8.30.2009

Morning Update: Who's Your Marte?!

What an interesting night.

Floods, rain-delays, LaPorta glove-work (only to be outdone by Adam Jones), Marte go-ahead home runs, oh man.

This flooded dugouts thing is hilarious. Watch the video here.

Carmona sitting on the top of the bench above the water, the Indians coming out and taking pictures. It's just comedy. The game would have probably started sooner had this flood problem not had happened.

Let's talk Marte and LaPorta though.

Both upped their hit-streaks to 10 games each. LaPorta has played in ten games since his call-up, so he really has just picked it up and gone off and Marte has joined him since the addition.

It was Marte's second go-ahead home run in three nights.

Marte goes 2 for 4 with the three-run shot. Matt LaPorta goes 4-4 with a run scored and he's now hitting .296 on the season.

And HELL... If Andy Marte is pushing Matt LaPorta, I keep Marte as long as I keep LaPorta. Who cares.

"You look at Andy Marte and Matt LaPorte, they've been fantastic the last week or so," said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "I like the way both of them have made some adjustments. They've made some subtle adjustments that have made a big difference. You like players to step up at the right time, and both those kids have lately."

"I think one of us sees the other doing good, we keep pushing each other," LaPorta said. "That's the way it was in Columbus. We feed off each other, basically."

Feed off each other? Fine with me. Marte's making a serious case to be on this team next year and if this continues for the rest of the season, the Indians will have to make some sort of decision somewhere.

Can you argue with confidence though? Marte finally has it and look what he's doing. He knows he'll be in the lineup on a daily basis, there is no second thoughts.

"I'm just trying to show them I'm ready to play here," Marte said. "I don't know what their plans are for the off-season."

As for why Chris Perez pitched the ninth for a save and not Kerry Wood. A little arm soreness for Wood as he's pitched a lot more recently. Wedge says not to worry.

More soreness though and this is with Travis Hafner and his shoulder. The other shoulder though. Hafner was held out of the lineup with LEFT shoulder soreness, not right shoulder, the one he had all the trouble with for the past year.

They'll see how he feels today before the game and if things are still hurting, he'll get it checked out tomorrow on the off day.

Mike Aubrey has yet to appear in a game with Baltimore against Cleveland, but he has been in seven total games since his call up on the 18th. He's rooting for old teammates that have gotten a chance, but he knew something was up when there was mass call-ups happening and his name wasn't one of them.

"After they called up some guys [from Class AAA Columbus], it became apparent that there wasn't a whole lot I could do to get called up unless they traded everybody," said Aubrey. "Then I got traded and that's when they traded everybody else.

"A lot of guys have been given some great opportunities over there with the trades," said Aubrey. "I'm rooting them on. It's tough up here.

Speaking of call ups... Carlos Carrasco will get his on September 1st when the rosters expand to 40 players. He will then start the game on Tuesday against Detroit.

Right now, it looks like it will be a six-man rotation, at least for a start or two. David Huff was scheduled to go on Tuesday, but he's obviously being pushed out now. The Indians don't want Huff pitching too much because they want to protect his arm, but he hasn't reached that 160ish inning limit they set quite yet.

John Mirabelli, director of scouting had good things to say about his progress.

"I saw him last Friday night," said John Mirabelli, Indians director of scouting. "He was aggressive. He touched 95 and was pitching at 92 mph to 94 mph in the seventh.

"It's the third time I've seen him in the last 12 months. I think he's made some strides. He showed consistency with his slider and pitched inside with his fastball.

Oh and going back to the game real quick.

How about Rafael Perez? Quiet now, but he's actually pitching well since the call-up. Right-place right time and all with the three wins in the past seven days, but aside from that hiccup against KC last week, 0's dating back to the 13th of August.

We always learn something from Terry Pluto's weekly rundown and in the first two snippets of stuff from Indians president Paul Dolan, we learn interesting news of Jake Westbrook's contract.

An insurance policy on Westbrook's contract will cover about half of the 11 million the Indians owe Westbrook since he'll be out for the entire season.

Had the Indians not made those trades, they'd have lost nearly 20 million this season and close to 30 million next year. They are in the red for real, but had they not dealt, they'd be in serious trouble. The Cavaliers' success and LeBron James alone are really putting the hurt on both the Indians and Browns, Indians more than Browns because let's face it, this will always been a Browns town.

Mark Shapiro will return next year as GM, no questions asked. A decision on Wedge will be made quickly after the season is over.

Now turning to on the field, it looks like the Indians are going to go with LaPorta in left-field next year and either Jordan Brown or Andy Marte at first or some sort of mashing of those three in two of those spots, because Brown can play the outfield, whatever works out.

Brown will get a shot this year, no doubt about it. They cannot deny him.

New Hey Hoynsie, I'm not reading. He!

Finally... What more can you say about Asdrubal Cabrera? He's the focus of Sunday's preview. It's Justin Masterson on the mound for the Tribe, let's go for yet another series win.

Minor Issues: Aeros Pummel Binghamton, K-Tribe Pulls Closer

WHAT'S THE NEWS

Carrasco gets the call!

Carlos Carrasco will be called up to the Majors for Tuesday's start. He will face Edwin Jackson. Since it's September first, there will be no move as the rosters expand. Here comes the six-man rotation.

It looks like the injury to Knapp is a little more serious. However they still expect him to pitch in Fall Ball.

Knapp will undergo an MRI and we'll know soon, but if you are wondering why he didn't have one when they first acquired him, the reality is they aren't allowed. A physical yes, MRI no. Hopefully this is just what they've described pretty much as "growing pains."

A new Minor Happenings is out
. Covering McBride's AFL catching duties, Atkins on the upper-level prospects and players acquired in the July-trades, and the growing popularity of Valley pitcher, Vidal Nuno.

Tony at IPI says Yohan Pino, the payoff in the Pavano trade isn't an impact prospect, but he certainly isn't some throwaway. He will give the Indians good depth in the upper levels of the pitching department. Wouldn't you rather have this guy being called up in an emergency rather, Tomo Ohka?

COLUMBUS

Chuck Lofgren got back on track in his latest start for the Clippers, as they took home a 5-3 victory over Louisville.

Lofgren went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs off five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Frank Herrmann pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with no walks or hits.

Mike Brantley hit his sixth home run of the year, one his two hits. Wes Hodges knocked in two more runs himself. Jordan Brown and Josh Barfield were two of the other four players with multi-hit games.

AKRON

Akron took the Binghamton Mets and laid quite the beat down.

Every Akron player had a hit and scored a run and all abut two knocked in runs.

Constanza: 2/5, 2 R, RBI, SB (40)
Rodriguez: 2/5, R, RBI
Santana: 2/4, 2 R, 2B, RBI
Mills: 2/5, R, 2 RBI
McBride: 3/5, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI
Chisenhall: 1/5, R
Head: 3/4, 2 R, 2 2B, 4 RBI
Rivero: 3/5, R, 2B, RBI, BB
Goedert: 1/3, R, BB

McBride is such a extra-base machine.

Eric Berger earned win number two with 5.2 innings, three runs, only two earned, off six hits and three walks. Can't argue with that run-support.

A win on Sunday or a Reading loss will clinch the Aeros the Eastern League Southern Division.

KINSTON

A 10-7 win over Potomac brings the Kinston Indians within a half game of first place Winston-Salem, who have already won the first-half division.

Chris Jones made another start and things didn't go well. Four innings, six runs off eight hits and two walks. But the bullpen was fantastic. Five combined innings, one run off four hits and nine strikeouts by David Roberts, CC Lee, and Kyle Landis.

hit two home runs, a three run shot and a solo shot and had three total hits, including a double, and five RBI. Go Sheldon!

Ron Rivas and Roman Pena both knocked in two RBI each and Doug Pickens has upped his average to .302 after a two-hit night. He's been on fire.
LAKE COUNTY
The Caps split the double-header with Lakewood, losing the first by one run and winning the second by nine.

Trey Haley went 4.1 in the win, giving up just one run and striking out seven. Kaimi Mead took the win after he pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball. Alex Morales made his LC debut, going one scoreless inning.

Danny Salazar went 5 innings in the loss, giving upt hree runs off four hits and three walks. Francisco Jimenez went two scoreless.

Versatile Donnie Webb and Jeremie Tice knocked in the runs in the loss, with Tice having two hits, including a double.

A lot more fun to go around in the win. Nate Recknagel had two hits and four RBI, including a three-run shot in the first inning. Adam Abraham also went deep, a solo shot in the fifth.

Bo Greenwell knocked in two runs and both Webb and Tice knocked in runs in this game as well. They both also had three hits, one run scored, and one double.

Tice is now hitting .333 in his last ten games with five RBI. He's hitting .297 since the SAL All-Star game in 29 games. It's safe to say the injury was probably the reason he struggled earlier this year.

MAHONING VALLEY
The Valley was filled with rain and the grounds were to wet to play. The game has been postponed to today as a double-header that starts at 4:30.

8.29.2009

Morning Update: Fausto You, Fausto Me

Damn the rain and damn the rain delays.

It was like 9 and they were only in the fifth inning, what gives.

Anyway Fausto had a bad game. First one since he made his comeback really. Everyone is entitled to one of those, but man just when we started singing his praises.
"It's a little bit disappointing," Carmona said. "I put some balls on the ground and some of them weren't caught."
Yeah but Fausto should expect that being a ground-ball pitcher. There are days when the balls will find the little openings in the defense. Cabrera and Valbuena are good, but sometimes you can't just get to all of them, there were a few that fit their way past the defense. He still didn't come up big when he had to.

