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10.04.2012

Morning Rundown: The One With the Season Finale

Nino Colla | Thursday, October 04, 2012 | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
Yesterday I put September as the date for the recap... I think in my subconscious, I'm not ready for the season to end.

October 3rd, 2012
Chicago White Sox - 9
Cleveland Indians - 0
W: Gavin Floyd (12-11) L: David Huff (3-1)

[BOXSCORE]

You're crazy Nino, crazy!

Whatever, I like baseball. I don't really want the general aspect of baseball to end. I wish we could just start the offseason this morning and end it at the end of the month and start again in November. I enjoy baseball and I will enjoy the postseason, even without our beloved Tribe.

Here's the skinny. This game sucked. The offense wasn't really there, pretty much having their high-moment on Tuesday with the comeback and the walk-off victory. That's all there is to say about that. I can pretty much be content with repeating exactly what I said on Tuesday in regards to Monday's game.

So what's the point of going further?

Because the Indians played 162, so I have to finish strong as well. Respect the game people.

The Indians didn't play in 162 though, sorry to say. Sandy Alomar Jr. put it blankly, they didn't pitch and they didn't hit, which was evident by the final score. They also didn't play flawless defense, so there's that.
Photo - AP via Yahoo! Sports

I'm good on David Huff. I really am. I've seen enough. I know he gave up only three earned runs out of the seven total he gave up, but I really am done. It was only a matter of time for him and we're seeing that he is just the same old mediocre David Huff. He is not an answer and it is time for the Indians to move on.

Time to handle business, not continue to keep going back to these same old tired options like Huff. I've seen enough and I saw enough a few starts ago, regardless of how well he pitched. There's nothing special there, sorry to say.

"We've got a lot of young guys that are hungry to play for next year," Huff said. "The Indians need to make some decisions this offseason. Hopefully, we're all back here again. We're all like a big family."
I don't think I can do it David, sorry. It just isn't working there. Last night kind of showed that, regardless of who's fault it really was that a lot of runs scored, Huff is not someone that puts his team in the position to win most of the time. This team has other guys to look at and other directions they need to go.  Huff noted in this game he could only throw his fastball for a strike and it was going right down the middle. Do we really want someone who does that most of the time out?

The Indians were clearly looking toward next season. It seemed Tuesday was their last game given the emotion and the fact that they won and put it all out there. That was their World Series and on Wednesday, it was just kind of, okay let's just go out there and get it over with. Jason Kipnis talked about next year after the game and he said something very interesting.

"I think there's going to be a lot of new faces coming in next year," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "Just by the way the organization is headed, with contracts coming up to an end and stuff like that, there's going to be new faces in here. There's going to be some changes, but I think they're all going to be made for the better and I think they're all going to be trying to get this organization going the right way. I'm excited."
You have to think Kipnis already went through his exit interview, so maybe he knows something we or others don't. He's going to be a mainstay of this club and perhaps the brass divulged to him that they are planning to make some bigger changes than one would think. Why else would Kipnis go out and say stuff about where the organization is headed and that there are going to be changes.

Random Details...

Who the hell was that guy screaming in the top of the ninth inning when the White Sox were batting? Seriously what is up?

Dan Johnson is not real. Let's make sure to get him for the final game of next season. Five RBI? Three home runs? What doesn't this guy do in the season's final game? Oh um, he doesn't suck.

Vinnie Pestano struggled in his final outing, which damaged him a bit in his final numbers, but he struck out a pair and finishes the year with 74 punch outs in 69 innings of work. It was also his 70th appearance and it was the reason Alomar sent him out, because it meant a lot to Vinnie.

No Michael Brantley in this season's final game, instead it was Jason Donald back in the center field spot, going 0-for-3. Donald must have received some love for that hit, but also for getting another nod in center.

Jason Kipnis had a good night despite everyone else not. He had a few hits and if Choo had been sent and scored on his double late, it would have given Kipnis the team-lead in RBI with 77. Instead he'll share it with Carlos Santana.

The final at-bat for Travis Hafner received a standing ovation. I'm really glad the crowd there realized the situation and showed some well deserved respect. Hafner did get a hit in his final game of the season and what could be his final game as an Indian. The die-hard fans made their presence felt with that one. Great job. He even recognized it and perhaps knew that it would be it for him.

"It was a special moment to have the fans do that," Hafner said. "It was a great moment. It's something I'll remember forever. I kind of wanted to acknowledge it. They've been great to me. This city has been great to me. I kind of wanted to thank them for everything."
I've always been and always will be a fan of Travis Hafner. If he does end up leaving, I will give him a proper send off, but until that day comes, I'll just sit back. He's good people and it has been a blast watching him for the better part of the past decade.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Well, yesterday it was Chris Perez and today, it is Shin-Soo Choo as he became the topic of discussion somehow. The media asked, whatcha wanna do Choo?

