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1.29.2010

Carmona Trade; Press Tour Wrap-Up; Lofton to Tribe HOF and More

Nino Colla | Friday, January 29, 2010 | | | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
I've awaken this Friday morning to read the ridiculousness that is the rumors about trading Fausto Carmona to make salary room to sign second baseman Orlando Hudson.

Yeah if that statement doesn't make much sense to you, it's because it doesn't make much sense to me either.

This would be a mistake of epic proportions and I don't think I'm exaggerating here.

Now let's clear this up and go with the wording here from the Rosenthal post.

He starts out with the headline "Indians trying to make room for Hudson signing."

Yet if you read the first words of the first paragraph, it reads...
The Indians have explored the idea of trading right-hander Fausto Carmona to clear money for free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, but the possibility is unlikely to come to fruition, according to major-league sources.
"HAVE explored the idea" and "possibility is UNLIKELY"

Let me list the reasons this makes no sense.

  • This doesn't remotely fall in line with the Indians offseason or their recent game plan. If they traded Fausto Carmona, it would be to dump salary and not add anyone. They wouldn't dump salary to add salary.
  • The Indians put enormous time and effort into Fausto Carmona in the past six to seven months. Throwing that all away before you see the results of that time and effort would be foolish on their part.
  • If Carmona does turn it around in a big way, his salary and contract go from bad to an extremely smart and team friendly deal for a good pitcher.
  • The value you will get in return for Fausto Carmona will not be very good. Teams will not trade you what you perceive to be equal value. If this possibility was explored, I bet this was what killed it. After what Shapiro and everyone saw Carmona do, they'll want more than teams will give them. Teams won't give them much because of the recent numbers and that is their right.
  • Carmona is going to make just short of $5 Million next year. He isn't exactly a burden.
  • Orlando Hudson would play second base, taking time away from Luis Valbuena, who we need to see if he can be the guy at second. Second base is a weak spot in the upper levels of the system, but they are hardly in a position to need an answer THIS YEAR, especially a veteran option like Hudson.
  • If the Indians added Orlando Hudson to their squad, it would be a sign that they intend on competing. If they wanted to compete, they stood a better chance at keeping Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez for this season.
  • From my calculations, the Indians payroll isn't scheduled to be much more than $60 million, if it even reaches that. By the end of the year, the salaries of Kerry Wood and Jake Westbrook will or already will have come off the books. This team doesn't need to dump any more salary.
  • This whole idea just grew even more dumber by the time I finished this list.
So... Is there anyone convinced this is a good idea?

Is there anyone convinced there is some truth to this rumor?

I'm still skeptical myself. I don't take things really seriously until I start seeing one our guys close to the situation talking about it. Ken Rosenthal and guys like Buster Olney are insiders and good reporters, but I get leery when they report things about the Tribe, just because it's usually something ridiculous like this.

It's the type of thing MLB Trade Rumors will pick up on, because it's the type of thing that usually is a big sort of thing.

I just don't think I can buy this right now.

We'll monitor this throughout the day if it because more than just a flat-lined rumor. But just call me skeptical right now, because of the circumstances and all those reasons I listed above.

We've got other news to tackle this morning and if my computer would cooperate and stop being stupid, we'll get to them. The winter press tour wrapped up yesterday and we've got lots to go over from the results of that.

I mentioned the lack of star power on this year's trip, which seems to be planned considering a lot of the stars have been traded and the team probably figures with sour opinions floating around, maybe they shouldn't pump the "hype machine" as much as they have in the past, which makes sense in a way. A theme also seems to be the parading of the young talent, the players the Indians are moving forward with as a young club. Guys like Perez, Sipp and Brantley.

The lack of star power does let us peak into those names like Chris Perez and Tony Sipp though.

Perez was the subject of a Plain Dealer video, that you can watch here. He talks about his transition to the AL, the way he finished last season, his amazing stretch near the end of the year, and how he's feeling going into 2010 with his role and injury status. One of the many odds and ends from Castrovince's latest blog entry is the plan for the closers role if something were to happen to Kerry Wood. The question was posed to Assistant GM Chris Antonetti and all he did was point to Perez.

