Herges promoted, Perez optioned

The Indians gave Rafael Perez the benefit of the doubt, and Perez gave the Indians a 15.19 ERA.

It wasn’t exactly a fair trade, which is why Perez is bound for Triple-A Columbus and the Indians have purchased the contract of right-hander Matt Herges.

Today’s move reeks of being the first of several to repair (or, at the very least, recast) a bumbling, stumbling bullpen that is crippling any chance of the Indians putting together a sustained run of victories. Perez was the main offender in the ‘pen.

Counted on to be a reliable setup man, he instead gave up 18 runs on 19 hits with nine walks and five strikeouts in just 10 2/3 innings. He had shown some improvement after the Indians tooled with him behind the scenes for a few days last month, but then he reverted to his early April woes, giving up 12 runs in his last seven innings of work and a career-high five runs Tuesday in Toronto.

Herges, 39, came to the Indians on a Minor League contract and will now have the opportunity to do something he’s had a chance to do with eight other teams — i.e., get Major League hitters out. Herges carries a career 40-34 record and 3.94 ERA in 537 appearances in the Majors, mostly in a relief role. He was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and four saves in 11 appearances as the Columbus closer.

The Indians aren’t done there. They’ll continue to look for relief trade possibilities, though that’s not an easy area to shop for right now, and they’ll potentially slot some mid-level starting prospects into relief roles with the hope that they’ll click and can come aboard.  

60 Comments

Why stop there, send Peralta down with a mysterious injury and let barfield and valbuena man 2nd. Also get Jensen “Broken Neck” Lewis outta here too. I can do as well as those guys and I haven’t pitched since college. Castro you could even do as well as Perez has it wouldn’t be that hard.

this smells like a Wedge move. Sending down the future of this club for a broken down veteran who has nothing left. Meanwhile the Indians have a young stud like Jonathan Meloan in Columbus. At the very least SEND him up. Good God, Wedge has to go.

It’s a start, but why not Huff and/or Sowers? I find it hard to believe it would be that difficult to trade for a good reliever or two, if the Indians’ are willing to give up Shoppach, Garko, Francisco, or Peralta. An everyday catcher, 1B, SS is worth more than a reliever, and the Indians have at least 2 of each at those positions and no relievers, should be a win/win situation

I like the Herges move. It certainly can’t hurt. Sowers/Lewis are the first ‘pen options that spring to my mind, but why not give those that have made a living in the bullpen a shot first? It’s a bit bold, even assuming he’s still capable of posting his ’07 numbers, to refer to Perez as the “future of this club”…

Jason
http://jmays.mlblogs.com

Let’s all have open tryouts. Someone is bound to be as good as we have seen thus far!

Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

Cantonguy:

1) Wedge does not make moves…Shapiro does
2) Perez is not the “future of this club”
3) In 10.2 IP, Perez has given up 19 hits, 18 runs, walked 9, struck out 5, and has a 15.19 ERA…don’t you think that’s enough to say he needs to fix some things…???
4) Meloan is a good prospect, but he has a 5.06 ERA in 16 innings of work in Columbus. If he’s struggling with AAA hitters, why would anyone think he’d be ready to contribute to the big league club? Instead of stunting his development, let him stay in AAA until he’s ready and use Herges as a stop-gap until Perez fixes his problems or other help comes.

sgm405, finally a someone thinking with his brain and not his “someone told me he was really good but ive never seen him play an inning please call him up right this bloody second” instinct.

Beat me to it, sgm405.
I also have to echo isavage — why not Sowers or Huff? I understand that they want to try to use guys with bullpen experience, but right now they should just be going after the best arms. Beggars can’t be choosers.

I would actually think Meloan a better option than Herges. In the minors, I think strikeout to walk ratio can be more important than just judging purely by ERA, especially this early in the season. Meloan in 18 innings has struck out 17 and walked 6. Herges in 10 innings has struck out 7 and walked 5. Look at Kerry Wood, he’s definitely had a few bad outings, but he’s obviously a good pitcher, and I’m sure the ERA will come down, because he’s still making guys swing and miss a lot, as seen by 16 strikeouts in 10 innings.

I still say Sowers, 24 innings, 22 SO, 5 walks, major league experience, left handed, would’ve been the best option. Maybe when they send Jensen Lewis down after he gives up another game winning run tonight or tomorrow, they will call him up.

And Wedge would certainly be the one to make the call on who to send down and who to call up, not Shapiro. Obviously Perez needed to go and is not the future of the club, but Herges is a strange move.

Reports are that Aaron Laffey will be placed in the ‘pen and Jeremy Sowers will take Laffey’s spot in the rotation.

Cantonguy:

1) Wedge does not make moves…Shapiro does
2) Perez is not the “future of this club”
3) In 10.2 IP, Perez has given up 19 hits, 18 runs, walked 9, struck out 5, and has a 15.19 ERA…don’t you think that’s enough to say he needs to fix some things…???
4) Meloan is a good prospect, but he has a 5.06 ERA in 16 innings of work in Columbus. If he’s struggling with AAA hitters, why would anyone think he’d be ready to contribute to the big league club? Instead of stunting his development, let him stay in AAA until he’s ready and use Herges as a stop-gap until Perez fixes his problems or other help comes.

1. Ummmm sgm405, read Terry Pluto’s book about the Wedge-Shapiro relationship. Wedge was responsible for Shap to get rid of Bradley, Wedge was responsible for Shap to get rid of Eddie Murray so he can get his buddy Derek Shelton hired. Wedge was also responsible for Shap to let go of Issaac this past offseason, do you REALLY think this was Shapiro’s decision to get Hurges up here?

2. Yes, I would consider Perez “The future of the club” because Perez still has the nastiest slider in the big leagues, plus he has history on his side. He was dominant in 2007 and showed that 2007 was no fluke in 2008, DESPITE starting off bad. He has pitched poorly in 2009 because he did not pitch in spring training like everyone else. He was in the WBC and did not pitch well. I have no problem with them sending him down, as long as it’s temporarily. But Meloan has a bigger upside than Herges, period.

I only caught the last of this, but it seems it was announced that Laffey is, in fact, being moved to the bullpen, and that Sowers will step in to that starting role.
I find this shocking only because I suggested it a few days ago!

Liking the new bullpen already. If they were going to go with Laffey though, they should’ve just kept Perez. Perez could get one out, then let two guys on, but then they could bring Laffey in to get the easy double play. If they had made these moves two weeks ago, they’d have 3 more wins.

I saw Matt Herges in Colorado prior to the shellacking the Rockies gave the Indians in the June ’08 sweep. He was playing with his children in right field. I asked the tour guide about it and she said that Matt does that before every home game. That doesn’t make him the answer to this bullpen, but shows that he is a good father. Tonight’s game may be the start. I think it is an aberration, but I am hopeful that this game might get this team going. Pavano looked great and the offense really came through. Is the Tribe one game wonders in this instance or are they what we expected at the beginning of the season. I’m going with the one-game wonders (oops, the Sox just got a hit in the bottom of the ninth; it’s only 9-2. Where are the Raphies? One in Columbus! Another hit! It’s not over yet). Russ in Brooklyn

Only appropriate that Laffey got a double play ball to end the game. Obviously, how Sowers performs tomorrow is going to be a big factor in how well received this move is, but when was the last time we got three scoreless innings from our bullpen? Or from one guy, even?
Should be really interesting to see what they do with Lewis when he comes back from the DL.

LACF, ever wonder if Mark Shapiro and/or Eric Wedge reads AC’s blog and comments about the responders as much as we do about them? Continuing food for though for your comments suggesting this move days ago.

Perez is by no means gone for the season but he definitely has a case of the yips for a relief pitcher. No realistic timetable for his return. Jensen Lewis is another problem that will soon be Columbus’ issue. His so-called velocity has returned (~91mph) but his ball is flat, gets too much of the plate and doesn’t miss many bats. I have to wonder if the league simply took longer to get a read on him because of that hitch he has in his delivery. Those aren’t problems than can be fixed easily. I would agree with isavage that missed bats is usually a better indicator of effectiveness rather than ERA, particularly in the minors for relief pitchers. Most scouts and analysts prefer WHIP as the ERA stat has become outdated of sorts. I still pine for Meloan over Lewis. While I may not have thought that Juan Salas was a long term answer for the Tribe, any suggestions as to why they didn’t move Adam Miller to the 60-day DL and use his roster spot for Herges?

Sadly, my idea to my Laffey to the ‘pen was one of desperation, which is an indication of where this team is at right now.
Our biggest problem right now is our lack of a righty. We’re also going to have to go into tomorrow night hoping that a) Tony Sipp’s bad inning was a fluke, b) Betancourt’s quality outing Monday wasn’t, and c) Kerry Wood’s blown save was also a fluke. What are the chances of all three of those things being true? If they are, we could have ourselves something here, particularly once we get a healthy Joe Smith back.
I’m glad Laffey’s in the bullpen, though, and not just because I thought of it days ago. At this point, we need two innings three times every five days from him more than we need six innings one time every five days. And with the way Lee, Carmona, and Pavano are pitching now, those three appearances could equal three wins.
Let’s just hope that Jeremy Sowers 4.0 is similar to Jeremy Sowers 1.0.

