Tuesday, December 4, 2007

UGH!! Cabrera, D-Train headed for Motown; Also: Cliff Lee: 'pitch me or trade me'

By taking just one step forward (signing Japanese reliever Masa Kobayashi) the Tribe appears to be taking a big step backward this off-season.

That's because it looks like the Tigers are putting all their chips on 2008 - and the pot is sweet indeed.

The latest word is the Tigers have a deal in place with the Marlins to acquire 3B Miguel Cabrera and starter Dontrelle Willis for promising starter Andrew Miller, top-rated young outfielder Cameron Maybin and four other prospects.

The deal would clean out the Tigers' farm system, but wow what a big-league club they would have.

Having already acquired Edgar Rnteria to play short (a move to allow Carlos Guillen to 1B full-time), and Jacque Jones to platoon in left field, the Tigers today are making a huge "now's-the-time" move here.

If the move is made, here's their everyday lineup:

C Pudge Rodriguez
1B Carlos Guillen
2B Placido Polanco
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Miguel Cabrera
LF Jones/Thames
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Magglio Ordonez
DH Gary Sheffield

Do you see an 'out' in that lineup? - because I don't.

In giving up Miller, and Jair Jurrjens in an earlier deal, the Tigers may be digging themselves a pitching hole about three years from now, but at the moment they're pretty well set in the starting rotation.

Jeremy Bonderman
Justin Verlander
Dontrelle Willis
Kenny Rogers
Nate Robertson

Chad Durbin/Denny Bautistsa (just picked up today) would be in the hole.

It's not the 1971 Orioles - there is probably one possible 20-game winner rather than four - but with that lineup this rotation is more than good enough.

The bullpen is still somewhat of a mess, but if Joel Zumaya is able to make it back fresh and healthy in the second half, that would be a big boost for the Tiges (as Ernie Harwell used to call them).

For now, if I'm the Tribe, I looking to spend a little of that excess at starting pitcher to get myself a real left fielder.

You can say that you can't let what others do dictate your own actions, but sometime you have to bend to that notion. This may be one of those times.

The Twins are loading up too, but with young guys - unless they end up settling for Coco Crisp in a Santana deal. We'll take a look at their active off-season if/when one of the 87 rumored Santana deals gets done.


Cliff Lee's agent says the Tribe lefty wants to be a starter for the Cleveland Indians. If not, he wants to be gone.

"Cliff's preference is to be one of the five starting pitchers for the Cleveland Indians," said Darek Braunecker. "If that's not the case, he wants to be one of the five starting pitchers for somebody else." -- from the Plain Dealer Web site.

The New York Post reported today that the Tribe was trying to get Alex Rios from Toronto, with Lee part of the package. But the Indians have debunked that. Of course he was also rumored to be part of a deal for Jason Bay, but that just made no sense for the Pirates. And there continues to be talk of a deal with Seattle involving Raul Ibanez and Lee. But there's nothing to that either, the Indians have told the PD.

Then there's this rumor that popped up today: Lee to the Cardnals for Anthony Reyes a/or catching prospect Brian Anderson. (click the link and then scroll down to 4:13 p.m.).

The only way the Anderson part of that makes any sense is if the Indians have plan to trade Kelly Shoppach.

In 20 starts and 22 overall appearances with the Cards last year Reyes was 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP

Uh, no thanks!!!!


Anonymous said...

This is not good news for the rest of the division. Only left field is something less than "plus" for the Tigers (I'm no fan of Jones or Thames, but they might be one decent player combined), and their pitching is tough. Everybody else but the Tigers should set their goal as the wild card...

Ron Vallo said...

reading my tea leaves, if you are the `annonymous' I think you are, you are a White Sox fan, so I can see why this trade would make you feel hopelessly behind.

As a Tribe fan, I think we still have the better pitching than Detroit and, with a decent trade, could cut the gap at least a little bit on offense.

Still, this is a dark day.

Anonymous said...

You are a wise reader of the leaves, Ron!

I don't think the Indians are that far off Detroit's talent level, at least in terms of pitching -- we agree there. Trying to sort out who on each team had a career year and who can be counted on to post similar numbers again is where the guess work comes in, and I guess at this point I'm more sold on the Tigers' pitching as a "given" than the Tribe's. Can Fausto replicate 2007? Which Jake will show up? Can the relievers do it again in 2008 ? (Good response: Whose bullpen can have two consecutive good seasons? It doesn't happen often.) You might be right that the Tribe is close; I just don't see it right now.