The big test is what he does the next time out. We'll see if he responds with a good bounce back game.

Another good game by the duo that is Andy Marte and Matt LaPorta last night though. Both are up to nine games on their hit-streaks, LaPorta had two including a solo shot and Marte had a hit, a walk, and a sac-fly.

I wrote up a story on Marte's comeback yesterday. You can read that here. Marte talked about his commitment to sticking around this time.

"I worked hard in Columbus to get back here," Marte said. "Now I'm back. Now I'm going to work even harder.

"I don't want to go back to Triple-A. If it's not here, somebody is going to like what I'm doing. I just want to finish strong and see what happens next year."

Good to hear and Eric Wedge used that word when describing what Marte's been doing.. GRINDING. HA.

Too bad LaPorta and Marte didn't get more RBI opportunities, like Luis Valbuena did. He was a big culprit in leaving runners on last night.
"We left some runners on out there today when it was still a close ballgame," said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "I actually felt like we had some decent [at-bats], but we didn't have much to show for it, and then it really got away from us there in the end."
I'll actually agree with that. In the fifth inning, Valbuena hit a ball that probably was hit as well as you can. It was right to Markakis though. Oh well, that happens. Still gotta come through with all the chances they had.

And that will do it..

Not much that wasn't already covered in the Minor Issues. Things are dull in Cleveland.

Minor Issues: Indians get Yohan from Twins; AZL Complete Season

WHAT'S THE NEWS

The Carl Pavano trade has been completed and the Indians have received right handed starting pitcher Yohan Pino.

Johan, Yohan.. Whaaatever.

Pino is just 25 years old and actually in Triple-A with some pretty mean statistics. He relieved most of the time in Double-A, but since the call-up to Rochester, he's started eight games, gone 2-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 51 innings. He's struck out 44 to 11 walks and hitters are hitting just .199 off him.

Interesting pickup indeed. Maybe this means one of the Livingstons/Tejeras/Rays will be released.

How he fits in long-term, who knows. He's the 36th ranked prospect in the Twins organization according to scout.com.

He's been a versatile pitcher for the Twins, so obviously the fact he can be a starter or a relief pitcher is probably somewhat of a draw for Cleveland.

Carlos Santana and Jeanmar Gomez have been named to the season ending Eastern League All-Star team.

COLUMBUS

Louisville had their way with the Clippers and starter Hector Rondon as the bats won 10-4.

Rondon went six innings, but took his third loss when he gave up seven runs off 12 hits and four walks. Certainly not Rondon-like.

Mike Brantley doubled, scored, knocked in a run, and stole his 43rd base of the year.

Two hits each for Jordan Brown and Wes Hodges.

AKRON

The Aeros lost to Binghamton in a rain-shortened contest. It started pouring here, I totally get it. Not just raining either, like, raining.

The Aeros recorded just one hit and that was an RBI hit by Jared Goedert to score Jerad Head head.

Scotty Barnes pitched 4.2 innings, giving up three runs off seven hits, while striking out five. Zach Putnam pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with just one hit surrendered.

KINSTON

Big win for the K-Tribe over Potomac, a 7-1 victory.

Kinston powered the win with seven runs in the first and that would be all. Cord Phelps had two hits, including a double and two walks. Three hits for Bo Pickens with a RBI and Ole Sheldon with a RBI Double.

Ron Rivas and Richard Martinez each had two hits and runs batted in, with Martinez having two and a double.

This was all in support of Russ Young's six innings of shutout ball. Just three hits and one walk with seven punchouts gained him his sixth win.

LAKE COUNTY
Lake County's game with Lakewood was postponed due to rain. They'll play a double header today.

MAHONING VALLEY

Another win for Mahoning Valley, a 6-1 score over Jamestown.

Two hits, including two doubles for Greg Folgia and Jesus Brito. Each knocked in runs and scored, and Brito scored twice.

Ben Carlson, Rafael Vera, and Juan Aponte all knocked in runs in support of Vidal Nuno, who improved to 5-0.

Nuno went 5.1 with just one run off five hits and two walks. He struck out five. Jeremy Johnson went 2.2 innings giving up just one hit and one walk.

And despite me saying the magic number was two yesterday, I'd be wrong. It was actually six, now it's four. Hopefully. You can't find a formula you can rely on anymore.
ARIZONA LEAGUE

The Indians first season in the AZL has come to an end with a 8-6 loss to Seattle.

Kelvin De La Cruz started the thing off with a rehab start. He went 3.2 innings, giving up three runs off four hits and three walks and three strikeouts. Juan Lara recorded the final out in that fourth inning.

Juan Salas pitched a scoreless frame with a walk and a hit and Mike Pontius also made a "rehab" appearance, going one inning and giving up two runs off two hits and a walk.

Two hit performance for Kevin Fontanez, both being doubles.

Kelvin Rucker had three hits and two runs scored. Rolando Petit had a two-run homer.

A wrap-up on the AZL season coming soon.

8.28.2009

Random Thoughts: Clear off the dust, it's time to go brothers

Wow it seems like more than five days since I've actually posted something.

Well I didn't really do much five days ago.

So it's more like the 17th.

Anyway...

It's time to get back into the swing of things.

I feel out of sync and lost.

It's 11:00 too..

I slept in!

I need to educate everyone on my school schedule.

I have the best end of the week schedule ever. I have on class Thursday, in the morning till about 11:30, maybe 11:00 the way the guy teaches, and nothing on Friday. So I virtually have three and half days of free-time to kill.

How am I going to kill it all? Unknown, but this is my first test-drive.

14-more weeks to go, I'm already counting down the weeks, I can't wait for spring semester man.

I figured that I'm still on whacked out, wake up at 6:00 AM schedule, sort of. And really, I was, I woke up at around 7:00, but went back to sleep.

So it's 11:00 already, I wanted to get things back in gear and hopefully, by the end of the week we'll be back to normal.

Let's start that process and sort though what I can.

I want to start in the minor leagues and the best place would to go team-by-team and look at the playoff situation.

First things first, there's some random news to cover.

AFL teams are being announced and there are eight Indians on the Peoria Saguaros. What a Saguaros is/was, I have no clue, but hey.

Starters: Connor Graham
Relievers: Carlton Smith, Zach Putnam, Josh Judy
Infielders: Matt McBride, Carlos Rivero, Josh Rodriguez
Outfielders: Nick Weglarz

This is basically Akron's team. Really, you can only have one player below Double-A on the AFL teams as an organization. The Indians don't have one. Rodriguez makes sense because of the time he missed. I think the way Rivero and Weglarz started the Indians want that. Judy and Putnam make sense considering they like to stretch out their relief pitchers and of course Connor Graham is a no-brainer to just see as much as you can.

Matt McBride is a little puzzling, but it makes sense in a way, sort of. They are going to give him starts behind the plate, which is something the Indians stopped doing because of the injuries. Imagine that, he stayed healthy this year. Anyway I can only guess this is a shot to get him more value for a possible trade down the line because he's up for Rule V eligibility this year and they might not roster him and the corner OF/IF position is always crowded to begin with.

So we'll see there.

Disappointing news on the Jason Knapp front. Nothing serious, but Knapp is being shut down for the season with shoulder inflammation.

I so missed the signing of Alex White when I went talking five days ago.

Great to have him signed though. I think everyone knew it was going to happen. He had nothing to prove in college and there probably wasn't much to gain to go back. It also turns out he is NOT being represented by Scott Boras, which is a bit of a relief.

White will get a $2.25 million bonus for signing, the Cliff Lee/Martinez trades will no dobut help with that.

He's going to be fast-tracked though. Cunning move on the Indians part by getting him to Akron and having him do his return to throw program there, while they are in a playoff run. That will be nice exposure. It's expected that he'll start next year in High-A Kinston, totally skipping both rookie ball and the Low-A level. Much on the same track that last year's pick, Lonnie Chisenhall was on, without playing this year. No reason for him to log anymore inning though, he pitched enough for UNC.

Anyway, read that minor league happenings, very informative.

DSL
The Dominican Summer League finished play on the 21st of August. Let's do a quick recap of their season.

They finished at 32-39 on the year...

Top performers include

Dioris Robles, OF: .310 AVG, 70 G, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 21/32 SB, 55 RS
Jesus Aguilar, 1B: .305 AVG, 55 G, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 5/6 SB, 33 RS
Jose Cabrera, OF: .283 AVG, 55 G, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 9/16 SB, 27 RS
Alex Monsalve, C: .274 AVG, 61 G, 22 RBI, 6/8 SB, 14 Doubles

We need an update on the famous Wally Jose Bryan Ozoria

Wally Bryan *AKA Jose Ozoria, SS: .262 AVG, 65 G, 0 HR, 24 RBI, 7/14 SB, 38 RS

Top pitchers include

Rolando Cariel: 2-3, 1.65 ERA, 22 G, 43.2 IP, 4 SV, 18/48 BB/SO
Moisses Ramirez: 3-1, 1.88 ERA, 15 G, 28.2 IP, 3 SV, 10/20 BB/SO
Ramon Cespedes: 6-3, 2.17 ERA, 24 g, 49.2 IP, 6 SV, 22/41 BB/SO
Oswell Munoz: 6-1, 2.20 ERA, 12 GS, 61.1 IP, 7/52 BB/SO

AZL

In the second half, the AZL Tribe is 11-16, 5 out of first place and really 3 three out of a "playoff spot." They've got one game left, so it's over.

Complete wrap-up of the season in a few days when the season is officially over.

Mahoning Valley

The Valley holds a seven game lead over Williamsport. They went bananas the past two weeks, winning five of seven since the All-Star game, including a sweep of Auburn.

With 10 games left, MV only needs a few more wins or Williamsport losses to clinch the division. The magic number is two and the Scrappers face Williamsport two more times on Monday and Tuesday.

Lake County

The Captains are currently 7.5 back of Kannapolis for the SAL Northern division lead. Lakewood, the first half winners are two behind Lake County, so there really is no chance for a wildcard. The Caps are 6-4 in their last ten, but at least they have a .559 WP in the second half. That brings them to 64-62 on the season in total.

The Recking Ball, Nate Recknagel has a .314 AVG in the last ten games with 6 RBI.

Nick Hagadone has been good in the past three games.

9 IP, 0-1, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 SO

Good work.

Trey Haley had a good game the other night, getting his fourth win by going 5 scoreless, giving up just three hits and two walks, but striking out seven.

11 games left for the Captains in the season.

Kinston

With 10 games left, the K-Tribe trail first half winner Winston-Salem by 1.5 games and are actually tied with Salem for second place in the Carolina League Southern Division.

The K-Tribe were in crazy control of things when I last saw them. But since then they've fallen of rough times with a four game losing streak that finally ended the other night.

Bryan Price has struggled in his last two games. The August 20th game was horrible as he gave up eight runs off eight hits and one walk in two innings of work. He gave up three runs in 3.2 innings the other night.

Tim Fedroff was blazing hot the last time I looked, now in the last ten games, he's hitting .158.

Akron

With just 11 games left and a 10.5 game lead over Reading, it's safe to say that the Eastern League Southern Division Champions will be the Akron Aeros. In fact, after last night, you can say that as the win gave the Aeros a playoff birth. Print your playoff tickets.

It's just a matter of gearing up for the playoffs now. The Aeros have lost a couple the past week or so, but still are on a good winning pace.

Eric Berger has settled in, his sparkling 6 inning game against Bowie on the 19th was great, with just one hit and seven punchouts.

Graham struggled on Wednesday, but his start on the 21st was something else. 7 innings, 1 earned with just five hits and six strikeouts. NO WALKS! Awesome to see that.

Great win last night as Akron took it to Bowie. Lonnie Chisenhall hit his third and fourth Akron home runs and Josh Tomlin won number 13.

Columbus

The Clips are in last place, 53-78, 23 back of Louisville. Not what we thought when this season started. But they've lost just about everyone they had to start the season and have won just two games since August 17th. The latest coming last night.

The Clips have started their final stretch of home games of the season, so if you are in the area and haven't had a chance to check out the best new Ballpark of 2009, go do it now.

There are a few things worth noting about Columbus though.

First is, Jason Donald is now on the DL. He was probably going to get a September call-up, but now, who knows if he'll be healthy enough for that.

Jordan Brown was activated off the DL and started on the 22nd. He had three htis that night and four hits last night against Louisville. He better get a call-up.

Wes Hodges is making up for lost time with a .325 average in the last ten games. He only has two RBI though and 11 SO to 2 BB.

Brantley is finishing the year strong with a .317 average in the last ten. He's stolen four more bases to bring his total up to 42. You have to love the 55 BB to 46 SO, continuing that trend that shows he has good plate-discipline.

Carlos Carrasco has been very good and he continues to eat innings. He'll be taking David Huff's spot in September for sure as the Indians want to limit Huff's innings.

His last two games: 1-1, 13.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO.

5-1 with a 3.19 ERA since coming over to Columbus.

Chuck Lofgren has struggled and you have to wonder if the amount of innings he's thrown has caught up with him. Remember he didn't have a full-season last year. His past two starts have been atrocious with 17 combined earned runs given up in 10 innings. He only threw 85 innings last year compared to the 129 this year.

Hector Rondon might get a shot in September, the rumors of the Indians going to a six-man rotation are there and Rondon could be number six. He's been decent in his past two starts. His latest against Indy was good, seven innings, just one run and three SO.

Scott Lewis is quite the mess. I don't know if he'll ever see a major league mound again, at least with the Indians. The guy just gets bad-break after bad-break. Another injury, unrelated to his previous one keeps him down again.

What A MARTY!
Last night's game was something to marvel at. I was sitting there.

Thinking..

What if Marte shocked the world and gave us the lead with one swing of the bat.

Ahh that's crazy talk.

BOOM!

GET ON UP MARTY, IT'S TIME TO PARTY!

What does Wedge have to say to that?!
"Our two kids really battled," Wedge said. "LaPorta did a great job shooting that single up the middle. And so did Andy."

Ugh.. He's really hard on the kid... Oh yeah LaPorta did awesome... and yeah I guess Andy did too.

We all know Marte is a good third baseman, like above average, but he's playing at first and Luis Rivera says he's coming along nicely. He has some things to work on though.

Can I push for LaPorta and Marte to be moved up in the order a bit? These two have been dangerous since coming up from Columbus and hitting next to each other. They did it at Columbus and now in Cleveland. If Marte keeps this up, he's going to give us a delightful problem about what to do with him.

I think many assumed he'd bomb out or just not show enough and be done with the organization. Think again, he's putting up a battle.

Still waiting for a contender to come calling for Jamey Carroll. This way Pronk can reclaim his duties as Fantasy Football Commissioner.

Finally, let's end on this note.

Dennis Manoloff drove to Pittsburgh the other day to conduct an interview with Cliff Lee and the interview is certainly eye-opening. Take a read of the whole thing.

Some of my thoughts on the Q&A.

- It looks like Paul Bako is taking over for Shoppach as Lee's personal catcher. Lee attributes Bako's similarity to Shoppach for some of his success with Philadelphia.

- Manoloff did a good job of getting into the real reason we want to hear Cliff Lee speak. Now that he's done with the Tribe, I think we're hearing more openness, I think I myself might have jumped to a rash conclusion on Lee.

- Lee was surprised he got traded. He viewed it differently, as I'm sure the same way most of us did, a one-time shot to contend next year and go from there. We all know by now why Shapiro and company did what they did though. Lee is now focused to help the Phillies. Now it gets interesting.

- Manoloff tells Lee that Dolan said Lee would not re-sign with the Indians after 2010. Lee responded by going over the story from the start of the season. Indians tell Lee's agent they want to talk extension in the spring. Nothing happens till about halfway through when the Indians say, Never mind.

- Lee tells them that he wants to get something now if they are going to get something done, he doesn't want to wait till next offseason when he'll either get his option picked up, or become a free agent.

- Lee said free agency is where you want to get as a player and that he told the Indians that. He said the closer to that point, the less-likely it is for him to re-sign with an extension. The Indians responded by saying we respect your stance, but basically, we aren't changing our minds yet. Economy, possible winning, both cited as maybe reason they'd reconsider. That was the end according to Lee.

- Lee says it was tough to leave because of the comfort with the city, fans, teammates, coaches, and staff. He attributes the organization and everything else with help for molding his "program."

- Here is where it gets interesting. Word by Word quote to the question. "Do you feel bad for the fans who see the core of their team traded?"
Uh, it would help if the fans showed up and came to the games. That's why the team didn't make money, because the fans weren't there, supporting the team. That's what happens when the fans don't support --
Ooooooooh the heat is on.

- Manoloff sort of interrupts and says, "But you guys weren't winning." Lee goes on to say it is hand-in-hand. He feels sorry for the fans, he wishes he was still in Cleveland that they won the World Series and so and so forth, but it's not reality. It's business.

- Oh it's not over. Manoloff brings up the point that fans and others began to think Lee had an ax to grind against management for being sent down. Lee disputes that notion. Their concern wasn't making Lee happy, it was about winning "as it should be." Lee was not getting the results he expected from himself either. He didn't want to go to Triple-A "but you have to make the best of the situation."

- Lee also said that pitching out of the bullpen and not making the postseason roster was sort of motivation for him, not bitterness. He wanted to prove that his perceived changed views of him as a pitcher were false. Manoloff asks him if all that is not grinding an ax, Lee says... "In the long run it motivated him to push harder and prove people wrong." He wasn't mad at anybody and he just wanted to prove that the Lee we saw in 2007 was not the real Cliff Lee.

- Totally get that. I sort of buy into Cliff as a little bit more sorry than I thought he was when he left Cleveland. Maybe I was wrong to criticize him earlier when I said he was happy to be out of Cleveland like I did. But I can buy that. I find the part about the fans very interesting. I certainly don't disagree with him, because that's the view I hold. It's bold of a player to say that, but then again, he's not coming back, so what does he care? Still... Very eye-opening indeed.

- Manoloff wraps up by asking him what went wrong this year. Lee says they found out how to lose in every way possible. Not complete baseball. I agree full-time with that. If it wasn't one thing, it was another.

- Overall, fantastic work by Manoloff. He pushed the right buttons, go the right answers, asked the right questions. I didn't think he'd broach the subject of the 2007 season and come right out and ask him if that ax he had to grind against management was true, but he did it. Kudos to him on a great interview and kudos to Cliff Lee for being honest. I believe what he said. He wasn't afraid to call out the fans for lack of support, so why would he sugar-coat anything else? Lee's never done that before. Much respect to Cliff Lee and I think I owe him an apology for what I said about him, following his trade to Philadelphia.

With that... I'll return later for a game-recap and tomorrow, we get back to normalness!

