7.31.2010

The Rundown: The Trading Post

Well, three of the five trade-able pieces are now gone.

Last night as the Tribe got beaten down by the Jays in Toronto, Austin Kearns was the next player dealt as he was removed from the game early and this time it couldn't have been an injury.

After the game, it was announced Kearns was dealt to New York for a PTBNL or Cash.

This was on the same day the most recently traded player, good old Jhonny Peralta made his Tiger debut and, of course, he did something that would be illogical.

So Kearns is gone, Peralta is gone, Branyan's been gone... Who's next?

Is someone next?

It may not be today, but it sounds like the club could move Jake Westbrook, pre/post non-waiver deadline, there is interest in him, especially now with Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee off the table. Is Kerry Wood going to get dealt after today's deadline? It sounds like he will be activated today for the game against Toronto. And heck, with all the rough starting pitching and Talbot's injury, the bullpen needs all the help they can get.

Let's start with the latest.


[A FAREWELL SALUTE]

Manny Acta was a big Austin Kearns fan, but he was still happy to see Kearns get the opportunity to win this year.

"I can't say enough about what this guy has done for us," Acta said. "Me being familiar with him, I have a soft spot for this guy -- spending two and a half years with him over there in D.C. He came over here in Spring Training with no spot guaranteed or anything for the first time in his career. He earned the spot and pretty much carried this club for a month or so when Grady Sizemore went down and some of the other guys were struggling. 

First sentence sums it up. You can't say enough about what he did. You bring a guy in on the cheap, he steps in and produces when your team is going through some injuries, and he provides a nice veteran presence on the ball club by leading by example.

Now you can say whatever you want about trading him, but that's coming out ahead. When you sign a guy for dirt cheap and get some good production from him, then trade him for something of value (whether it is cash or, as Shapiro is stating, a prospect with major league value) that is good business.

We are looking at two options here for Shapiro. He can take the cash, however much it is, it may not be a whole heck of a lot, but I'd have to imagine it would be enough to sign one of those high school draft picks. Or he can just take the player and we'll have to take his word on it being someone of value. If they do take the player, I have a feeling they either have the budget, or are planning on creating the budget to start getting some of these draft picks signed, be it a trade for Westbrook or Wood.

In the long term, this officially means Michael Brantley will get his opportunity. There really are no other options at this point, even with Trevor Crowe in center right now. Brantley will be back, and back soon.

But right now unless this club places Travis Hafner on the disabled list, they can't call Brantley up because of the ten day rule in him being optioned out. So for the short term it sounds like they'll activate Kerry Wood and go with a stocked bullpen for the next two-three games.

Now if Jake Westbrook is dealt today, they'll be put into a bind and because it is a 1 PM start, I think it would be difficult to get someone from Columbus (playing in Louisville to boot) up to Toronto in time to start. Plus Justin Germano was kind of just used yesterday.

I think if Hafner is ready to get back in there as a DH, Shelley Duncan will be in left today. If not you'll see Duncan at DH, maybe Nix in left, Marte at third and we'll go from there. If worse comes to worse and we do trade Westbrook, Marte didn't pitch yesterday, so I'd have to imagine he'd be available for an inning or two.

What? You knew it was coming.

I think this also opens up the opportunity for Jordan Brown at some point. Brown's bat is worthy of a shot and especially if Hafner's shoulder issues are going to flare up, then it would be the perfect opportunity to get him up. Still Trevor Crowe is a nice little player and seems to be hitting the ball well right now, but at some point, the club is going to have to set him aside as just a fourth outfielder, give Brantley the reigns in center and that will open up the opportunity to see Jordan Brown in left field.

[TALBOT TO THE DL]

This club is going to need a starter for Mitch Talbot now as well. Mitch hit the DL almost immediately, so you can cross him out for at least three starts after he suffered a mid-back strain in Thursday's game against New York.

The Talbot DL move set off a chain that brought Jensen Lewis back to Cleveland, yet again, and Justin Germano up for the first time. Germano took Peralta's 40-man roster spot, but you have to imagine that it will be short lived with Kerry Wood coming back soon.

The Kearns trade may prolong his stay, but Germano is just up here because the bullpen has been worked hard. Lewis however takes Jess Todd's spot and I think Lewis may be here to stay for a little longer than one week.

Who does the club go with now in Talbot's spot? Whoever it is, they figure to get at least three starts, so maybe this could be the time to give Carlos Carrasco a shot. Now if my math is right, Carrasco should be slated to go today for the Clippers (he hasn't pitched since the 25th, so his turn has to be coming up), which is another interesting thing to consider when thinking about a Westbrook trade.

