Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nail in the Coffin?

The nagging elbow injury that has kept Grady Sizemore out of center field has finally landed him on the DL. He had been playing through the pain for the last couple of weeks, mostly in a DH role, but the pain had finally become too much for Grady.

Couple this with Travis Hafner's shoulder soreness lingering, Anthony Reyes and Scott Lewis both out for extended periods of time, and Aaron Laffey on the DL, and you are not looking at a team prepared to make a big pre-break turnaround.

Chris Giminez, a versatile infielder who is primarily a catcher, will take Sizemore's spot on the roster.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sad Day for Dellucci's Hoochies

Much maligned Tribe outfielder David Dellucci was designated for assignment today, clearing space to bring lefty Rafael Perez back up from Columbus.

Signed in 2007 as a righty-hitting specialist, Dellucci never managed to re-create the success he had for the Phillies in 2006, when he hit .292/.369/.530 with 13 homers in 264 ABs. This season he is hitting .275/.333/.350 with no HRs and 1 RBI in 40 appearances.

This Indians are still on the hook for the roughly $4 million owed to David, and unless a GM really has their eye on him, that is unlikely to change. There is a ten-day deadline for David to be Waived, Traded, or Released, the latter being the most likely option.

While some might question why Shapiro waited until after top-prospect Matt LaPorta was sent back down to AAA (LaPorta was in a direct competition for PT with Dellucci during his brief MLB stint), this move is a sign of Shapiro's committment to win this season, putting the best players possible on the 25 man roster and worrying about the cash later.

The Tribe are currently in 5th place, 1.5 games behind the 4th place White Sox, and 6.5 back from the 1st place Tigers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekend Comings and Goings

There were some pretty big changes in the roster this weekend.

Relief "savior" Aaron Laffey was put on the 15 day DL (oblique injury), along with Anthony Reyes. Rich Rundles and Jeremy Sowers were brought up.

It's hard to imagine this being anything less that Sowers' last shot with the team, as trade season moves closer and (one way or another) the Indians will be moving some players.

Matt LaPorta was sent to Columbus, Trevor Crowe was recalled. Probably a sign that the Tribe has a list of things to work on for LaPorta, who needs some every-day at bats to work on some holes in his swing. Crowe will probably stick around until Hafner is ready to rejoin the team, unless Delucci finds his way out the door,

No new rumors about Shapiro's attempts to trade Mark DeRosa. Only that he is looking for MLB ready starting pitching, the Mets have some interest, and the Brewers do not.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

According to John Heyman at, Tribe 1st/3rd baseman Mark DeRosa is officially on the trading block, as Mark Shapiro tries to add some pitching to get the team turned around. DeRosa, while versatile, is left without a solid position on the club, due to the shift of Peralta (who is hitting well) to third, and the Garko/Martinez holding down 1st.

While this move shows a commitment to turning around this season, it can also be viewed as a vote of confidence for LaPorta and Valbuena, in our eyes.

Now who could they get in return? What caliber of pitcher can be had for a player like DeRosa, who is having a horrible start to the year?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Random Trade Thought

With Carlos Delgado ailing, the Mets are in dire need of a 1st baseman. With David Ortiz woefully ineffective, the Red Sox need a DH.

While neither team in the Yankees, both are in the upper echelon of payrolls. Might one or the other be willing to take on a large contract, in order to fill that void, instead of giving up a top prospect?

Travis Hafner makes an average of $12 million per year, for the next 3 years. Would getting that contract off of the books be enough of a return value for the Tribe? Would either of those teams bite on that deal?

While fans might be upset initially upset about the team just giving a player away, what if that Money could be used to extend Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez's contracts? Or to sign a quality starting pitcher in the offseason? Sounds like a pretty decent option.

Lineup Changes

Giving in to the inevitable?

Finally seeing what everyone else could see?

Trying to save his job?

In addition to finally re-shuffling the infield, playing Jhonny Peralta at 3rd and Asdrubal Cabrera at short, tonight's lineup features Asdrubal Cabrera leading off. This is a role that the Chubby Indian has been saying he should have been given since last fall.

