RF – Gutierrez
CF – Sizemore
LF – Choo/Blake
DH – Kouzmanoff

Kouzmanoff would rotate at DH with Blake, and Martinez/Garko when Shoppach catches so Victor’s legs don’t fall off.

That should be it.

Tell Michaels that you need to evaluate some of these young players and that you are aware of what Michaels brings to the table, other than his perpetually wet hair.

Tell Boone that you appreciate his professionalism and the influence that he’s had on this young team. Thank him for his time here in Cleveland and tell him to enjoy his lovely wife in the off-season.

Tell Blake that he hasn’t been the same since he came off of the DL and that he’s not going to play every day so he doesn’t overcompensate for his aches and pains during the remainder of the season, allowing him to keep his 2006 season a positive one to build on.

Tell Luna to take that frying pan that he calls a glove and make some crepes for the team.

The role of spoiler takes you only so far and evaluating players in Spring Training is far less productive than putting young players in game situations, particularly against teams like the Twins, White Sox, and the A’s – all of whom are still fighting for their playoff lives.

By the way, if you’re looking for Paul Byrd on a Saturday morning, he’s at First Watch at Crocker Park. His Lexus SUV is parked right next to Carl Monday, on his way out of Trader Joe’s with a case of wine.

Just in case you were wondering.

No comments: