General Manager Minutia

shapiro.jpgMark Shapiro arrived to Goodyear one month ago today. This morning, he met with the media to talk about his impressions of the first month of camp and his thoughts with three and a half weeks remaining before the opener.

Here’s a sampling of what he had to say, with a full story to come on Indians.com this afternoon…

  • General thoughts: “I’ve been very happy with most of what’s happened in camp. But if you had to point to one area of concern, it would still be the rotation.”
  • Shapiro likes the way Fausto Carmona is leveraging the ball, he believes Carl Pavano is on track to be a veteran, stabilizing starter, and he’s encouraged by Anthony Reyes’ stuff and health. But Shapiro, like everybody else, is waiting for somebody to step up and take the No. 5 job.
  • At this stage, he puts very little stock in spring numbers, especially in the Arizona conditions. He pointed to Scott Lewis’ outing yesterday (2 1/3 innings, 4R, 3H, 2BB, 2K) as a prime example of an impressive appearance thrown awry by one or two bad pitches.
  • Trevor Crowe, Wes Hodges, Carlos Santana, Hector Rondon, Chris Gimenez, Luis Valbuena, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley have all made a very favorable impression, and Shapiro expects this team to rely on that depth. “This is the best layer of talent we’ve had here in a long, long time.”
  • Crowe is not only battling for the final bench spot but also the fourth outfield spot. But that latter spot is still David Dellucci’s to lose, and Shapiro likes what he’s seen from Dellucci (3-for-8, a homer, a double and two walks) since his return from the thumb injury.
  • The extended camp has been nice from the standpoint of getting young players more looks, but it’s made evaluation difficult. He said it’s tough to know when to start cutting guys — a process that ordinarily would have begun by now.
  • Another downside to the long camp: “We already went through a bunch of nicks and bruises and scrapes that kept a bunch of guys off the field. Now we’re almost completely back to full health, but there’s enough time to go through it again. That’s how long we’re here for.”
  • Speaking of health, he was really happy to see Victor Martinez hit back-to-back home runs on Feb. 27 and really happy to see Travis Hafner “nearly decapitate” Jered Weaver with a liner up the middle yesterday. “When you don’t see those things for a long time, it affects you emotionally.” 
  • On that front, he talked about defense, and he said fans and writers are often so emotionally affected by Jhonny Peralta’s inability to get to the occassional grounder up the middle that we ignore his ability to field every routine ball. Our response? Hey, we were emotionally affected long before Jhonny Peralta came into our lives.
  • The Indians use four metrics to evaluate defense. One of them is John Dewan’s Fielding Bible, which I’ve often referenced here, another is internal, and he wouldn’t reveal the two others. But he noted that objective analysis of defensive play is always imperfect.
  • He’s been impressed with Ryan Garko in the outfield and beyond. “[Garko] deserves some credit. He was the first guy through the doors of this place in October and the most consistent guy here all winter long. He clearly has worked with a sense of determination."

~AC

3 Comments

I love this quote regarding Pronk and Victor: “When you don’t see those things for a long time, it affects you emotionally.”

This is something a longtime Tribe fan would say and it’s great to hear from our GM — because he’s dead on about it.

I’m guessing most of Cleveland (and beyond) is also worried about our rotation.

The long training camp has got to be tough on the players this year. So many more chances for injuries.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I am done with Garko. After the base running incident I washed my hands of him. I feel Garko epitomized the Cleveland Indians of 2008: wretched start to the year when it mattered most, quite impressive finish when it didn’t matter at all. Newly acquired versatility aside, Garko could garner you something valuable in the trade market in my opinion because his numbers speak for themselves, over the course of a season that is. And if I have to listen to Eric Wedge say that Jhonny Peralta makes the routine play easier and more consistent than anyone in baseball I might just throw up in my mouth a little bit. Does he not realize or simply not verbalize that managers/GMs will accept a player’s inefficiencies so long as it is coupled with an aspect of the game that ranks at a plus or even a plus-plus? Case in point, Johnny Mac is a great fielder (+/+) with a bat that leaves you desiring more. Omar Vizquel was the same way when he got to Cleveland. Peralta’s presence at SS is ONLY acceptable if he is countering the runs your lose with him in the field with the runs you acquire with his bat.

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