Monday, December 31, 2007
The Browns came up short in their bid for the playoffs, and they did it all on their own - last week in Cincinnati. That is when the season was blown. So please save all the whining about how this kind of stuff (a playoff-bound team playing its scrubs to keep the first-stringers healthy) only happens to Cleveland sports fans.
Once the whining stops, probably by sometime late Monday, the next phase will begin. The "well they did better than we ever thought they would," and "it was a good season and we should be happy with what they accomplished" phase.
It happened when the Indians let a pennant, and a very doable World Series win, slip out of their hands. It will happen with the Browns fans, as I said, sometime late Monday night. Tuesday at the latest.
Having lived the first 27 1/2 of my 51 years in Cleveland, I know the scenario all too well, and I find myself falling into the same old habits myself.
But having lived in New York for the past 23 1/2 years I know what would happen if the Browns or the Tribe played there.
The fans would be merciless and the media would pounce. There would be endless talk about choking, or at least letting a good opportunity slip away.
The fans and the media demand winners in New York, and they get them.
Here in Cleveland, after the initial whining is over, pretty good becomes good enough. And that is why "this keeps happening to us over and over again."
If you want a winning team, don't let the owners think that pretty good will do.
If you want a winner, say so.
The Beaver County (Pa.) Times reported Sunday the Indians and Pirates appear to be at the top Matt Clement's list as the once-dominant pitcher-turned -reclamation project looks for a place to play next season.
It seems Clement, who missed last year rehabbing from shoulder surgery, has built a new home in Butler, Pa. and would like to stay close to home if possible, according to the report.
Clement would be a classic Tribe signing, much like the Kevin Millwood signing in 2005. Clement has a lot of upside and may not even fetch himself a major league contract heading into spring training. If the Tribe were to offer him a major league deal, it wouldn't be for a whole lot of money. He's worth the gamble, whether he takes off after one year or not.
We haven't quite rung in the New Year yet, but Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson has his new power rankings out for MLB. You might think the Tigers would have leapfrogged the Tribe and possibly unseated the Red Sox with their big-time acquisitions this off-season.
But Hensen, who's top five are all from the American League, has the Tribe ranked second, a tiny bit ahead of the Tigers, who are third. Boston is ranked No.1, while the Yanks are No. 4 and the Angles No. 5.
Of course all that can change with Johan Santana still on the block and three months-plus to go for pre-season deal-making.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Hope you all had a merry.
Time to check out what little is going on in baseball.
Judging by some recent stories, it appears the odds of Johan Santana packing his bags for the Bronx are growing larger.
The New York Times reported today the Twins appear to be cutting the asking price for Santana, at least as far as the Yankees go. While Minnesota is still insisting Phil Hughes be included in a Santana trade, the paper reports they no longer are holding out for Ian Kennedy as well. As of this moment, the two youngsters are expected to make up 40% of the Yankees rotation in 2008.
Meantime, the Star-Tribune out of Minneapolis is reporting the Twins might lower the price to the point that they would accept defective (or at least ineffective) Japanese import Kei Igawa as the extra pitcher in the deal.
Talk about your after-Christmas sales!
Over the weekend, David Ortiz told the Boston Herald he doubts his good friend Johan will follow him from the Twin Cities to Beantown.
Heading to the homeland tomorrow. Will spend the day on I-80. Santa brought me a laptop, so I just may be able to put up a post or two while I'm in town over the weekend.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
May Santa bring us all a CC signing and a new left fielder who can hit.
May the new year bring that long-elusive trophy we've all been seeking our entire lives.
By the way, I'll be in town next weekend for a family holiday visit. Anyone want to buy my four tickets to the Browns game?
Sorry, I had to let at least some of it go after today's debacle. Let's enjoy Christmas Day anyway.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Tribe has seven guys to fit into five rotation spots, and for that Indians fans should be thankful as we head into the holidays.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
There are just a few surprises on the list, guys that don't fit the pattern of someone's who's performance, suddenly spiked, or who broke down early and/or often, or some complete nut job.
Roger Clemens was mentioned on nine pages of the report. His pal Andy Pettitte was kind of a surprise. Then, there's Jason Giambi from last year's Yanks club as well. So three Yanks from 2007.
Brian Roberts was kind of a surprising name to me.
- David Segui - one of the stars of the report is mentioned on several pages
- John Rocker - roid rage?
- Tim Laker
- Mark Carreon
- Jason Grimsley - also one of the most often mentioned in the report
- David Justice
- Glenallen Hill
- Ron Villone
- David Bell
- Paul Byrd
- Matt Williams
- Kent Mercker (I don't remember him playing for the Tribe, but the report says he did).
Just a note to remind you that these guys were not said to have taken performance-enhancing drugs while with the Tribe necessarily. These are just guys who are in the report who also happened to pull on an Indians jersey in a real game at least once in their career.