8.23.2009

Random Thoughts: Neglected Friends and Tribesmen

I just wanted to make sure people knew I was alive.

This is perhaps the longest stretch, in-season at least, that this site has gone without updates.

Even the tweets have been minimal.

Truth is, I didn't have time to breath, let alone do anything after work. All week it's been work, then after work there was other commitments. And work, especially hectic.

But I'm here and with two more days of madness left, I'm almost ready.

You see now that work is technically over, classes start at the good old U of A tomorrow. For the first two days, I'll be a part of the crew that will help any new comers find their way around campus, when I'm not in class of course.

Which means two more really early days and exhaustion afterward.

But I promise I'll return.

What a game last night though, right?

Baby Louie sends the fans home happy after a nice solid comeback. Mr. Ace Aaron Laffey got hit early but found a way to bounce back and not only give up no more runs after the initial three-run blow, but go seven strong.

Then that bullpen. What the heckle?

Chris Perez comes in, puts himself in a death-defying jam with a runner at third and nobody out. He gets two strikeouts and then ends the eighth without harm. Prolonging the game for the Indians to take it into extras and more solid bullpen work got us to the point where Louie could end it with two outs.

Such is the way of Indians baseball.

Suck in the beginning, moderately suck in the middle, fantastic at the end.

Don't get me wrong, I like seeing the young players and new additions doing awesome, but it's frustrating watching this happen. Either making us believe this team has more than what we see in the beginning and holding out hope, or just giving us false hope for next year.

That all being said, there are seven things I'm confident about for next year.

1.) Asdrubal Cabrera - He's coming into his own. Eric Wedge wanted him to just carry a decent stick because his defense saves so many runs. Heck with that... He's establishing himself as an all-around All-Star at shortstop.

2.) Shin-Soo Choo - I'm positive he's our right fielder for now and the future, regardless of military service. I think the Indians and Choo have already decided that he's just not going back to Korea. He's either hoping they give him a pardon or he'll just address it at a later date if he ever wants to go back.

3.) Grady Sizemore - Injuries be damned. Grady Sizemore is going to give it his all next year and hopefully he'll be healthy. I know we can count on him when he's not injured.

4.) Travis Hafner - You're like, wait what, Hafner? How can you trust Pronk? I can trust Pronk because I now know what he's capable of producing now that he's back in the swing of things. By next year, he should be able to be a normal DH. Maybe he can't play in 162 games a year, and he'll need more days off here and there, but this is what we can count on. He'll hit in the .280's, knock in some runs, be a power presence, and most importantly, get on base and help out other hitters with the pure fact that he's in the lineup.

5.) Aaron Laffey - I've always known Aaron Laffey has what it takes to be in this rotation. He's probably not supposed to be a top of the rotation starter, but he's going to be next year. Remember the only time this kid has struggled was out of the gate when he made his debut and when he's been injured. Laffey is legit.

6.) Justin Masterson - I'm positive he's for real. He's got something about him. Again, probably not a front of the rotation starter, but this staff is looking a whole lot better than it was. We may not have an ace, but we have a few pieces that we can at least trust.

7.) Chris Perez - I'm a believer. He's now acclimated to his new club, the pressure is off to impress everybody and he's really taking off. Last night was the only example I need. He has ice water running through his veins and on top of it all, he's hitting high MPH on the radar gun.

I've got so much to catch up on for the past week, but I'm probably not going to. I'll just go and mention it as we go along in the next few weeks until I'm satisfied. That being said, This marks a new era of this blog.

For several reasons.

One... I'll probably try and go easy on the updates, mostly because I want to put more of a focus onto my school work. Now that I'm almost done with my general education courses, I'm starting to get into classes that are actually crucial for me as far as my major goes. I don't want to screw that up.. If I update too much, I either have way too much free-time, or I need smacked. Updating this blog is like crack when I have nothing to do and I'm not tired.

Second... We're moving! Sort of! You can still come to this URL to see the same ridiculousness that is The Tribe Daily. That won't change. I'm not going to get into details, but The Tribe Daily is joining the Fan Huddle network. It's a move that I hope brings in a new audience and expands it. Nothing will change as far as content and information. You can read more about Fan Huddle in this Press Release. It launches on September 10th. More info in the coming weeks as we begin the transition.

I've updated the boards, as best as I could yesterday. It'll probably need a nice little rundown, which I plan on doing this week, as far as all the minor league teams go. That's probably a little bit of a mess after this past week.

NEWS!!!!

I updated the side today..

First update, we're in first place! The Tribe Daily is in first place in the Fantasy Baseball League with other blogs/sites! I'm working hard to hold onto first place for another month plus to bring home the title.

Second update, as you know, the sponsorship of Ben Francisco is rather weird now that he's on another team, which means I had to find someone else to represent. I also wanted to sponsor two in this new era of Indians baseball. Well I won't be adding another until the Francisco sponsorship expires next March, but I made my move.

I'm proud to say, that as soon as it's approved, we're sponsoring the one and only, JESS TODD!

It was a close battle between and Todd and Chris Perez, and I even considered both at this time, but like I said, I don't want to go more than two right now and well, I want to spread the love among positions.

It's Todd Time! I never get tired of saying that.

There are so many minor league notes to go over it isn't even funny. Like I don't even know what's been happening.

Akron got no-hit yesterday, and were an error and HBP away from being retired in order (perfect game). Connor Graham was outstanding the other night, and some pitchers have been getting tattooed recently, including Tomlin and Lofgren last night.

But really, I think the story of the past week, since I've not updated, is the promotion of Matt LaPorta and his immediate impact.

The guy starts in his first game and knocks in three runs. Jango!

Trevor Crowe was playing well and the injury comes up, which sucks, but I think he's earned himself enough to at least be in the mix. Let's be honest, first base isn't really set in stone with Marte at all. That would mean LaPorta could slide there. I think Jordan Brown is going to get a chance the prove himself, but Crowe is definitely in the mix for left field next year and if not that, we need someone to be the fourth outfielder and he matches the skillset.

But LAPORTA!

and MARTY!!!

Both have been good these past few games now that they've actually been playing. Marte has five hits in the ten at-bats he's had in the past three games (gee golly, playing him three days in a row, what a concept!?), with four RBI.

LaPorta has four hits in 11 at-bats with three RBI since his call-up.

So really... Party time with these two. Keep playing them. Let's see where it goes for Marte. Peralta is locked in a third, but if Chris Gimenez isn't going to hit, there's a spot for someone to pick up corner infield at-bats in a backup role, because I'm going to assume Jason Donald or Luis Valbuena will be doing the middle infield deal.

I like Gimenez, and I think he needs more time to prove himself, but if Marte is going to hit right now and prove he can do it now, Gimenez will have to bide his time.

Okay we've got Fausto Carmona on the hill in a few hours. He's going up against King Felix, but you can't complain what he's been doing. He's taken losses in his last two games, the first of those probably not being deserving of one, but the last one, with a lot of shaky defense from the looks of it. He hasn't been the horrendous mess that he was earlier this year.

I'm prescribing to this "baby steps" idea that Willis and Wedge are giving us with him. If they are trying to reinvent him into more of a pitcher, it's the best thing for him and his future. He can't be a thrower his entire career, especially right now with him just walking people like crazy. Something had to change.

Anyway, I'm feeling not tired this morning, so I wanted to check in. I've got some last-minute errands to run today before classes tomorrow.

8.17.2009

Random Thoughts from Everywhere: It's been a few

So it's been a few days since I've even considered doing something. Thing is you probably won't see something else till the end of the week, because more of the same this week.

However after this week, back to a normal looking postings.

So here's what I got since like, last Wednesday on thoughts and links.

- Jake Westbrook shut down again and this means he'll probably not pitch again til 2010. Rough break for him and it sucks. Hopefully he'll be out there opening day for us, but it would have been good for him to get out there and test the waters and all that fun stuff.

- Fausto Carmona looking better on the mound. There is hope afterall.

- Since we're talking the rotation. Aaron Laffey good today and he continues to set the tone. Looks like he's got a strangle hold on a rotation spot next year.

- David Huff, meh. He keeps winning, we just need to see progress.

- I forget who else is in the rotation. No I don't, but obviously they aren't important enough for me to say something, so I'll talk about past rotationers. Carl Pavano doing good in Minnesota and good job on their part to get him just because he owns the Tigers.

- I just started typing and the hands weren't in the right place and it didn't turn out well. Anyway, Cliff Lee is endearing himself to the Philly faithful, good for him. Check out the t-shirt that was made. One day, this site will have t-shirts cool enough. We need to keep our players though and I have to come up with something that wouldn't be infringing on rights and all that stuff. These are the weird thoughts that go through my mind when I'm just sitting here with no energy.

- When is Alex White signing? It was said that he was signed, just waiting til the deadline to avoid the bonus number getting out. We'll see tomorrow.

- I tweeted this, but nice work on the Indians part getting Josh Barfield through waivers and then off the 40-man roster. He's still under their control, but now they can roster someone until they need him. However does this mean he won't be back this season? Heck, he could be gone this offseason. Wedge seemed kind of "Yeah, whatever" about him as you would expect. He hates the guy. Well not hate, but it's obvious he's not one of his favies.

- However RJ Swindle? The Indians added the odd-throwing relief pitcher from the Rays, who acquired him a few weeks ago from Milwaukee. Oddness. He's still only 26 so, we'll see where this goes, but really, it probably goes nowhere.

