I'm gonna raise a fuss, I'm gonna raise a holler
Lots of feedback coming from Saturday’s Casey Blake trade — in my e-mail and mailbag inboxes and in the comment section below. It’s possible I’ve received as many angry e-mails over this trade as I did about the Sabathia trade, which is surprising.
Here’s my feedback, for what it’s worth. I am a bit surprised at the return the Indians got for Blake — a soon-to-be 35-year-old infielder in the last two months of his contract. All I know about Jon Meloan and Carlos Santana is what I’ve read and heard about them the last few days. Meloan obviously didn’t take too well to starting work, but he has the potential to help out in the bullpen, and Santana appears to be a good pick-up, given the dearth of catching talent in professional baseball right now.
That being said, my one concern about this trade is the effect it could have on this clubhouse, where Blake, simply put, was a glue. Several players have hinted this season that the loss of Trot Nixon’s leadership was an underrated factor in the team’s early troubles and losing guys like CC and Blake adds to that.
Of course, the Indians still could — and possibly should, given their shaky corner infield and outfield situation — make an effort to re-sign Blake on a short-term deal this winter. That might prove more difficult than you think, because I wouldn’t be surprised if Blake gets a multiyear offer and I would be surprised if the Indians were willing to go that route.
Anyway, those are my quick thoughts on a deal that officially ushered the Dog Days into Progressive Field. Tonight, the Dog Days continue with the Tigers in town and Andy Gonzalez serving as the DH.
INDIANS (45-58): CF Grady Sizemore, RF Franklin Gutierrez, LF Ben Francisco, SS Jhonny Peralta, C Kelly Shoppach, 3B Andy Marte, 1B Ryan Garko, DH Andy Gonzalez, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera. RHP Paul Byrd (4-10, 5.28).
TIGERS (53-51): CF Curtis Granderson, 2B Placido Polanco, 3B Carlos Guillen, RF Magglio Ordonez, 1B Miguel Cabrera, LF Matt Joyce, DH Marcus Thames, C Ivan Rodriguez, SS Edgar Renteria. LHP Kenny Rogers (8-6, 4.48).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Nine members of the Opening Day roster are either on the DL or playing elsewhere. The Opening Day lineup read as follows: CF Grady Sizemore, LF Jason Michaels, DH Travis Hafner, C Victor Martinez, SS Jhonny Peralta, 1B Ryan Garko, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Franklin Gutierrez, 3B Casey Blake. LHP C.C. Sabathia. Not only are nine guys gone, but so are the periods in CC’s first name.
- Speaking of the DL, Martinez did his first baseball activities today — playing catch and taking dry swings. He tolerated it well and is currently on track to return to game action in the middle of August.
- As for Travis Hafner, the strength test he was supposed to have performed on his right shoulder today was a no-go, as Pronk had to fly home to North Dakota this weekend because of a family emergency. Best wishes go out to Hafner and his family.
- Jamey Carroll, bothered by that left hamstring strain, did some agility drills before batting practice but as still unavailable to start tonight. Wedge wasn’t sure if he’d be able to use Carroll late in tonight’s game, which is part of the reason he DH’d Gonzalez. He figured if a late substitution needed to be made, Gonzalez could play just about anywhere in the field.
- LHP Zach Jackson, considered a throw-in in the Sabathia deal, is pitching quite well for Triple-A Buffalo, hwere he is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in six games, including two starts. Opponents are batting just .155 off him.
- Buffalo RHP Jeff Stevens, Akron 1B/OF Matt LaPorta and RHP T.J. Burton and Kinston OF Nick Weglarz have all left their respective clubs and are headed to Beijing for the Olympic Games. Stevens and LaPorta will play for the U.S., while Burton and Weglarz are representing Canada. The baseball schedule runs from Aug. 13-23.
- Here’s a leftover note on Cliff Lee from the other night: He is just the fourth Indians pitcher to begin a season 14-2 or better, joining Jim Bagby (14-2 in 1920), Johnny Allen (15-1 in 1937) and Gaylord Perry (15-1 in 1974).
- Kinston’s Beau Mills hit his 16th homer at Wilmington yesterday. He is now hitting .282 with 27 doubles, 16 homers and 69 RBIs in 100 games. He leads the Carolina League in RBIs, is tied for fourth in doubles, is tied for second in homers, is fifth in hits and tied for second with 45 extra-base hits in this, his first full professional season. He’s hit safely in 18 of 19 games.
- The Tigers come into this series with a 6 1/2-game deficit in the standings of an AL Central Division everybody and their mother (except me and my mother and maybe you and your mother) predicted they would easily win. But the Tigers are 29-15 since June 7 — the most wins in the Majors during that stretch.
Lastly, I send a nod and a note of enormous jealousy out to Paul Bodi, MLB.com’s East Region Executive Editor, who was in attendance for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s homecoming at Giants Stadium last night. The Boss played 30 songs in a show that lasted over three hours and included “Summertime Blues,” “Growin’ Up,” and “Jungleland.” Oh, and did I mention it opened with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” and closed with “Rosalita”?
Well, at least I got to hear that Jimmy Buffet cover band playing outside Progressive on Friday night. So there’s that…