Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tribe starts holiday shopping

The Indians placed the first check on their holiday shopping list today, signing Japanese reliever Masahide Kobayashi.

Having no access to the Japanese league on my DirecTV, I can't really tell you any more about him than what you can read in the story on the Tribe's Web site.

I do know the Tribe site is already offering you the chance to "customize a Kobayashi jersey," so you'll want to run right out and do that at $200 a pop or so, I'm sure.

He's been a closer for most of his career with the Chiba Lotte (can you buy one of those at Starbucks?) Marines of the Japanese Pacific League, has at least 20 saves in each of the past seven years, has an 89-91 mph fastball and a good cutter (or so they say). His lifetime ERA in Japan is 2.79.

The Tribe isn't saying what they plan for Kobayashi, except to say they will use him in the back of the bullpen.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think he's being brought in to replace JoBo as the closer, though I do believe he is being brought in as an insurance policy in case Borowski falls off that tightrope he walked all last season or if JoBo or one of the other late-inning mainstays has a down year after being used to death deep into the playoffs.

Even If everybody pitches up to snuff, it's still great to have another solid arm at the back end of the pen, as we found out this year the deeper the Tribe got into the post-season.

Now, about that left field situation.

Depending on what you read and where, Torii Hunter is all but signed and sealed for the White Sox, or he is not. If they were to add Hunter in center along with the acquisition of Orlando Cabrera at short and a possible move of Juan Uribe to second, the Sox would be very strong up the middle - both on offense and defense.
However, they have a three-deep rotation right now. The plan for the Sox this winter is to go back to the pitching-defense approach that got them a World Series title in 2005. So far they seem to be getting the defense part right.

There was some talk that the Rays might be interested in Uribe, but maybe not so much.

And there's also word that the Sox are still in on the Miguel Cabrera sweepstakes.


moose said...

isnt kobayashi the "HOT DOG" eating champ

Steve J. Rogers said...

Will he be as good as Isuro Tanaka was for the Tribe?


Anonymous said...

hunter to angels - thats a good thing for the tribe

the moose