Sunday, September 24, 2006

Long Lazy Sunday

With the inexplicable 4PM start time (in Cleveland, no less) for the Ravens’ game, it’s time for an extended Lazy Sunday:

In lieu of Terry Pluto’s regular Sunday column, here’s his newsletter, Direct from Pluto, which discusses the whipping boy du jour, Jhonny Peralta.

This whole Peralta thing has become difficult to watch, in that Wedge has taken his frustration public and suddenly, Peralta has become the poster boy for what has gone wrong with the 2006 Tribe.

Has he been a disappointment? Sure, but let’s take a an overview here:
Is this not the same player who was 2nd in OPS for all SS last year, 2nd only to Miguel Tejada?

Is this not the same player who was the International League MVP in 2005 at age 22, then set the Tribe single season HR record at age 23, batting 3rd?

Isn’t he still 24 years old, and in his 2nd full season in the Majors?

Is there no leeway for pitchers adjusting to Peralta’s tendencies? It’s up to Peralta now to make the adjustments to thrive again, but why is everyone so certain that he won’t?

A lot of the frustration with Peralta has to do with his demeanor, or the look on his face that he simply doesn’t care or isn’t trying. Is it Peralta’s fault that he has an even demeanor and heavy eyelids? When other players keep an even keel, they’re seen as calm and in control, yet with Peralta, even his own team bashes him.

It’s true that this public display of frustration may be a motivational tactic for a coaching staff that may be running out of ideas, but to give up on Peralta at this point would be absolutely asinine.

Peralta’s defensive deficiencies have been magnified by the fact that he’s played with Aaron Boone, a less mobile Ronnie Belliard, Joe Inglett, and Hector Lunesta around him. We’re not talking about Robby Alomar and Matt Williams here.
Is it a coincidence that his 40 game errorless streak coincided with the arrival of a better defensive 3B in Andy Marte?
Give Peralta a DP partner that can turn the DP quickly and cover more ground and his defense becomes solid, if not spectacular, as it was last year.

It’s often been said that players have trouble leaving their difficulties in the field, and not taking them into the batter’s box. Perhaps that’s true of Peralta, whose defensive lapses and lack of confidence in the field could have affected his performance at the plate.

Bottom line, as long as Peralta understands that he’s being counted on for a rebound year for 2007, to prove that 2006 was the aberration, not 2005 – let’s allow this young player continue to develop without running him out of town before his confidence is shattered beyond salvation or only to watch him continue his maturation as a player elsewhere.

Elsewhere, Socker takes a look at where the Tribe rookies fit in for next year, concluding that some may be trade bait for veteran players.
But who? Isn’t this what everyone remembers about John Hart (rather than his building a championship-caliber team) – Giles for Rincon? Indians fans can’t have it both ways, they complain that there’s no home-grown talent (which is laughable – Sabathia, Sowers, Martinez, Peralta) and that the organization is unwilling to part with prospects in a move for a veteran (which has some merit, until you consider that other teams aren’t willing to part with regular contributors for young players off of the scrap heap).

Look at what the Red Sox did this past off-season, acquiring Josh Beckett. The move was heralded as being Boston’s masterstroke, that the one-two punch of Schilling and Beckett would be unstoppable. Um, except that they gave up Hanley Ramirez, and are now devoid of middle infielders, and Aribal Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter.

The point is that these moves are a crapshoot, you may think that you’re fleecing another team, getting much more than you give up, only to have that trade look dreadful in 20/20 hindsight.

The Indians do have some prospects, but the ones that other teams truly covet (Miller, Lofgren, Crowe) are the kind of players that you hate to give up on for two reasons. One, you hate to see your home-grown talent develop elsewhere (ask the Nationals if they’d like Lee and Sizemore in Washington), and two, those young players are under your control, at a manageable salary, for multiple years. So, when these deals get made, you either have to bring in an absolute stud, or you have to trade from depth so it doesn’t affect you long-term plans.