The rest of the report is all over the Internet. My main concern was whether any current Tribesman would be named. You can check the rest out on your own if that's your thing.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The San Francisco Chronicle reported today the A's are keying on Asdrubal Cabrera as one of the players they'd like in return, though, the paper reports, the Tribe might be able to sidestep the A's interest in Cabrera by adding more pitching. I, for one, would be reluctant to see Cabrera included.
The Chronicle reports the Reds may turn their attentions from Baltimore's Erik Bedard and chase Haren as well. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting the same thing.
Monday, Rosenthal listed Cleveland and Arizona as the two teams with the best chance of landing Haren. In today's column he doesn't mention the Tribe and backs off a fair amount on Arizona.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a centerpiece of the Diamondbacks' offer for Haren, does not appear to be a good fit for the A's due to his lack of plate discipline. Gonzalez struck out 109 times while drawing 38 walks at Class AA and AAA last season, but one executive points out that he just turned 22. His on-base percentage could improve as he matures, and he projects as a potential 30-homer man and above-average defender-Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports,
And the Plain Dealer finally joined in on the speculation. Paul Hoynes lists the Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks as having the "inside track."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Anyway. I'm here now and I apparently missed a BIG rumor, though so far that's all it is. Good thing my friend Pat Tabler over at the DiaTribe was on the prowl - as he always is - for Tribe news.
It seems the Tribe is quietly - at least until Ken Rosenthal's column on the FOX Sport site yesterday - one of the leaders (along with Arizona) in the in the Dan Haren Derby.
The Indians' advantage is that they can offer superior major-league ready pitching, including righty Adam Miller, who projects as either a top-of-the-rotation starter or closer, and lefty Aaron Laffey, a sinker-baller who could develop into another Mark Buehrle.
Haren, the starting pitcher for the American League in the 2007 All-Star Game, could form a potent trio with C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona in Cleveland — and protect the Indians against the loss of Sabathia as a free agent at the end of the season.This would be the type of blockbuster the Tribe would most likely be inclined to do - involving a top-flight player, but one who comes at a reasonable salary and under the team's control for a while. Under circumstances such as those the Tribe is more likely to part with prospects of the caliber of Miller and Laffey.
Haren is due to be paid $4 million next year and $5.5 million the following year. There's a club option on his contract for $6.75 million in 2010.
To put that in perspective, that's not even half of "Cliff Lee money," at least not 'til the option year.
This is one of those rare times when, for a team in a Cleveland-like market, that a can't-miss-prospects-for-star deal is a no-brainer.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Now there's talk the Tigers may be looking to re-route the D-Train to Queens.
The theory behind the rumor is the Tigers would send Dontrelle Willis and Pudge Rodriguez to the Mets to lop off some if its recently added payroll.
But Booth Newspapers' Danny Knobler quoted a Mets official as saying there's nothing to the rumor, although there was talk of a three-way deal sending Willis and Pudge to NY in last night's blockbuster.
The Mets official more or less says the Tigers couldn't wave filet mignon under their fans noses than replace it with sirloin.
``There's no turning back now for them,'' a Mets official said tonight. ``If anything was going to be done, it had to be done before (the trade became public). They've energized their fan base now. They can't go back.''
No word on who the Tigers would be looking for from the Mets.
BAY DEAL DEAD - AGAIN - FOR NOW - MAYBE
And so, for the second night in a row, the Jason-Bay-to-the-Tribe deal is being declared dead, this time not only by the Indians, but the Pirates as well - at least for now.
We get this quote from Pirate GM Neal Huntington via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
“Today, it's dead. Forty-eight hours from now, four weeks from now, who knows?"
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Tribe and Pirates are talking Jason Bay again, and this time the Tribe seems to be serious and moving quickly.
The paper reported this morning that the framework of a deal is in place, but I'm not sure I like it.
According to the report, the Tribe would get Bay and catcher Ronnie Paulino for Franklin Gutierrez, Kelly Shoppach and a pitcher -- either Cliff Lee or a prospect.
I'm not a fly on the wall in Nashville, but my guess is it's the pitcher that's holding things up, with the Tribe trying to foist off Cliff Lee onto the Buccos and the Pirates -quite rightly from their point of view - seeking someone younger.
Paulino hit .263 with 11 HRs and 55 RBI in 133 games with the Pirates last year. His OBP was just .314 and his slugging average just .389.
Earlier this week, in a Post-Gazette story, Pirates GM Neal Huntington questioned Paulino's fire.
"We need to see the hunger, the fire, a guy who's in better condition, a guy who has better motivation." - Neal Huntington on Ronnie Paulino
In addition to watching his average drop from .310 in his rookie year to .263 last year, Paulino's defense took a turn for the worse as well.
Presumably, based on his fine rookie season and with a change of scenery, Paulino would be a decent replacement for Shoppach.
I don't mind giving up a starter in this deal. My preference would be Lee, Sowers, Laffey - in that order.
But here's the part I don't get.
By trading for Bay, the Tribe fills the void in left field and gets a needed right-handed bat. But by trading Gutierrez, aren't they just shuffling their left field mess to right field?
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
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
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.
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.
LEE MAKES PITCH-ME-OR-TRADE-ME PITCH
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!!!!