Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is it time to start thinking about punting on this season?

I won't be able to watch the Tribe on TV today.

FOX monopolizes Saturday afternoon TV rights and, even though I do believe the Tribe-Sox game might be on where you live, I am forced to watch the Yanks, Mets or Red Sox most Saturday afternoons.

When it's not one of those three, it's the Phillies - as is the case today.

I guess I won't complain too much though about the FOX baseball package, since the people who run FOX are the very same people - as of a year-and-a-half ago - who pay my salary.

So I thought I'd take a few minutes just to jot down some things going through my head about the Tribe, and the viability of the team for the rest of this season.

We've heard the trade rumors involving Mark DeRosa, and even some hopefully far-fetched ones about Victor Martinez.

The DeRosa rumors began shortly after he was moved from 3B but well before Asdrubal Cabrera was put on the DL, possibly for up to six weeks. Jamey Carroll could fill in at 3B while Cabrera is out and Jhonny Peralta is forced back to SS, but Carroll now has a finger issue that he may or may not be able to play through.

DeRosa has proven not to be the 3B the Tribe would like him to be, although he has been a presence - especially recently - in the lineup.

But he is expendable and I can see him being traded. The question is whether he'd be traded for someone that would help right now or down the road.

There is some question about which would be wiser, as the team stands 9 games under .500 but also only 6 games out of first.

To this point, the team seems to be making moves for the benefit of the current season, trying every imaginable warm body to repair the bullpen - even to the point of changing starters to relievers in the minors with the thought they might be needed later by the big club.

The most notable of those changing roles was Hector Rondon, down at AA Akron. But he was quickly moved back into rotation and left his most-recent start with a sore bicep.

Still, the moves made a couple of weeks ago imply the Tribe is looking to do something this year.

That could be changing though with the injuries to Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore and Rafael Betancourt, who had become the most reliable guy in the pen in the past month or so.'s Anthony Castrovince, on his blog CastroTurf, reported last night there are some hints the Tribe may be thinking about throwing in the towel for this year:

The Indians are, as you might imagine, bracing themselves for the possibility that this season simply isn't going anywhere. As much as the Indians have been through this season, they entered tonight a reasonable seven games back in the AL Central. But when you factor in the injuries, the inconsistencies and the general snake-bitten nature of this club, it's hard to imagine a comeback.

In talking with general manager Mark Shapiro today, I got the sense that he's coming around to that concept, too. He didn't repeat the mantra that the Indians are "one good week away" from being back in contention. Rather, with regard to the still-developing trade market, he said the Tribe is "on the sideline" right now, "keeping a pulse" of what's going on.

Don't know about you, but I'm having trouble deciding which way to go on this one.

The team was playing well below expectations before the epidemic of injuries hit, and the list of the injured is sooooo long. So you have to wonder if there's any reason to entertain hopes for this year.

But then there's that number - 6. As in 6 games out.

And there's the fact that Aaron Laffey, Scott Lewis and Jake Westbrook will be back before too long to fill the many holes in the rotation. Again, I don't know about Westbrook, or even Lewis, but I expect Laffey to provide much-needed help. And an arm could be added in a deal for DeRosa (and probably others if the arm is attached to a pitcher of decent value).

Then again, I'm writing this on a day after a win, and I'm always more optimistic on such days.

I suppose if I were in charge, I'd make my moves as if the team were still alive this year, especially after being forced to abort last season. When the time comes to punt, it will - or should - be more obvious than it is right now.

And if/when the time comes for a sell-off, Victor Martinez is not someone who should be added to the Buyer's Guide to Available Cleveland Indians.

Unlike CC last season, Victor is not in his walk year until next season. Selling him off now would be admitting to the paying public that the team management has little hope not only for the rest of this season, but also the next.

That kind of damage to the gate is not a risk the team should or would take - one would think.


Anonymous said...

moose says
you should be glad you didnt get to see the game - another frustration in fundamentals.

Lets look at the game - First the best game Sowers may have pitched in 2 years.

Game tied 1-1 top of 4 I think second and third one out.Somebody hits one of the pitchers glove and Hafner gets thrown out at home !!! Hafner is a load boy is he slow. Anyhow a hit there and they probably win the game. If he cant score he stays at 3 and the bags are juiced.

Then there is the sixth bases laoded down 2-1 Pronk flys out. # more guys LOB.

Botom of the sixth - the peralta error - will they now acknowledge Cabrera is the SS. And Delrosa is not a third baseman or first baseman. Anyhow then the wild pitch / passball - gave another run.

TZhen in the seventh - victor strikes out with a runner at third.

Bottom of seventh - perez misses the bag and we give another run.

Then the 9 th - first guy on. Trevor Crowe up . Why is that guy on the team. HR ties the game why not pinch hit gimeniz or shoppach. Crow is somebodys favorite - butnot mine. Then this second baseman - valbuena - all glove no hit.

Maybe Shoppach should go to the Arizona league for hitting like fausto for pitching

dont give up the ship yet - seven games is nothing. IF they ca stumble to the All star break 6- 7 back - get healthy - they might have a chance

Ron Vallo said...


Thanks for filling in and filling me in.

Good summary of what seemed like a frustrating game as I "watched" part of it on ESPN (watching little dots going around the field).

Another question. Barfield goes 2-4 Friday. Not in the lineup Saturday. Valbuena obviously overmatched up here. Since we're more or less stuck at the moment with Peralta at SS because of the Cabrera injury, wouldn't this be the perfect time to take one last long look at Barfield before we give up on him and he turns into a good MLB 2B someplace else?

Bartolo just takin' the mound. He hasn't missed any meals since he left Cleveland has he?

Anonymous said...

chris gimeniz - 2 games 2 HRS
now he wont play for 4 days

Anonymous said...

so I bad mouth valbuena and crowe and they play good games on sunday

if that what it takes who do I bad mouth next