Monday, July 23, 2007

A Laffey matter

The rumor mill is running on overdrive today.

A Triple-A pitcher gets pulled very early from a start yesterday in Buffalo, and today some in the blogosphere have Cliff Lee packing his bags.

The scenario goes something like this.

Buffalo starter Aaron Laffey gets pulled from his start Sunday after 48 pitches - in the second inning with the game tied at 1 and having given up only two hits to go with five strikeouts.

Today's account in the Buffalo News indicated that Laffey's locker "looked to be in the process of a major cleanout."

Bison manager Torry Lovullo said the 50-pitch limit was imposed by the Indians - unusual for a starter - and that it had been imposed sometime between Laffey's scheduled start Saturday (which was postponed) and his cameo appearance on Sunday.

According to the News, Laffey said Lovullo told him when taking him out of the game that "there's a situation going on right now."
So where does a Cliff Lee trade come in? In what is probably the stretch of the year at this point, some in the blogosphere have deduced that since the change in plans for Laffey occurred sometime Saturday night or Sunday, and the Lee-Victor Martinez altercation happened Saturday night, then it just must be the case that Lee is on his way out in a trade and Laffey is about to take his place in the rotation.

The Plain Dealer reported this morning that the Tribe explained away Laffey's aborted outing by saying he was pulled after pitching 48 pitches on Sunday because he had already warmed up prior to Saturday's postponement in Buffalo and the Indians didn't want to tax his arm.

But The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington, in a blog post today, says the Tribe's explanation for Laffey's early departure doesn't hold up.

"Indians officials were putting all kinds of bizarre spin on Laffey Sunday night in Texas. They said he was pulled in the third inning because of normal pitch-count limitations (wrong -- he thew just 48 pitches and average 98 his last eight starts!). Then they said the Bisons needed him for another doubleheader (silly because the next one is tonight). Then they said he was pulled because he had already warmed up before Saturday night's postponement (strike three -- no one warmed up Saturday)." --Inside Pitch

While it seems clear something was, or is, in the works with Laffey and a promotion to the big club, the conclusion-jumping on the Internet today is not only far-fetched but irresponsible.

I suppose you can stretch it farther to say that Houston's Roy Oswalt was hurt in his last outing over the weekend, so the obvious destitantion for Lee is Houston. And, of course, the obvious booty in return for Lee is Brad Lidge.

Bloggers have, in their brief history, broken a number of news stories and shed light on big stories the mainstream media either missed or chose to ignore. But they've also run irresponsibly wild at times, and this seems to be one of those times.

By the way, if Laffey is headed to Cleveland, whatver the circumstances, he's currently 7-3 with a 3.24 ERA after 11 starts at Buffalo. He started the year in Akron, where he was 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts. He's a 22-year-old lefty.
We've put up a new Tribe Fan Poll today. Let us know where you think the Indains trading deadline priorities should be. Comment at the link below, or vote to your right. Or both!

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