What Aaron did last night is what I was envisioning for Scott Lewis when he came back. I’d hate to lose Aaron from the rotation at this point, but “it is what it is”, and we’re getting Sowers 1.0, as LACF said.

BTW, Kelly Shoppach, you’re my hero:

http://photos.cleveland.com/plain-dealer/2009/05/kelly_shoppach_dustin_pedroia.html

Listening to “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” it seems that the AL Central is “up-for-grabs!” Even we have a chance! Not as this team is put together now. Hey SD, could you throw a few Euros Mark’s way so that we can pick up another proven starter and a good 7th or 8th inning guy at the trade deadline (for us, that might be too late, though)? 86 wins will probably win this division. To do that, we have to go 75-59 the rest of the way. Not impossible, but not as this team is put together now. Oh, SD, please change the name of the stadium back to what it should be; Jacobs Field, a tribute to a good owner. Russ in Brooklyn

Moving Laffey to the bull pen?
Seems like we are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I think the AL Central is always up for grabs… and that’s what is always so frustrating about this every season. It’s not like we don’t have a chance in Hades, but we don’t take advantage of the situation.

How about using Westbrook and Lewis out of the ‘pen when these guys are ready to come back? It would allow Jake to ease back into MLB while not having to spend as much time getting stretched out in the minors. This would give us an immediate boost. Let Westbrook come into next spring as a starter, but get him back to the majors ASAP.

And here comes Luis Vizcaino.

cantonguy is completely accurate in his analysis that Eric Wedge would prefer a 25-man roster full of the Casey Blake’s of the world (serviceable player at best in their role, jack of all trades but master of none, great clubhouse guy, veteran that struggled to get his shot in the bigs… basically any player that mimics his own career in Boston) and this time it is Matt Herges much like Scott Elarton last year. He would prefer to exile players like Milton Bradley and Brandon Phillips (in favor of Ramon Vazquez, also Wedge-like in his career), Josh Barfield, Andy Marte, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jeremy Guthrie, Jody Gerut, Ryan Ludwick, Alex Escobar, Jason Stanford, Micahel Aubrey, and of course Craig Breslow.

You’re not responsible for the bullpen!?! I was kinda hoping you were. That would explain a lot.

The insight of bigzombie aptly noting our necessity to go 75-59 the rest of the way to finish with 86 wins and have a shot at the central division simply terrifies me as an Indians fan

In Wedge/Shapiro’s defense, AM, guys like Barfield, Marte, Guthrie, Gerut, and Davis all had their chances with the Tribe. They were given plenty of time to show they could contribute and never did. And you can’t really put Barfield and Kouzmanoff in the same sentence as we had to trade one to get the other. For that matter, Kouzmanoff is currently hitting a ******** .221 with 8 RBI as opposed to our current third baseman who’s hitting .256 with 21 RBI. Along those lines, Craig Breslow’s ERA is currently 6.52 which, yes, would fit right in with the rest of our bullpen, but wouldn’t exactly help it. And Michael Aubrey is still an option at some point, but (and here’s where I no longer defend Wedge/Shapiro) they’re not playing one of their best hitters at first every day as it is (Garko), so there seems little hope of Aubrey getting called up.
And I think the way they did the moves is misleading. Laffey is replacing Perez in the ‘pen (lefty to lefty), which is a good move. Herges is replacing Chulk. They’re career numbers are pretty similar, although Herges has a lower ERA. But it’s not a case of Wedge sending down a promising player and calling up an old warhorse — it’s pretty much an even trade.
I have to say, however, that I think Herges will be exactly what Chulk was — a placeholder until we get healthy.

Wow, the system doesn’t like the word wh0pping.

Manny? Anyone want to start this discussion?

Well, only that, back when A-rod’s use came out, someone said something to me about John Hart being the GM in Texas at the time, and that maybe this connects drug use to the big bat Tribe of the ’90’s. I thought that was a ridiculous thing to say…
But now it’s one of those strange connections that makes you wonder.
And while it wasn’t steriods or HGH that he was busted for, it’s pretty clear he was, at the very least, on them at some point, even if he’s off them now (as the drugs he took were for that).