The feature is also about Tony Sipp, Perez's left handed mate in the pen. Sipp is coming off a good rookie debut and will look to be competing along side Perez in the setup role as the lefty.

"They put me in a lot of situations where even I didn't know how it would work out," Sipp said. "That one stuck out above everything because it was so early in my career."

"With our team being so young, you never know if they're going to start over from square one," Sipp said. "Ultimately, I'd love to be that late-inning, go-to guy."

Tony Sipp, Trevor Crowe, and pitching coach Tim Belcher got a tour of the historic Ohio State Reformatory during their press stop in Mansfield. Anthony Castrovince tagged along for the ride.

The building known as the "bullpen" oddly enough, was the site for filming of movies such as "Air Force One." The article isn't really about that though. It's mostly about Tony Sipp and you can read more quotes from him there.

Another young pitcher getting some talk is David Huff. I watched his interview on STO the other day and he talked about a variety of things. Things like Jake Westbrook's health, Carmona's progress, Manny Acta and more. But Terry Pluto takes a look into Huff's chances this year and Huff talks about what he learned from 2009.
"I was behind in the count and walking guys," Huff said. "What I learned is that I have to be more aggressive."

"I thought I pitched decently, but I know I'm better than what I showed last year," he said. "I just want a chance to prove it."
I don't want to jinx him, but David Huff is a guy I'm feeling really confident about this year. He's gone under the radar and I think he's going to take a positive step this season. He went through those growing pains that I think every player who reaches the major leagues should go through. He didn't have immediate success. If he did, I'd expect some drop off. But he had some struggles and then he showed flashes.

I think those flashes are going to turn consistent sometime this year and Huff is going to be a nice surprise.

Another young player that's been on this press tour is Michael Brantley and we need to talk about him. According to Mike himself, he put on ten pounds of "good weight" in the offseason. Good weight meaning, muscle.

"I just want to be more physically and mentally ready, each and every day," he said. "Sometimes last year I did have some injuries with my right ankle. Now that I'm 100 percent healthy, I want to stay that way the entire season."

"I put on some weight, but it's all good weight," he said. "I'm the strongest I've ever been in my life. ... I've been running each and every day, so I'm still light on my legs. I couldn't be happier with my weight and conditioning."

Oooh.. The one problem that everyone seems to have with Mike Brantley is his power. I could care less, but if the extra poundage helps him hit a few more home runs without compromising his game. I'm alllll for it.

What I love more than that is, despite Acta saying Brantley has a leg up on his competition for the left field job, Mike is staying humble.
"I don't think I earned anything," Brantley said. "I think I earned a chance to win a job out of spring, and that's all I can ask for. I just want to go out each and every day and show them what I can do. Whatever's best for the team, that's what I'm going to do."
Acta did remain firm that they aren't handing out jobs though. Another tidbit from the CastroTurf entry was that Acta said they are still exploring the possibility of making another addition or two before camp opens. Unsure if that was the Hudson thing they were talking about or if it was simply an idea of adding a few more guys on minor league deals, but he said it.

Let's wrap up this press tour stuff with one last note. Remember Luke Holko? One of the good stories coming out of the tour was the visit Chris Perez, Aaron Laffey, David Huff and Chris Antonetti paid to little Luke, who keeps improving day by day.
"Just seeing him smile means so much," Perez said. "He's only four years old, and he's already gone through a lifetime of surgery and rehab and doctors. He hasn't had a chance to be a kid. What I do for a living is very insignificant compared to what's important in life, and that's family. So bringing a smile to his face means a lot to me."
Luke is making progress walking with a walker and soon may be able to do so without the aid of one. The three players autographed a ball for Luke and Slider even made an appearance. Good to see he's progressing.

The Indians Community Outreach Department now has a blog. You can track the latest happenings within the community and the Indians by visiting it here.