- The Texas series didn't end like the ones against the AL Central foes have been, but it was good to see Omar Vizquel in Progressive Field again. Conveniently Ian Kinsler was hurt, so we got a good look at our former gold glove shortstop at second base. Omar said some glowing things about Asdrubal Cabrera and how he's proud that someone from his country is wearing his number and has "that kind of talent."

- This is a priceless quote from AC.. "The Tribe took its team photo pregame today. It's just too bad there wasn't time to take one before each game this season. You could organize the photos in order from Opening Day on and make a flip book."

- Huntington Park beat out both Citi Field and the immaculate palace that is the New Yankee Stadium as the 2009 Ballpark of the Year. All new stadiums were up for the award, so that means they also beat out the Indians new spring training complex in Arizona.

- Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting in the three hole, amazing. Never thought that would happen. He's doing good too. You'd think with the hot hitting Peralta, he'd have him there in the cleanup hole and Choo in the three hole, but Choo hasn't been hitting as well as usual.

- Wondering where Trevor Crowe is? He's battling a day-to-day oblique injury. That isn't stopping Eric Wedge from playing Chris Gimenez at first, Jamey Carroll inexplicably in the outfield, and Andy Marte on the bench. Marte is not getting the every day playing time he should be. Although Crowe isn't hurt enough to be a defensive replacement late in the game.

- How about that smack down laid on Nick Blackburn. When has he ever been bad against the Indians? I mean what the frickle? This is weird. But hey awesome. That was a tail-kickin'

- I'm running out of things.... So I'm going to see you later. Maybe this week, maybe not. Who knows. It's going to be a busy week. Check the twitter for daily comments.



Minor Issues: Let's cover our bases

WHAT'S THE NEWS

So it's been a few days.

I haven't had time to breath, let alone do nothing more than tweet about the Indians.

A great minor league happenings, that updates things like playoff races and other stuff. Part one and part two.

So here is the past six or so days in the minor leagues. From Tuesday the 11th to the action that happened on Sunday. Good Monday Morning, I'm at work. Read my catch-up later for all the other news and links.

COLUMBUS

Record: 3-3 - All Against Indianapolis

3-3 against Indy this week in their week long series.

Transactions: Bobby Livingston Added, Jose Veras and RJ Swindle Added to Reserve), Andy Cannizaro Traded

Cannizaro was sent to Chicago (Charlotte) for cash. Veras cleared waivers and accepted his assignment, but him and the newly claimed RJ Swindle are on reserve for now.

Notable Performances

8/11: Carlos Carrasco - W (9-9), 8 IP, 1 ER, 10 SO, 0 BB; Lou Marson - 3/4, 1 R, 1 RBI
8/12: Ryan Edell - L (0-4), 5 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB; Matt LaPorta - 1/3, BB, Solo HR
8/13: Hector Rondon - W (4-2), 6.2 IP, 1 ER(4R), 8 SO, 1 BB; Jason Donald - 3/4, 3 R, 2B; Wes Hodges - 1/3, 1 R, 2 RBI
8/14: 9 Innings of Suck from Ken Ray, Bobby Livingston, Michael Tejera; Matt LaPorta - 4/4, 3 R, 2 Solo HR; Stephen Head - 2/4 1 R, Solo HR
8/15: Matt LaPorta - 1/2 2BB
8/16: Carlos Carrasco - W (10-9), 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 SO, 2 BB; Stephen Head - 3/4, 2-R HR; Josh Barfield - 2/3, 2 2B

As you can see, Matt LaPorta had a few good games and he's really ripping it up. He's hitting .303 on the season with a .386 OBP, 17 HR, and 60 RBI.

Let me just say, I knew he was a power hitter, we all did, and I was pretty sure the OBP would be high because of that, because even if he's a free swinger, he'll still get walks from pitchers pitching around him.

But that average is higher than I thought he'd maintain. Last year with Huntington he had a .288 average and his Akron average was .233. So really, this is pleasantly surprising.

Rondon and Carrasco keep putting forth great starts and Carrasco put in his best start yet with a 10 punch-out, 8 inning gem. No walks too? Sunday's start wasn't as good, but still good and this guy is an innings eater.

Frank Herrmann in his last ten games.. 1-1, 18 IP, 15 K, 2 BB, 2.00 ERA. He's got a 2.78 ERA on the season.

I wonder if the Indians are going to give him a shot next month, or if they want to avoid putting him on the 40-man until next season. He certainly deserves it.

AKRON

Record: 3-3 - Connecticut (2-1), New Britain (1-2)

Won the series against Connecticut, but dropped the first two to New Britain before winning the finale on Sunday.

Transactions: Added Scott Barnes

Vinnie Pestano is officially out for the rest of the season. Josh Judy will continue to close.

Notable Performances

8/11: Carlos Santana - 3/5, R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, HR short of Cycle; Jose Constanza - 1/4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 32nd SB
8/12: Scott Barnes - W (1-0), 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 SO, 0 BB; Lonnie Chisenhall - 1/5, 3-R HR; Jared Goedert - 2/3, 1 R, 2B, 2-R HR, 3 RBI, BB; Beau Mills - 2/5, 2B, 1 RBI; Carlos Santana - 2/4, 1 R
8/13: Eric Berger - 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 SO, 3 BB; Carlos Santana - 2/3, 2 BB
8/14: Jeanmar Gomez - 4 IP, 1 H, 3 SO, 3 BB, Offense 1 Hit by Cristo Arnal
8/15: Connor Graham - L (0-2), 5 IP, 4 ER, 5 SO, 2 BB; Carlos Santana, 2B
8/16: Josh Tomlin - W (12-8), 5 IP, 1 ER, 6 SO, 0 BB; Steven Wright - 3 IP, 0 ER; Matt McBride - 3 R HR; Carlos Rivero - 2/4, 2 Solo HR; Beau Mills - 1/3, SF, HR, SF, 2 RBI

Constanza ended up stealing another base, which puts him eight behind the Aeros franchise record of 41.

Carlos Santana is now hitting . He's really boosted his average with this rip he's been on, to add into his run production, which has been steady all year.

Eric Berger was much better in his second Akron start, showing the first start was just nerves. Barnes had a good debut at the new level. Gomez did not get injured in the game he went just 4 innings, he simply had thrown too many pitches. He ran into trouble in the fourth and his pitch count became too high to send him back out.

KINSTON

Record: 5-1 - Lynchburg (2-1), Salem (3-0)

Kinston continues to win at all costs, really making a playoff push and sweeping Salem.

Notable Performances

8/11: Paolo Espino - W (4-6), 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 SO, 1 BB; Alex Castillo - 2/4, 1 R, 2 RBI; Roman Pena - 2/4, 1 R, 2 RBI, SB
8/12: Lucas Montero - 3/5, 2 R, RBI; Tim Fedroff - 2/4, 2 R, RBI; Cord Phelps - 2/4, RBI, SB
8/13: Tim Fedroff - 2/4, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI; Bo Pickens - 1/4, 3 R HR; Roman Pena - 1/3, 2 R, 2-R HR
8/14: Bryan Price - 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 SO, 0 BB; Tim Fedroff - 2/5, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI; Cord Phelps - 2/5, 2-R HR, 3 RBI; Adam Davis - 3/3, 1 R, 2B, BB
8/15: Scott Lewis - 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 SO, 1 BB; Tim Fedroff - 2/4, 2 RBI; Adam Davis - 3/5, R, RBI, 2 2B, SB
8/16: Paolo Espino - W (5-6), 0 ER (1R), 5 SO, 1 BB; Tim Fedroff - 2/3, 2 RBI, 2 2B; Adam Davis - 2/5, SB, RBI; All but two K-Tribe starters had RBI

Scott Lewis' start was a rehab start and Bryan Price keeps pitching awesome.

Tim Fedroff is absolutely on fire. In his last ten games, before Sunday, he's hit .452 with 10 RBI and 11 Runs. He's now carrying a 16 game hit streak and he's hit in 18 of his last 19. He's also got 34 hits in that span.

Great report on Bryan Price.

LAKE COUNTY
Record: 3-3 - Augusta (1-2), Rome (2-1)

Took the series against Rome.

Transactions: Added Roberto Perez from AZL, Sent Michael Valdez to AZL, Activated Jason Knapp

There's a lot of moving around, the Captains are practically running with a six-man rotation. I think Hagadone and Knapp are going to start following each other rather than starting, since both are only going three innings in each game.

Notable Performances

8/11: Jason Knapp - 1st Start, 2 IP, 1 ER(2R), 2 SO, 2 BB; Trey Haley - L, 2 IP, 4 ER(5R), 1 SO, 4 BB; Karexon Sanchez - 2/5, 2 RBI; Jeremie Tice - 2/4, R, RBI, 2B
8/12: Nick Hagadone - 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB; Chris Jones - 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB; John Allman - 2-R HR; Adam Abraham - 2/4
8/13: TJ McFarland - W (7-4), 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 SO, 1 BB, Francisco Jimenez - 3 IP , 0 ER, 3 SO, 0 BB; Nate Recknagel - 2/2, 2 BB; Chris Nash - 2/4, 2B, RBI; Donnie Webb - Solo HR
8/14: TJ House - W (5-8), 5.2 ER, 2 ER, 4 SO, 0 BB(11 H); Delvi Cid - 2/3, SB, Donnie Webb - 1/4, 2B, SB; Bo Greenwell - 2/4, 2 R, RBI; Roberto Perez - 2/4, RBI (LC Debut)
8/15: Danny Salazar - L (5-5), 7 IP, 3 ER, SO, BB; Delvi Cid - 1/3, SB, Jeremie Tice and John Allman - 2B Each
8/16: Jason Knapp - 3.2 IP, 2 ER(3R), 5 SO, 0 BB; Mark Thompson - 3/3, 3 R, 3-R HR, SB, 2 BB; Nate Recknagel - 3/3, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, 3 RBI; Donnie Webb - 3/5, 1 RBI; John Allman - 2/4, 3-R HR

Delvi Cid is now at 27 and Donnie Webb is at 34 in the stolen base department. What a duo they are.