"Yeah, next year. I want to come back," Choo said prior to the season finale with the White Sox. "But, as I've said earlier, I can't control that. I want to stay here, but it's not easy. The team makes the decision. If the team says, 'Go,' I'll go. I hope I can come back here."
Yeah he can't control if they trade him, but he certainly CAN control signing an extension, so uh, you actually can control the situation Choo. I think sometimes we underestimate just how involved these players are in their actual negotiations. Some maybe are depending on their representation. Some though, and I think this is safe to say with Choo, are completely shut off. Detached from what is going on because their agent is handling every aspect of it.

I think Scott Boras is handling every aspect of Choo's negotiations. And that's never a good thing, I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you that. And while he does that, Choo is going to toe the line and cover his ass for a possible departure by simply saying from the start he wants to play for the playoffs.

"My first goal is always that the team makes the playoffs," Choo said of his season. "We didn't make the playoffs this year. The second goal is I want to play as many games as possible. I think I made that goal this year. I played 155 games this year. I'm happy. I can't hit 20 homers or hit .300, but I played many games and I'm healthy. I'm happy with this season."
I've made my stance on Choo. He needs to be traded because he is not long for this franchise. It has become rather apparent that he has no interest in sticking around, regardless of what he's said. He wants to win and that is fine. He could do that in Cleveland if he wanted to but he'd probably rather not. So let's just move on while his value is back to a high point and teams would pay a pretty penny for him.

While this team is in transition, there's no better time. Choo is a good baseball player that can bring a lot to a team, but he is seeking some serious dinero that I don't think the Indians are willing to shell out, or else he'd be signed already. Ship him off and bring in a few pieces to help this team perhaps in 2013, but mostly beyond.

Sandy Alomar Jr. will actually interview for the managerial post today. Surprise surprise. Terry Francona comes in Friday and Sandy will jump out of the pan and into the fire, but he's ready.

"I know that I can do it," Alomar said. "I did a few interviews before with three different organizations and I felt like they were great. They complimented me and they called me back and they were very happy about how things went. This is a different scenario."
Alomar also said he can't compete with what Francona brings to the table as far as his resume goes. The beauty is that in baseball they don't really look at the paper resume you place in front of them (if they even do that). You can ultimately try and sell yourself, which I think Alomar can really do.

"I do my business. If it's good enough for the organization, then it will be good enough. If it's not, I'm sure they'll find someone else."
Sandy is his own man and he has his own sort of argument to make as to why he should be the manager. He has things he can say that Francona can not and he can bring a sense of "new" to the table. He should try and capitalize on that aspect. It is the biggest thing going for him and the fact that he has a lot of support should do nothing but help.

He also noted that after the game the six games gave him a ton of experience that he didn't have before. That's also something he can hang his hat on and say that he's done, where he couldn't before.

The Plain Dealer mentioned no other actual candidates, but did say former assistant and Seattle bench coach Robby Thompson could be a candidate.

Count Bill Livingston among those who does not think Terry Francona is the right choice.

Francona is the sexy pick to be the Indians manager. The rings in Boston make a strong case for him. And maybe he can flip the switch and manage counter to how he made his name. But it is unlikely.
Livingston's biggest point is that the style, the type of talent, the situation in terms of payroll and finances, are not really indicative of what Francona was successful with in Boston. What made him successful and what he handled in Boston fit his style and personality. That same situation is not exactly the same one as he faces in Cleveland.

It's a point well taken, but I'm not sure Livingston articulated it well enough.

[SITE & RUNDOWN UPDATE]

Some of you read this on the blog, some of you read this on The Cleveland Fan. Regardless of where you read it, I must take this time to thank you for doing it period. I'm most appreciative to the following this ordeal has gathered throughout the past two years. I know blog readers will notice I've started doing things a little differently, but with my life the way it is now, it has to be this way and this is really the niche we've found.

That all being said, Morning Rundown will take its usual break until April 3rd the day after the Indians first game. I'm not going anywhere though, in fact, we're just getting started. This is going to be one intriguing offseason (as it always is) not just for what will happen but for the implications. I'll be there at every turn.

Last year was not a good year and it didn't materialize as how I would have wanted to. But things are going back to the standard that you could expect from me back in 2010. And if you know that, then you know we go head first. I have a lot of fun things planned from here until spring training when the good old pitchers and catchers report.

I don't have the schedule ironed out yet, but I will soon and when I do, you'll start seeing the offseason fun get started. Normally around these parts I like to recap the minor league squads and while I won't go into the depth I have in the past, there will be some sort of recap involving them all.

I also like handing out awards, which will happen regardless of the salty taste left in our mouths from this season. As always you can expect that. I still haven't delivered on my Choo-Gangnam Style promise either, so that's still unfinished business.

I plan to share this all with the audience at The Cleveland Fan, so expect some fun this offseason. I know you may be a little drained from the season. Heck, I am too. But the Hot Stove can energize anyone and even if the Indians won't be involved in any high-priced free agents, they make moves and there are some big questions needing to be answered, many of which we will pose and attempt to answer here in this space.

Oh and uh, we still need a manager. So that's there too.

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