'Tis the season for prospect talk. Books will start coming out rather soon and experts are publishing their top lists. One well respected name that has put out his list is Keith Law of ESPN.

It's very good for us Indians fans. With the infusion of talent, the Indians are expected to be topping a lot of these lists in the next few months. Law is a well respected name in the prospect scene and he has good things to say.

It's all Insider content which you need to pay for if you want to read the in-depth reports he put together. But here are the basic numbers.

Carlos Santana - 3rd

Lonnie Chisenhall - 26th

Hector Rondon - 51st

Michael Brantley - 71st

Nick Hagaonde - 100th

That's five names in the top-100 and third to I believe only Boston and Tampa Bay, who had six names in the top 100 each. Both were ahead of Cleveland in the top organizational rankings Law put out, as well as Texas, who came in at number one.

Law said that the Indians continue to build without a ton of impact prospects (aside from Chisenhall and Santana) but don't misunderstand him. There are a ton of guys in that Single-A level that he believes could break away from the pack and make this organization stronger and guys like Tony Lastoria have echoed those thoughts. Looking at Law's top ten, some of those names include guys like Abner Abreu, TJ House, Alex White, Jason Knapp and even Kelvin De La Cruz, who all have tremendous upside.

Law also ranks the top ten by organization. And you know the top five given the Top 100 rankings. The other five are as follows: Abner Abreu, Alex White, Nick Weglarz, Jason Knapp, TJ House.

Along with some others, Law is a name I respect within the prospect game. But he isn't he only one putting out lists.

MLB.com put out their own lately and when I say MLB.com, I obviously mean Jonathan Mayo.

May put out his Top 50 prospect list and it's not as friendly to the Indians as Law's was. Santana checks in at 11, a number a lot of people seem to think is low for him and Mike Brantley checks in at 46, a number that seems a little high for him. No Chisenhall at all?

Mayo has 4 Royals, Rays and Rangers in his top 50 and 3 Red Sox. For comparison, Law has three Royals in his top 100 and just one int he top 50.

Speaking of prospects... Jordan Brown has a video out talking about numerous things, including his September call up snub.

Finally... one last note from Castro in the blog entry. Sandy Alomar speaks on the Roberto Alomar snub.
"We are so competitive and so emotionally involved in the game. Even at 6 or 7 years old, we want to win. It's not just about having fun. So when we come here, we are exposed to many things that people don't understand from us. Sometimes we don't run because we're frustrated. It's not because we don't want to hustle. Sometimes we throw our glove. ... And sometimes we snap. So people don't understand the way we play. I'm not calling anybody a bigot or anything. They just don't understand."
Alomar also spoke about Kenny Lofton's induction to the Indians Hall of Fame and said Kenny should also receive consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He's happy for Kenny and said he was the "igniter" for the Indians organization for many years. Lofton is unsure of his potential to get in to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he wanted to let everyone know he played the game the right way.
"It's hard for me to say," said the Indians' franchise leader in steals. "I don't know how they judge players to get into the Hall of Fame."

"I was a guy who never did it," said Lofton. "Never tried to do it. Never wanted to do it.

"But again, I played against guys who were obviously doing it, so my competition level had to be at a certain level to be able to compete with those guys who were, what you call, cheating.

"I was not a cheater. I hope they take a look at that and see what I did during that period and take it into account."

So what's K doing now a days and is he officially retired?
"I'm in shape like I'm not [retired]," said Lofton, who busies himself by running a production company in Los Angeles. "People think I should be playing, but it wasn't up to me. I'm just trying to get my golf handicap score down and that's about it right now."
Lofton will be entering the Indians Hall of Fame this summer with the late Cy Slapnicka, a Vice President and General Manager of the Indians back in the late '30s. He will go in as a Distinguished Member, joining last year's inductees Bill Veeck and Dick Jacobs. Lofton told reporters he was ecstatic about the honor and that he become overwhelmed with the news.

That's about all I got today. It was a jam-packed morning, that's for sure.

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