Jason Knapp made his LC debut and threw enough pitches before his three inning limit. Hagadone made start number two and same result. Like I said earlier, they might start working in the same game since they are both only going 3 IP or 50 pitches. Remember though, TJ House is going to start making less starts and they used Haley out of relief.

So really there are six pitchers they are rotating around to get starts and innings.

Knapp's second start on Sunday was more than three innings. He must have needed to go more than three to get at least enough pitches in.

MAHONING VALLEY

Record: 3-3 - Brooklyn (1-2), Lowell (2-1)

Notable Performances

8/11: Vidal Nuno - 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 SO, 0 BB; Kyle Bellows - 1/3, 2 R HR, BB, SB; Casey Frawley - 2/3, 2B
8/12: Clayton Cook - W (4-2), 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 SO, 1 BB; Jordan Henry - 3 R, RBI; Jason Kipnis - 3 R, 3 BB, RBI; Kyle Bellows - 2/5, 2 3B, 5 RBI; Greg Folgia - 2 H, 2B, 3 RBI; Jesus Brito - 2 H, 2 BB
8/13: Brett Brach - 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB; Jordan Henry - 1 H, 2 BB; Chun-Hsiu Chen - 2 H, 2B
8/14: Preston Guilmet - 3 IP, 1 ER(5 R), SO, BB; Matt Packer - 3 IP, 2 SO, 0 H, 0 BB (Debut)
8/15: Marty Popham - W (5-1), 5 IP, 3 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB; Jason Kipnis - 2/5, RBI; Kyle Bellows - 2/3, 2 R; Greg Folgia - 1/2, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB; Jesus Brito - 2/3, 3 RBI
8/16: Vidal Nuno - W (4-0), 7 IP, 0 ER (1R), 6 SO, 0 BB; Tim Palincsar - 1/3, Solo HR, 2 RBI

The pitching continues to be awesome. That's all. Matt Packer made his debut and went three innings.

Jordan Henry has 17 SB on the year. Nice little player there.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

Record: 2-2 - Padres (2-0), L Rangers, L Brewers

Remarkably, the AZL team is in the playoff hunt with a few weeks left

Transactions: Added Dwight Childs, Lost Roberto Perez, Added Michael Valdez

Michael Valdez went all the way to the AZL level, for what reason? Well Valdez is being converted to a pitcher. We'll see how that goes.

Notable Performances

8/11: Justin Toole - 3 RBI, Joel Torres - 3/4, 2 R
8/12: Mike Rayl - 4.0 IP, 0 ER(1R), 6 SO, 0 BB; Argenis Martinez - 3/5, 3 R, 3 RBI; Chris Kersten - 3/5, 2B, 3-R HR, 4 RBI; Roberto Perez - 2/4, 2 R, 2-R HR; Kelvin Rucker - 2 RBI
8/13: Justin Toole - 3/3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2B; Chris Kersten - 2/5
8/15: Danny Jimenez - 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB; Chris Kersten - 2/6, 2B, SB; Joel Torres - 2/4, 3B, R, 2 BB, SB; Giovanny Urshela - 2 RBI



8.11.2009

Asdrubal You-Da-Dooble!

I don't know what that really means.

He's just showing off though.

With Omar Vizquel in the opposite dugout, where's the fan-fare by the way, and his counterpart much more heralded for his glove, Asdrubal Cabrera put on quite the show.

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na! Put your hands in the air!

Did you see that boy make those plays?

He can go 1 for 4 every night if he's going to make multiple brilliant plays like that.

Why is Carl Willis the post-game guest? Are we running out of dudes that can talk?

Hey though offensively there was only one inning and that was it and it was spectacular.

Of course the big hit came from Hafner, who really set the tone after Peralta walked. He could have hit into a double play and that inning sucks. He gets the hit, Baby Louie comes up and does the job with a hard hit double and it's a big inning. Also props to Trevor Crowe on his sac-fly, he did what he was supposed to.

Big story of the night was the pitching. The last time the Indians faced the Rangers, they pounded us into the dirt.

This time, shutout.

Aaron Laffey goes 6.2 and looks good doing it. Joe Smith comes in and gets the last out in the seventh on one pitch. Smith gets two more in the eighth and Sipp cleans up for him there and strikes out the side in the ninth.

Jango.

That's what you call an all-around game and I don't think the Indians have played one all year.

Defense - Superb on all fronts, Cabrera especially.
Pitching - Textbook shutout. Laffey goes six plus, Smith and Sipp clean up nicely.
Offense - No home runs, no taking advantage of miscues, just solid offensive production. Station to station baseball, timely hits, disciplined at-bats.

Every single point, hit hit hit. Well played, all-around.

That being said, we're now going to be around 10 out of the division with the Tigers loss. We're going the wrong way, hahaha.

Damnit I give up, I guess let's just win them all at this point. Can't win with this team.

On a side note, did anyone see Kevin Youkilis charge Rick Porcello after that dork hit him? I'd have given him five bucks if he took his head off. Get 'em Youkilis!

Tomorrow, the series continues with Fausto Carmona looking for redemption, Rangers have Tommy Hunter on the mound.

[BOXSCORE]

Everything Update Issues: Call-ups a-comin?

With no game yesterday, there (as you would expect) isn't really much to talk about concerning the major league team.

But that doesn't stop us from speculating or talking.

Check it out.

We've got one link, a new Indians Inbox, which posses the question of Matt LaPorta's status.

For information, LaPorta has a tweaked hamstring right now and is day-to-day.

From AC.
LaPorta's absence is a function of several developments, most notably the Indians' insistence on going with a 13-man pitching staff because of the inconsistency of their starters. Then you've got Grady Sizemore's elbow condition, which creates the need for a true backup in center field. The Indians want to leave Shin-Soo Choo locked in on the corners, so they have Trevor Crowe to back up Sizemore. They have Chris Gimenez up here so he can help out in left field, first base and behind the plate.
Let's also remember that this guy will be a cornerstone, or at least, hopefully a cornerstone of this franchise sooner rather than later. However we are a little unsure about guys like Andy Marte. So it's better to give them a shot while we have the time and he is running out of it. LaPorta will be here soon enough. I'm frustrated we don't have a spot for him right now, but he'll be here and he'll be contributing.

I'm going to now quote this question and the answer, which goes back to the attendance and payroll and money issue that was sort of bandied about last week.
In last week's Inbox, you wrote, "Attendance directly impacts payroll, which directly impacts the quality and depth of the Major League team, which directly affects performance, which directly affects attendance. It's a vicious cycle that, combined with the difficulties of being a mid-market club in a sport without a payroll, is not easily overcome." That may be true, but so is the inverse. The product on the field affects attendance, which affects revenues, etc.
I think sometimes the Dolans have it backward. To quote a famous baseball movie, "If you build it, they will come." Agree?
-- Jeff H., Bay Village, Ohio
No, I don't agree, actually. The Indians were a win away from the World Series in 2007, but still had modest attendance figures at the start of '08 (and keep in mind that as disappointing as the '08 season was, the Indians were either in first place or within five games of it for the season's first two months). There was not significant attendance carryover, and, as mentioned in last week's Inbox, the attendance in '07 didn't pick up until August.
True-that. Sorry but as AC would later go onto say. It's a football town that also has LeBron James, a megastar in the sport. That isn't even the root of the issue. Indians fans suck. I mean, I suck too. But really we refuse to go out and support the Tribe unless they are like contending. I mean the passion is great, and when Progressive Field is filled up, with playoff atmosphere (I was there twice in 2007, nothing like it), there isn't a crowd louder or prouder of their team.

But if this team is in the dumps, or it's early in the season, or the team is mid-road trying to contend. Attendance is going to suck unless Tom Hamilton fireworks are going on or a Grady Sizemore promotion is being given away.

Okay so let's move to the goods.

WHAT'S THE NEWS


This is sort of major league related, actually very major league related. So count on this double-way. Only a few minor league games, so it's a combined effort today.

But Bobby Livingston, because Scott Barnes was promoted to Akron, has been shuttled to Columbus. Which means someone in Columbus is outtie. Either there is an injury or someone is getting ready to get called up.

Tony from IPI thinks Carrasco or Rondon could get the call. But obviously they'd be in the rotation. So who'd be out? Are the Indians going to give it a go with six starters like they sort talked about when they traded Pavano? It could happen, just to get guys looks. Maybe rotate the final starting spot and get the other pitcher throwing side sessions, or come out of the bullpen in the same game just to get their work in.

Or maybe they'll just move Jeremy Sowers to the bullpen, who knows. Either way, Tomo Ohka's time is just about up.

As mentioned though, Barnes is headed to Akron and that now gives them a rotation with no dummie retreads.

Congrats to Preston Guilmet, who was named New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week.

Finally, a nice story on IPI about Jerad Head, Akron utility man. We don't realize that some of these organizational players, as they are labeled by the likes of us, actually have dreams and have on more than one occasion, bucked the trend and overcome the odds to do it.

Which is why I like reading the stuff Head had to say in the story.