That is, unless you can get someone to bite on a tantalizing package of Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Davis, and Hector Luna for a regular contributor at 2B or in the OF.

Andy Call weighs in on Jason Michaels and his role for 2007. The fact that the Indians haven’t definitively said, “this is one of our guys going into next year” doesn’t bode well for Wet Haired One.

Ken Rosenthal examines the 2007 FA starting pitching class, wondering what player will be vastly overvalued and overpaid. It’s a great piece, pointing out the lack of quality starting pitching in the Majors and teams’ willingness to overpay for it.

Next time that you think that the Indians are in a lot of trouble for next year, read the piece and realize that those players (Cory Lidle, Ted Lilly, etc.) are going to be signed by a rival team to compete with the Tribe rotation. The Indians’ rotation is not a lock-down unit, but I’m glad that we don’t have to think about what Vincente Padilla or Jason Marquis is worth in the off-season.

Another thing about the Rosenthal piece, Miguel Batista is a name that has been forgotten as a potential closer, because of the fact that he started in Arizona this past year. However, 2 years ago, he saved 31 of 39 games for Toronto. Don’t be surprised if this is the “out-of-the-box” thinking that is going around the Tribe offices.

One final thought on the Rosenthal piece, do you think that Jake Westbrook’s agent reads something like that and absolutely salivates? Compare Westbrook to any of those guys, most of whom will likely get 2 to 3 year deals worth between $5M and $8M (yes, $8M) a year. Say what you will about Westbrook (too many hits, not dominant stuff), but he consistently takes the ball every fifth day and keeps the team in the game. With a solid infield defense around him, he could approach Brandon Webb numbers (not match, approach) in that both are sinkerballers who pitch to contact.

For as much grief as I gave Jake at the beginning of the season, I’ll take a serving of crow and say that Westbrook is (at worst) the #3 starter in this rotation and should be considered this off-season for an extension. Think about it this way, both Byrd and Westbrook will be FA at the end of 2007, is there anyone who prefers Byrd? How about Westbrook and Five-And-Fly Cliff Lee?

Finally, for the sake of serial poster, the Baltimoran, who teaches 12 and 13-year olds who are past the “at-risk” stage in their lives in Greater B-more, let’s all hope that the Browns can take out the Ravens.
Otherwise, it'll be another “case of the Mondays” in Maryland.


Cy Slapnicka said...

I am torn now. Some good plays by Bray-Bray and he's trying to keep Winslow in check....and Winslow is trying my patience by acting like such a douche.

Cy Slapnicka said...

well wasn't that depressing? have fun at school tomorrow bax.

and as far as peralta goes, i don't mind the abuse he's taking. i'm just glad to see some fire coming from the bad there are like 6 games left.

Cy Slapnicka said...

wow, not sure if anyone has seen, but the tribe has agreed to move their spring training home back to phoenix.

Baltimoran said... least it was close. i like winslow's attitude, at least he gives a crap...unlike peralta with his sleepy eyes and fat face. actually i agree that giving up on fat face would be a mistake and I think pluto has the right idea in moving him to 2nd.
at halftime, i was planning on busting out my browns least i don't have to wear a tie now.

Paul Cousineau said...

Is it sad that I'm not that disappointed because the Browns ALMOST won?

Talk about lowered expectations.

I am considering getting a Frye jersey as the Willy Green jersey made its way to Purple Hearts last week.

I'll hold off so as not to curse Charlie, whose going to be awfully sore tomorrow.

Baltimoran said...

it is more my colleagues that will be "at risk" for being punched in the face when the smack-talking begins at around 7:10 tomorrow; the students, i've learned to accept it from after the ravens won the superbowl my first year here.

t-bone said...

well if there's one thing to look forward to in 2007, it's a 4pm Friday home opener!

check the official wahoo site, as they released the tentative 2007 schedule today...