Sunday, December 09, 2007

Victorious Lazy Sunday

With a tremendous day of football in the books (The DiaBride is a big Packers fan and the tepee was draped in Green & Gold at 1:00 PM as the Pack was on locally prior to the Browns’ win), I’ve finally peeled myself off of the couch and stopped watching the inferior quality of the CBS football feed with the odd color scheme and the blurriness that accompanies it enough to delve into a Lazy Sunday.

As has become the case here for a while, the only Cleveland writer still offering up anything worth detailing about the Indians is…no, Livingston – you bitterman, not you…but the one, the only…Terry Pluto.

Pluto checks in with a very fair assessment of the Tigers’ off-season to this point, addressing the Florida deal and the Renteria deal. He also delves into (and clears up) some of the particulars regarding the rumored trades that were bandied about at the Winter Meetings.

According to Pluto, the Pirates were asking for MORE than Frank the Tank, Shoppach, and Lee for Jason Bay and that the Tribe’s concern about Bay’s knees had as much to do with the trade not being consummated as Pittsburgh’s exorbitant asking price. Pluto says that he would have given up Gutz or Francisco and Lee for Bay and stopped at that point. I wouldn’t have included Franky in the discussions as his departure to fill LF would create a void in RF, but I probably would have done The Frisco Kid and Lee for Bay. Of course, had Pittsburgh agreed to that, Neal Huntington would be lambasted (and rightfully so) by the local media.

Pluto also reports (though he admits that he never nailed down the exact asking price) that the Indians asked about Miguel Cabrera and were told that Frank the Tank, AstroCab, and Adam Miller was the starting point as other players would be necessary to land the Big Fish. As great as Miggy Cabrera would have looked at the Jake, creating a hole at 2B and RF (by moving two young, promising players under club control for the foreseeable future) makes the cost too high.

Truly, the beauty of what the Tigers did (while they forfeited some top prospects and eliminated a good amount of depth in their system) is that the players they sent to Florida were not being counted on to contribute in Detroit in 2008. The same cannot be said for Gutierrez and Asdrubal.

Finally, on Pluto, how is he the ONLY Cleveland writer privy to this type of information?
Are the beat writers doing what I do to find the latest Tribe rumors, clicking the “refresh” button on the MLB rumors pages online? None of them had anything of any substance throughout the whole Winter Meetings outside of what was reported nationally by the likes of Gammons and Rosenthal.

As wrong as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was in the coverage of the Bay negotiations (and by no means am I saying that fabricating stories and trade scenarios at a writer’s whim are preferable to working actual sources and dealing in reality), at least it made for good fiction and was likely based on SOME conversation the writer had with an employee of the Pirates (as outdated as the reports of the package seemed to be as they were published).

Is there a reason that Pluto seems to be the one writer in NE Ohio who has the pulse of what’s going on behind the scenes at The Jake, The Q, or Berea? Could it have anything to do that he reports what he’s told, makes his assumptions and decisions on common sense and rarely flies off the handle with the bitterness and pointed agendas that other NE Ohio writers think is their birthright?

Think about it, if you ran a professional sports franchise in town and had an opportunity to filter information to the public through the media, who would you call?
Bill Livingston?
Bud Shaw?
Tony Grossi?
Sheldon Ocker?
Jim Ingraham?
Paul Hoynes?
Mary Kay Cabot?
Branson Wright?
Or would you allow fair and respected writers like Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst in on the information, allowing them to use their talent and common sense to prepare the information for mass consumption?

Off the soapbox, the only real news of note after the Winter Meetings is that Oakland’s Dan Haren is still on the block and perhaps could be had for a package of young, under-club-contract-for-the-foreseeable-future talent.

Haren is an absolute stud, posting a 3.07 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with 192 K to 55 BB in 222 innings in 2007, so he won’t come cheap. Factor in that he’ll get paid $4M in 2008, $5.5M in 2009, and has a $6.75M club option for 2010 and he REALLY won’t come cheap.

Oakland GM Billy Beane is always looking for young, cheap talent that he can control for many years, so the Indians could perhaps have the talent necessary (Atom Miller, Aaron Laffey, etc. plus some lower-level, high-ceiling hitters) to acquire Haren to lock down the rotation and (perhaps) soften the blow if (note the if, not the when) C.C. leaves for greener pastures in 2009. Acquiring a player like Haren would seem to be much more in Shapiro’s wheelhouse as he has established himself as an elite MLB pitcher, under club control at a known number for three more years.
Obviously, nothing has been reported that the Indians are in on this (Lord knows I won’t read about it in the local fishwraps until a deal is done), but it might be something to keep an eye on going forward.

Nice little weekend here with a Browns’ win, a Packers’ win, a Marquette win over Wisconsin (again, the DiaBride is a dyed-in-the-wool Milwaukeean) and a stirring upset by the University of Dayton in Louisville.
If only it didn’t mean me putting off the Christmas lights…


Vegas Watch said...

Actually, there have been reports linking the Tribe to Haren.

rodells said...

PC, just to get back to Detroit. Yes most of those players mentioned are a bit further down the pipeline in DTown. Porcello was a steal b/c of his signability. He's a top 1-2-3 guy in that draft that went in the 20's. I'm sure he was untouchable.

But, as you said, the Tigers gave up nobody (except maybe Miller) that would be contributing this year (a testament to what Dtown has built at all levels), while the Indians would have had to give up players that are contributing (Gutierrez, etc) or are on the near doorstep (our Miller).

I still think we'll be OK, it's just gonna be tough again. Since our great run at division titles, this division has virtually changed winners every year.

rodells said...

Oh, and Haren would be nice.

Paul Cousineau said...

How far off is a guy like Porcello (who I couldn't believe the Tigers drafted and signed) from hitting Motown?

I suppose you're right that it does speak to what Detroit has built, but I guess I see their upper-level guys (Miller, Juerrjens) gone - something that could hurt them this year if injuries strike.

Of course, injuries could strike the Tribe just as easily and force the Tribe to dip even further into the farm.

It is amazing how the AL just continues to see more talent come in and stay.

Should make for another roller-coaster ride.