Monday, April 7, 2008

Silent Tribe offense should have Shapiro talking

The Tribe's offensive woes in the early going have been well-documented.

Six runs over the last four games (three of them losses) against three guys named Moe and one named Joe. Blanton that is.

In yesterday's win, the Tribe scored its two runs on a booted double-play ball and a bases-loaded walk,

All that after the Tribe scored 17 runs in the first two games of the season.

It's no coincidence that the offensive nosedive coincided (all right it was off by one day) with the sidelining of Victor Martinez, the Tribe's cleanup hitter.

In the five days that Victor has missed, manager Eric Wedge has used five different lineups - three of them with Jhonny Peralta batting third. That didn't work out so well.

In one of those games, the left-field platoon of Jason Michaels and David Dellucci hit third.

What is this, 2003?

Your doctor advises you to heed early warnings signs.

Tribe GM Mark Shapiro should consider this an early warning sign.

There is not enough offense on this team, with or without Victor.

Victor is by far the Tribe's most productive and consistent hitter, But even if the injury bug doesn't bite him again this year (an iffy proposition for a catcher) he will have his periods where he can't hit a lick. Everybody does.

Clearly there's not enough punch on this squad to overcome slumps or injuries.

Franklin Gutierrez, after going 3-3 on Opening Day, is 0-for15. (Not coincidentally he joined my fantasy team the day after Opening Day, so I have him at 0-15).

I think Gutierrez will come around, but what if this is his adjustment year? What if it takes a while to make those adjustments?

Andy Marte, both in the field and at the plate, showed yesterday why he is destined to be a never-will-be. He was slow in the field and managed one sickly single.

But the real problem -- the place where a major upgrade is needed -- is left field.

The Dispeptic Duo is 0-for-16 while sharing left field this year, although Michaels did go 1-for-4 subbing for Gutierrez in right field yesterday.

At their peaks, Michaels and Delucci are mediocre at best. Neither is playing, or has in the recent past, played anywhere near their peak.

Despite a recent flurry of passed balls and wild pitches, and a quiet stick for the most part, I'm still glad the Tribe held on to Kelly Shoppach. A solid backup catcher is a necessity.

But it's clear to me it's time to surrender some of the Tribe's minor-league depth to improve the offense on the big club.

We could wait for the journeymen in left to wear out their welcome and hope Ben Francisco and Shin-Soo Choo can do better in their place. But in that case, the Tribe will be relying on three untested players to carry two-thirds of the outfield load.

Not too many teams are in the trade market right now as they wait for their teams to shake out and size up their needs.

But Shapiro should be beating every bush and upending every stone to find somebody who can contribute something out of the left field position.

If the price of a veteran with a real bat is too rich for Shapiro's blood, than it's time to bring up Francisco and let the chips fall where they may.


Anonymous said...

right on ron !!!!

agree with everything

offense is putrid - too much badball swinging - maybe the tigers will trade with tribe

BW in Cleveland said...

Ron, I agree and have been saying this for years. While pundints such as Munch and other Cleveland sportscasters give the retort, "did we not get to game 7 of the ALCS last year", thats a completely blind arguement. This team has holes everywhere as far as where typical productivity should come from. We have lacked talent in the outfield since Manny left.

Its not just good pitching that wins championships, its pitching and competent hitting IE the Red Sox 2 of the last 4 years. As far as Im concerned, Dellichaels situation aside, Gutz is holding a spot until Nick Welgarz is ready to play which is going to be sooner rather than later. The problem the indians and fans face is that, given our financial makeup, management simply will not dish out that big contract that every power hitting outfielder is asking for now adays. Look at the contract Alex Rios just signed. The John Hart days are over: if we dont start getting more bang for our buck on prospects our hitting woes will continue. The good thing is, Shapiro and our scouts have kept the wheels churning on pitching, starters and relief alike. As long as that cog is in place, we will be competitive for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

moose said

when do we get rid of blowowski