Saturday, September 09, 2006

Work in Progress

The way that this team has handled itself offensively in recent games (particularly with Pronk sidelined) make me wonder if the Indians truly do need to add that “big bat” that everyone’s talked about.

If Garko-my-God-did-you-see-how-far-he-hit-that can fill the role of a run producer in the middle of the lineup (I am aware that he has 103 CAREER AB’s), it allows the Indians the flexibility to utilize their in-house talent to fill holes for next season rather than throwing money at an overpriced 1B or OF. Garko’s approach and confidence at the plate, as well as the early results, bode well for the bottom line and prudent use of salary distribution for next year.

A well balanced, if young, lineup could allow the Indians to sink some money into their bullpen (which last night’s rendition of Perez, Sikorski, Lara, Brown, and Mastny – in a game they could have won – again proved it needs some major work) as well as adding some years to the contracts of Le Pronque and (hopefully) the Crooked Cap.

Maybe a part of that well-balanced lineup is a platoon in LF. Take a look at these numbers and let me know if we should get Ollie Stone on the horn:
Choo vs. LH
.294 BA/.333 OBP/.294 SLG/.627 OPS
Michaels vs. LH
.309 BA/.369 OBP/.480 SLG/.849 OPS

Choo vs. RH
.310 BA/.396 OBP/.524 SLG/.920 OPS
Michaels vs. RH
.247 BA/.300 OBP/.350 SLG/.650 OPS
Michaels and Choo may never prove to be everyday players, but their cumulative productivity could certainly fit the label of “role player” that complements that “core” that we hear so much about.

Where Casey Blake best fits into the well-balanced lineup (as a RF or as a Super Utility guy) is still an answer that needs to be answered.

I don’t think that Joe Inglett is a great answer at 2B, but he’s at least a solid Utility IF. That’s more than can be said for Hector Luna, who has done nothing in an Indians uniform thus far, except for justifying the Indians’ decision to expose him in the Rule 5 draft a few years ago.

If the Tribe should add anything on offense, maybe they should look more closely at upgrading the 2B position - or the SS position if Jhonny is seen by the Front Office as a defensive liability there.

Of course, if Trevor Crowe is close enough to the Bigs that he’s looking like a 2007 mid-season call-up, do you want to lock up a guy like Ray Durham (or someone of his ilk), which would require a multi-year commitment? Crowe’s performance at 2B in the Arizona Fall League may answer that question, as Crowe could move into LF if his infield defense is Luna-esque.

The questions are starting to be answered, and the process is entertaining enough to keep things interesting as the Indians make their Drive to 82, and a season over .500.

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