(EDIT 10:05: Looks like Marty Popham has been called up from Kinston to make a spot start for the Clippers. Not sure if Carrasco was originally scheduled, but it may something in terms of what is happening Tuesday, at least, or it could be in preparation in dealing Westbrook Maybe they'll fly Carrasco out to Toronto just in case. All speculation on my part... Other than Popham getting a spot-start, of course.)

Carlos however went four innings in his last start on Sunday and the club may still be hesitant to throw him out there when he isn't coming off the best of situations in Columbus.

I think in the end we'll see David Huff up here taking Talbot's spot. Huff lined up perfectly with Talbot, pitching on Thursday and with the club needing an arm for Tuesday, I think that is when we'll see David Huff again.

It's unclear how long Talbot will be out, but when you are talking about a back issue with a pitcher, that could really stop them from doing things such as, uh throwing. So if he doesn't throw for a week or so, it may take him awhile to get back up and going and he could probably miss more than just three starts.

[OH JHONNY]

I was in the car on way to the game on Wednesday, just killing time on my phone, watching twitter, texting, trying to do something on the car ride in... Then the tweet came through from Anthony Castrovince that a lineup change was coming and I immediately thought Kearns trade.

Of course I was wrong and when I got to the ballpark, I checked again (after I ran from the little park area with the trees in front of the main gates to the main gates with it pouring rain) to see that Jhonny Peralta had been dealt.


Look, I appreciate the season Peralta put up in 2007 and the job he did in the playoffs that year. I appreciate how he came in to take over for a legendary gold glove shortstop and took his lumps...

But man was he agonizing to watch this year at the plate.

And now for him to go out in his Detroit Tiger debut and hit two home runs? I'm calling shenanigans. I know they say Peralta truly cares and he's a guy that may not show the fire, but it is there.

BS, at least this season. Maybe even last season.

I'm getting the vibe that Jhonny Peralta wasn't really all there this season and wasn't really giving it his all. Now he's with a team that is competing for something and the light has clicked on for him. Oh it's time to play baseball.

Garbage, straight up. How else do you explain his horrendous season and then in his first game with a new team, he goes deep twice. I pinpoint lack of focus and think he didn't have the focus here that he does now. And don't think, because I've brought this up before.... Don't think for a second that third base didn't have something to do with it.

I still maintain that Peralta was a little miffed at that move, not so much the move, but when the move happened. Still the writing was on the wall with him, he should have known it was coming. But I'm pretty sure that the move got to Jhonny and the attitude he had towards it wasn't one you want from a team player.

Now in return for Peralta's services, the Tigers dealt left-handed starting Giovanni Soto. Yes he has the same name as the Cubs catcher, but no he doesn't spell it the same way, he plays a different position, and he's coming from a different organization, so let's be real with the jokes.

Soto is an interesting player. He wasn't in Detroit's top 30 prospects according to BA, but he's only 19, he'll report to Lake County and up to this date, he's had an impressive career.

Soto, like Peralta isn't even changing divisions. Heck, Soto just had to switch clubhouses at the time of the trade because his Western Michigan team was playing at Lake County. Soto is set to make his debut tonight with the Captains at South Bend.

In 2010 with Western Michigan, Soto is 6-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 82 innings. This is really his first full professional season, he did play for the Gulf Coast League Tigers starting in six games and pitching in 13 total, but he's young, he's left-handed, and so far he's put up great numbers. Not a bad return for someone who was not going to be with this team next year.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

You have to wonder if the rehab of Anthony Reyes will be accelerated with the injuries to the pitching staff and the potential of Jake Westbrook being dealt. What if Westbrook is dealt, say by the first week and a half of August? Reyes will be pitching again on Sunday for Akron and if he gets up to six innings in the next few starts after that, he may be an option sooner than we all thought.

Starting to worry about Travis Hafner. You would have thought the shoulder issues were a thing in the past given that he's gone this long without them flaring up, but they're back. The random days off here and there was starting to make me skeptical of things, left-hander or not, it was just too often Acta was sitting him.

Alright we have to talk about Andy Marte pitching, don't we? The guy STRUCK OUT NICK SWISHER! I mean come on! He didn't walk anyone in a game where Tribe REAL Starting pitchers walked 12. He got Robinson Cano, the best hitter in the American League to ground out. This is a third baseman who's never stepped foot on a pitching mound other than to talk to a pitcher, never to be one.

I know all he threw was fastballs in the 80 MPH range (topping out as high as 89, that's harder throwing than Jeremy Sowers), but his pitches had some movement to them and guess what, HE WAS THROWING STRIKES! Is it going to be sad that when Marte is long gone, and we mention his name, this may be the greatest moment of his career as an Indian? I mean most will probably still think back and think of him being a bust, but then they'll remember the inning of relief he once pitched against the Yankees where he struck out a Major League .300 hitter.

Holy Crap.. Now that's a party.

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