Cabrera has a solid OBP (.376 as opposed to Grady's .302), can lay down a bunt, uses the whole field while batting, and (as of the last month) is a more effective base-stealer than Grady.

Grady, in the meantime, has become almost strictly a power/pull hitter, has shown an inability to beat the spread, and has been making poor choices on the basepaths. It's clear that he's trying to take carry struggling team on his shoulders, but it's just ruining his effectiveness.

Now, if we had our way, the next move would be to put Choo in as the #2 hitter, move Grady back to #3, and put Victor back in the clean-up spot. Cabrera/Choo/Sizemore has as much potential, in terms or a rare speed/power combination, as Damon/Jeter/Rodriguez a few years back. Maybe even enough potential to force Eric Wedge into dusting off his copy of "How to Play Baseball" and open up the "run and hit" chapter.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Martinez on the Block?

From The Boston Globe:

There has been talk among scouts that the Indians might be willing to deal 29-year-old catcher/first baseman/DH Victor Martinez for young pitching. Martinez, who earns $5.7 million this season and $7 million in his option season next year, is hitting .409 with 7 homers and 25 RBIs.

We would have to rate this as pure East-Coast media hype. Victor has been the glue that holds this team together for years. All indications are that he loves playing here. Combine that with his injury history, and the Indians should be able to work out an extension at a relatively inexpensive price.

While such rumors warrant at least a response of "for the right price...", the Red Sox do not, at a first glance, have much to offer for a player of Victor's caliber. A reliable switch-hitting .300 bat with 25 HR/100 RBI power and a near 1:1 K/BB ratio in the midst of his career year, who is also a good defensive catcher and is signed cheaply through 2010 is about as valuable as you can get. Think Mark Texeira valuable; a player for whom the Rangers recieved Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Jarrod Saltamacchia.

The top prospects in Boston's system are already up at the MLB level. The only prospect in the Red Sox listed on any top-50 list is a 1st baseman, a position which the Indians already have too many potential bats. You would have to start the conversation with either John Lester, or more likely a combination of Justin Masterson and Clay Bucholtz, and then toss is a lesser arm (maybe a high-heat reliever?) and a position player.

Now a potnetial trade of Ryan Garko, on the other hand...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

First Look At David Huff?

The Chubby Indian is predicting a first appearance by 24 year old lefty David Huff, making a start on Sunday. With Jeremy Sowers sent down due to his usual ineffectiveness, Zach Jackson having just pitched on Friday night, and Aaron Laffey locked into a relief role, there aren't a lot of options. After all, the powers-that-be wouldn't honestly send us Tomo Ohka or Jack Cassel, after all the pain we have already endured in this young season, would they?

In 39.1 innings, Huff is 5-1 with a 4.35 ERA, with 32 Ks and 16 BBs. While those are not dominating numbers, he has dominated the minors for the last two seasons, and was also dominant at UCLA, and currently ranks 8th on Baseball America's list of prospects in the Indians system.

He has a make-up somewhat reminiscient of Cliff Lee, throwing a low 90's fastball with deceptive speed, mixing it in with a great changeup. While his curveball is not dominant, his slider has evolved into a great pitch, and his inflated ERA can be partially attributed to his working on that pitch.

As for who could be sent down? While many have speculated that Masa Kobayashi could be released, or that Valbuena could be sent down, here's a quote from Eric Wedge after last night's game, in regard to Jensen Lewis:

"He's throwing," Wedge said of Lewis. "I'm tired of watching him throw. He's got to pitch. He's got a lot of moxie, got a lot of guts. He has good stuff. But you've got to pitch. If you're going to make it up here, you can't miss spots by a foot or a foot and a half and expect to have success."
While Kobayashi has been a mess, and recent interviews make it sound as though he's lost all confidence, sending Lewis down to Columbus to get straightened out might make the most sense.

Unless they bring up two pitchers....