COLUMBUS

So here is an oddity. Columbus faced Indianapolis for the entire week. They'll play three in Indianapolis and then come to Columbus for four more. Weiiiiiiiird. Game one didn't go the Clippers way though.

Would you believe the piggyback duo of Mike Gosling and Kenny Ray gave up just two runs in all eight innings though? Ya, I didn't think so, but they did. Combined seven hits, two runs, two walks and seven strikeouts.

The run the Clippers scored was courtesy of Lou Marson, who drove in Wes Hodges, who had one of four doubles on the night. Marson, Brantley, and Head had the others.

AKRON

The Aeros resume today in Connecticut. Scott Barnes to start on Wednesday.

KINSTON

Kinston picks up in Lynchburg.

LAKE COUNTY
The other team in action on a very silent Monday was Lake County and they pulled out a nice win over Augusta.

Nate Recknagel and Bo Greenwell each knocked in a run, with Greenwell and Jeremie Tice collecting two hits. John Allman and Mark Thompson each knocked in runs, with Allman and Adam Abraham doubling. Abraham scored twice.

It was Karexon Sanchez who had the big day. He was 2-4 with a double and a three-run homer for a three RBI night.

Danny Salazar picked up the win by going 5.1 innings, giving up just four hits and two walks in scoreless frames. He struck out three.

Jason Knapp makes his much anticipated debut tonight. He's going three innings or fifty pitches. Tomorrow, Nick Hagadone will follow the same guideline as he makes another start.

MAHONING VALLEY

The Scrappers welcome Brooklyn into the Valley for a three-game stand today.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

The Arizona League Indians did play a game and they beat the Dodgers, 8-6. Chris Kersten knocked in three runs and hit both a double and a triple.

Importantly though, Scott Lewis made a rehab start, going four innings, giving up a run off three hits and no walks with six strikeouts.

8.10.2009

Photoshop Off-Day: Exclusive Photo from Progressive Field on July 31st - Indians Yard Sale

It's been a few months since I've been able to sit down and have the time to really come up with a good idea for a Photoshop Off-Day, thing.

Well this weekend I went to work and came up with something that I think is a stroke of brilliance.

Not to toot my own horn or anything. But when I just randomly decide to make something and the idea clicks and I just keep thinking awesomeness thing after awesomeness thing, it just is like a very good snowball.

Truth is though, It could have been better. I could have kept the background pitcher much bigger and put more stuff in. It wasn't till the very end that I realized having it a full-sized picture, rather than just the 800 pixel width that I resized it to, would have been far more better with much more awesomeness.

But it wasn't supposed to happen that way. This is how it turned out and once again, not to brag, but I think this is pretty freakin' spectacular.

Click on the picture for a much larger view.


Yeah so there it is. In case it needs clarified, I think you can pretty much make out everyone in this picture once you click the link to the larger version.

But just in case you can't.

David Dellucci and Masa Kobayashi are the ones in the dumpster in the back. That was a late addition. Carl Pavano is in the bargain bin, with Shapiro next to him and a box of Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco. I ran out of room so I made a sign that included Garko and Betancourt. A Phillie executive is bringing in the boxes of prospects, eh eh? Good huh? Then we've got Theo Epstein dancing his way away with Victor Martinez in his shopping cart. And in case you couldn't tell, that's Trevor Crowe being lowered down from a helicopter from Columbus. Again if it was all bigger, I would have put more like Matt LaPorta in there driving the thing or something like that.

I really hope all that hype was worth it. I think it was, bug again, if I may brag. This picture is freakin' awesome.

Morning Update: Westbrook suffers another setback

Dear worth, what is going on with Jake Westbrook.

The right-hander suffered yet another setback with his elbow.

Jakester was supposed start on Sunday for Double-A Akron in his second straight rehab start, but was scratched after he had soreness in his reconstructed elbow. He'll now visit Dr. Yocum as a precaution to see what's up later today in Los Angeles.

Look this year is meaningless, so no need to rush the guy, but you'd at least like to see him get on the mound for a start or two before the season is over. It would suck if his first action back is next season. That's a long way to wait and I'm sure this rehab process for Jake has been grueling and long and drawn out, especially with the hope he could be back prior to the All-Star break.

Some of the commenters are bickering about shutting him down for the year. You don't do that. Westbrook will probably throw in the offseason just to get his strength up. He's on a different pace than everyone else. He won't have live game action to throw, but you can bet he'll spend his offseason rehabbing and throwing and getting himself ready for next year, more than a regular pitcher who just threw a whole season would.

On a side note... CPD notes that Mark Shapiro said Westbrook will be the Tribe's opening day starter next year if he's healthy. No strange thing for Jake, but it will be good to have him back honestly.

Since that story was linked, let's talk Peralta.

"People sometimes think I don't play hard," he said. "This is how I play. I don't change too much.

"Some people, when I don't do good, they think I'm not trying. But this is how I play. I do good, I do bad, I play the same."
What is with Peralta though? It's like he's the poster boy for this team. The Indians struggle in the first-half, they trade a bunch of people, bump him up and he catches fire. This is what happened last year. He wasn't horrible last year in the first half, but he was far better in the second than he was in the first. He was outstanding in the second.

What is with this team though?

They trade off veterans and the young guys just hit fire. Peralta points that out and then says he doesn't know if he'll be here past next year.

"It's crazy, no," said Peralta. "In my mind, I say, 'Wow, this is crazy.' We've traded all these guys that have been here for a long time. These young guys come in here and we win a lot of games."

"I don't know what's going to happen next year. I don't know if I'm going to be next or not," he said. "I have an option for 2011, but they don't keep anybody. You never know."

"but they don't keep anybody."

Wow.. Okay.. Remember Peralta has very fringey English, so who knows what he means to say.

Which makes his quote about the ball he caught in the stands five times more better.
"I didn't think it could get it," he said. "I just threw my glove in the stands and felt something in my glove. I said, 'Well, OK.' "
'Well, OK!"

Well, OK! Let's move on to the game yesterday.

With that win on Sunday, the Indians have now taken three-game series from the top three teams in the AL Central these past two weeks. Jimmy Leyland was right.
"We're just continuing to work, come out and play," Indians third baseman Jamey Carroll said. "It's been said that we play better when it's meaningless games, but to us, it's not meaningless games."
Not so much meaningless Jamey, but you guys play well when the pressure is off. And to all of us, even you, there is no pressure. Sorry.

I'll give tons of credit to this offense though. This is a club that has had the toughest time figuring out Jose Contreras and it looked like it was going to be one of those days. Then something happened and hey look, winner.
"I think coming back after that three-spot and putting up all those zeros was real big," Huff said. "They definitely got to me a little bit and I just had to really concentrate on the next guy and get out of that inning. Just really kept going -- stayed focused and kept going the entire game."
Whatever... I'm just tired of the second half surges. What's the point of them when it's too late? That's the most disappointing part of this whole thing. We sit here and look at this team play well, and look all teams have their good stretches. The Nationals are playing really good ball lately.

But this team has now done this three years in a row. They've played very well in the second half. The thing is the first half these past two years have not gone completely right.
"Anytime you get a chance to take the lead after being down, 3-0, it's exciting," said Carroll. "There's nothing wrong with showing a little enthusiasm. We've had that here lately. Winning can do that."
And look, I love winning. I love it just as much as the next guy. I also love it even more when the Indians win. But really now, it just. I don't know. I give up.

And of course I type those words and Firefox just crashed. No joke.

Anyway great game though yesterday. Everyone contributed in some way. Everyone had a hit minus Trevor Crowe, who still contributed as much as anyone with a walk that he would score on and a sac-fly.

Great work by the bottom of the lineup though. Toregas with three RBI and Marte with two hits. Love it.

How about that one at-bat by Marte when he kept fouling off pitches? He almost took Linebrink deep in back to back pitches.

The talk is on the pitching though, which is getting better and slowly chipping away at that bad ERA. Chris Perez is one of those guys, who had a brilliant eighth, that's really doing a good job lately. Wedge spoke on his staff.
"I think the starters, they're the backbone of the pitching staff," Wedge said. "They're the ones that give us a chance to win the game. They're the ones that can go deep into the ballgame which allows you to set up the bullpen. We've also got some young kids in the bullpen who are starting to get more comfortable and develop some confidence. We're trying to work hard to put them in positions to succeed."
The league's highest ERA is getting better though and you know I think Chris Perez put it best when he was talking about the bullpen. A lot of the problems early in the year can be attributed around when the starters were not going deep into the games. Now overall, the pitching hasn't been very good, but there have been stretches when you can say, "Yeah the pen was left out to dry for a bit."

"If two or three starters in a row can't go past the fifth inning, that really adds up innings for your bullpen," Perez said. "During the course of the year, all those extra innings add up. Now we're in August and September's coming up. We're not tired right now because of the stretch we've been in, but if we would have stayed on that path that we had been, it would have been a long two months for the bullpen.

"We were at a situation there where everybody was kind of hanging, trying to cover four or five innings a game. That's tough."


Ahhh well..

I think I've run out links and just overall stamina at this point. Expect a very very very promising Photoshop Off-Day today. There is no game with the continued Monday day's off, but this is very promising. I'm serious. This is going to be good work today.

Minor Issues: Hot Kinston and Mahoning Valley continue winning

WHAT'S THE NEWS

Jordan Brown doesn't think his shoulder injury is too serious.

"It's just inflammation," Brown said. "It's not like I'm in severe pain. It's just on certain swiings that it bothers me a little big. So right now it doesn't make any sense to push something and make it even worse and have an ongoing thing in the offseason. So we'll give it a few days, shut it down and make sure the shoulder is playable. I've been healthy the majority of the year. A lot of people can't say that."
Jordan has just not received any sort of a break when it comes to injuries. He's worked real hard this year to try and prove he's worth a ML shot, he's done that, but he still has yet to get the shot. Hopefully he gets back soon and can get that shot. If he doesn't, it would really suck.

COLUMBUS

Offensive type of a game in Columbus, but Buffalo got the best of them with a 12-8 victory.

Josh Barfield was in the two-hole on this particular day, after we thought he's fallen out of favor. 2-4 with three runs scored, a solo home run and a walk. Otay.

Matt LaPorta went deep, a two-run shot, his 14th on the season. A pair players had three hits, Lou Marson and Andy Cannizaro.

Chuck Lofgren probably had his worst outing of the year, going just 2.1 innings with five runs, only two earned, off five hits and walk.

That was nothing in compared to Michael Tejera, who gave up seven runs, yay.

AKRON

The Aeros scored just one run in their loss to New Britain. A Carlos Rivero double to score Lonnie Chisenhall, who was 1-3 for a walk.

Matt McBride continues to hit with two more.

Connor Graham started, his second start, third appearance for the Aeros. He goes six innings, gives up three runs off five hits and four walks, but yes he strikes out seven.

I think it's pretty clear the scouting report on this guy was dead on. Let's move him to the pen and just let him be a late inning relief pitcher.

Steven Wright pitches two scoreless. He's now got an ERA of 2.76.

KINSTON

The hot streak continues for the K-Tribe as they double-up on the Salem Sox.

Only Adam Davis had multiple hits, it was a well spread offensive attack for Kinston. Cord Phelps tripled, Ole Sheldon knocks in a run, Kyle Haines with a double and RBI, and Richard Martinez with a RBI.

Bo Pickens knocked in two runs himself. The first six hitters in the lineup scored all six runs. Roman Pena was the only hitter without a run scored, run batted in, or a hit. One of Adam Davis' hits was a solo home run.

Bryan Price made his second start and he was good against his former team. He pitched six innings, gave up two runs off five hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He picked up the win with Kyle Landis picking up save number three after a scoreless ninth.

LAKE COUNTY
Rare Sunday off-day for the Captains. Back home in East Lake against Augusta.

MAHONING VALLEY

Come young Childs, do it how you do it. The Valley wins again behind a extra inning jack. Despite getting out-hit by Vermont and giving up a lead late, the Scrappers win in eleven.

Jason Kipnis with two more hits, he goes the entire game with six plate appearances at the DH spot, he doubled and scored two runs.

Two-RBI days for Jesus Brito and the immortal Casey Frawley who now has 14 RBI in just 16 games with Mahoning Valley. He had 5 in just 14 games with AZL.

It was Dwight Childs though who won it for the Valley in the top of the eleventh with his first professional home run. Cory Burns, who blew the save despite not giving up a run (it was a inherited runner), pitched three and two thirds, earned his third win and finished it up in the 11th.

Marty Popham started, gave up four runs, two of them earned, off seven hits in four innings.

ARIZONA LEAGUE

Off-day for the AZL Club.

8.09.2009

Morning Update: Tomo Ohka = Finished

I like Tomo Ohka... I've said it.. I like the guy because he throws strikes.

But a pitcher as old as Ohka doesn't have much of a lifespan after awhile. He got his last shot, but that has run it's course.

He's finished.

Sorry Tomo. It's been real brother, but your time is up.

Justin Masterson went his sixty pitches and was fantastic. The one run he gave up was questionable as he should have been out of the inning because I believe Beckham was out. 'Nother story, 'nother day.

Masterson was great in his four innings. He even asked Wedge to let him go more. I LOVE This guy!

"Actually, I was happy with how I felt at the end," Masterson said. "I still felt pretty strong as the game went on. I got a littler more crisp and felt more comfortable."

"Did I want to?" Wedge said. "Yeah. I most definitely wanted to. But you're not going to put somebody at risk, health-wise, and we're still trying to build him back up from a reliever to a starter. He obviously started earlier this year, but it's been awhile since he's been back at that. We're just trying to build him up the right way."

No disagreements here. Don't screw with the plan. This season is over and if you even risk it, especially since what we gave up to get Masterson, you are dead.

What I do want to point out about last night offensively.

The bases loaded and one out situation. What gives?

Hafner and Peralta strike out back to back against this no-name rookie? Seriously, what were they both swinging at? Pathetic stuff there, pathetic stuff.

Chris Perez flashed back to that horrid debut as a Indian and if you were watching him throw to Thome, maybe you thought it was going to be duplication.

"I flashed back to my first game," said Perez. "I was a little jumpy my first batter. But luckily I threw a good slider and was able to get Thome out. It was a ball. It broke down and in to him, but it was a pretty good pitch."

"I really don't think I'm doing that much different than my first two appearances here, but the results are different," he said. "I'm trusting my stuff a little more. I didn't do it Friday, but I've been getting ahead of guys. It makes it so much easier to put them away.

Perez was amped up in that game, you could tell and that's why he did the same things he did then, but now he's having success. He's settled in, which is great to see.

And hey Perez can really established himself as a big part next year with the rest of this season. As Jensen Lewis pointed out, it's going to be open competition, ESPECIALLY in the pen for late inning jobs.

It was planned to have Kelly Shoppach catch the first two games, but I'm sure there were no objections to start yesterday's game after he killed everyone on Friday.

CPD link above notes that Wyatt Toregas could start today, which is perfect lead in to this story of the rookie catcher.

I'll still never forget Toregas saying he had no clue how he got his first major league hit. Which is fitting since he doesn't remember the swing he took. He'll forget, but I remember.
"Honestly, I don't even remember the swing," said Toregas, who lined a single to left field in his Major League debut off Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello in the bottom of the third inning on Aug. 1. "I remember him releasing it, and the next thing I know, the ball was on its way. Everything was just going too fast, I wasn't like computing. I just hit it, I went to first, and when I got there, I was like, 'Wow, what just happened?'"
Gotta like this kid's perserverance though. He started last year in Triple-A, struggled, was sent to Akron when Gem was hitting well and turned it on. Was a rumored odd-man out with the acquisition of Carlos Santana and the un-need for so many catchers on the 40-man and the fact that Gimenez could play multiple positions didn't help him.

Yet here he is. Triple-All-Star and now major leaguer. Great for him.
"I always had the confidence that I'd make it, or else I wouldn't keep trying," Toregas said. "But I mean of course there were setbacks along the way. You go back in the locker room and you sit down and you're like, 'Man, what am I doing?' But then there's those days where you come back and you get four hits, you're like, 'All right, I'm ready to roll now. I'm going to show people what's going on.' I just think you've got to put your time in, and you've got to work hard. And then when your break comes, it comes."
Terry Pluto's Sunday notes are alllll about the Indians since he was on vacation. We've yet to hear Pluto's reaction on the trade, which is perhaps the reason there is still so much panic. Pluto usually calms the masses. Strap in because Pluto has a lot of notes and opinions and I'm going to chime in as well.

A few notes first..

Pluto says the Rockies are planning to let Betancourt become a free agent.

About 12 million in payroll was saved this season by trading the players they traded and 25 million next year for the obligations they have. Let's also not forget the contracts of Masa Kobayashi and David Dellucci will also not burden this team next year.

Pluto favors all three trades of Betancourt, Garko, and DeRosa because they are easily replaceable parts. I agree, although DeRosa's leadership is hard to replace. Still we lost someone far-more irreplaceable in terms of leadership.

I asked this question and now Terry is. Who are the Dolans selling this team to? Anyone have an answer yet? It would be hard to get fair value for the Indians at this state of the game, even with a growing TV network in the deal, which isn't as successful as people hoped, as Pluto notes.

To the deals. Pluto says the Indians believe Martinez will be more of a first baseman than a catcher by the time he's a free agent in 2010. Which just presents a whole new different look at things with Beau Mills, Matt LaPorta, and Jordan Brown all in the minors. Carlos Santana has the catchers spot, but what? What man? Pluto says it's quite possible that Martinez would have controlled his negotiations. That's how much he wanted to stay in Cleveland.

Pluto says the Yankees would have added Phil Hughes to a package for Cliff Lee while Boston would have not given up Buchholz. I'm fine with the package we got from Boston to be quite honest. If the Yankees gave us Hughes, what else would they have given us? Not much, which makes me favor the two arms we got from Philly there.

GREAT GREAT GREAT Statistic here and I'll shut up.

Since 1998, the year CC was drafted, the Indians have produced three pitchers that they've drafted and developed under their own care the whole way through that have made 50 big league starts. This doesn't include international signings like Fausto Carmona. Those pitchers are: CC Sabathia, Check. Jeremy Sowers, Ahhhhg, and Jeremy Guthrie, ahhhhhhg. Guthrie didn't even make those starts with Cleveland and Sowers is Ahhhhhhg.

That has to change and hopefully Brad Grant has hit gold already with the likes of House, Haley, and Berger.

Final verdict from Pluto: Thumbs up on Martinez's deal to Boston because while Martinez will be missed, we've pointed out it had to be done. Lee however is a deal Pluto can't get behind. He says wait till next year if the market was soft and you could use him as a leader next year for all the youngsters.

Pluto says the Lee deal lacked a real superstar, but doesn't discredit the idea that Carrasco or Knapp could become stars, hell no one thought Sizemore would turn into what he did.