I’m not getting into the Manny situation. He did wrong/didn’t check and he loses 7 1/2 mil & maybe a chance at the WS. A note on Peralta; Ks too much, doesn’t shorten his swing when he should; no range and often can’t handle the easy ones. What does he do? Why is he still there four years later? He had a couple of good years. Is that it? Orlando Cabrera was on the market this year. A good situation SS that makes contact. Again, an over confidence in a player on the roster and a reluctance to spend a little money. I can’t stand it! As Clevelanders, you shouldn’t stand the atrocities that SD has given you the last few years. I live 800 miles from Cleveland. When I scream and fume, I have only Yankee fans laughing at me. You guys in Cleveland have to look at each other. Put pressure on SD. I see that some of the pressure is starting with the empty seats. Not like 1997, is it? Russ in Brooklyn

re: Jhonny Last AB, bases loaded, 0-2 count, swings for the fences. He made contact at least, but a 6-3 out didn’t help with 2 outs. Come on Shelton, teach these guys how to hit. I’ve watched AB after AB take the first pitch. Shelton, don’t you think that the opposition picks up on that after, duh, one inning? There is a lot to be said about being selective, but one has to know when the other team knows that they will get you down 0-1. Russ in brooklyn

Just out of curiosity, if it’s Shelton’s fault that Peralta isn’t hitting well, is it to his credit that Cabrera is? Because I’m placing the blame on Jhonny’s shoulders, and I think the Valbuena/Cabrera combo tonight is a tryout.

Man, it’s like the last three games of the ’07 ALCS all over again — five innings of a great game, then blow out.

So, what do you think, guys? Bottom of the 6th, 12 Bosox runs in already; nobody out still. Do you think EW did what he should have with Sowers on the hill? I would like to hear from all of the big-time bloggers as to what EW should have done as the bottom of the sixth began. I think he should have done something that he didn’t, but I’m not a coach, so I don’t know. I know that you guys aren’t pros either, but what is your opinion? Love to hear it. I personally am again disgusted. Russ in Brooklyn

What do you mean? There was no reason to pull Sowers before the 6th starter. He should have started the 6th. Honestly, the only problem I have with Wedge’s move was bringing in Kobayashi, but he’s got to use him at some point, or there’s no reason to have him on the team (which is a fair point, actually).
I probably would have chosen Betancourt if you’re looking for a righty (which he was), but Betancourt is prone to the long ball.
Our bullpen sucks, what are you going to do?

My answer to LACF; We shouldn’t even be in a tryout. A team as good as ours shouldn’t have to try out. At this point, we should have a solid infield. My greatest beef with Peralta is that he is not a good SS. He is too slow and has no range. His offense this year and last is based on what I see as Shelton’s philosophy ie: don’t swing at the first pitch and go for the long ball. Nearly everyone in the lineup for the last two years ks too much because they do not try to make contact with two strikes. Yes, that is Shelton’s fault. I’m not giving Shelton credit for Cabrera yet. Maybe he did get to AC, but my guess is that AC is a smart player who began to see his limitations and worked on his own with his hitting. Russ in Brooklyn

Okay, LACF: Our staff, except for Cliff, are 5/6 inning starters. This is one of Sowers’ first starts and EW knows that he is at best a six inning pitcher. Someone should have been up in the bullpen at the start of the inning. After Pedroia’s walk, Sowers should have gone. It was obvious after the second batter that Sowers was about done. It was probably EW’s lack of confidence in the pen that kept him in as long as he did, but he should have been ready for the roof to cave, as it did. At least, let the pen take responsibility for the cave. They are already hated by all the Indians’ fans. Sowers has the possibility of eventually being a good starter. Russ in Brooklyn

Sowers had one bad inning. I doubt they’ll send him back because of that. And Sowers had thrown very few pitches entering the 6th. There was no reason to pull him. He’d also allowed runners to second in previous innings and gotten out of it. Maybe you take him out after Bay’s double, but at that point he’s got bases loaded and the score was only 2-2. The only ground ball pitcher we have in the ‘pen is Laffey who was unavailable, so you let Sowers try to give up a run for two outs — we’re only down by one. Bases loaded, no outs, tie game, shaky bullpen — no reason to pull him.
When he gave up the hit to Baldelli, that’s when it was time to pull him. And Wedge did, after giving up the intentional pass, since there’s no reason to bring in a reliever to walk someone.
By tryout I meant to see how the two of them played together so they can sit Peralta more, not try out to make the team.
Peralta hit .270 and .276 the last two seasons. Was Shelton not his hitting coach then? Or was he just ignoring Shelton all that time and only started listening to him now? Our offense ranks 4th in runs and 6th in AVG in the AL. Clearly, the other guys are doing their jobs. Peralta’s just not doing his.

Honestly, I think that Laffey should still be in the rotation and Sowers should be in the pen. The problem with Sowers is he can usually get through the lineup once and then gets knocked around bc they’ve timed him up. If you use him for 2 innings, or maybe 3 (like we did with Laffey) they dont get around to the lineup a second time in order to time him up. Sowers showed that he is still the same pitcher he has always been, no surprise. We have to move on from this game and know that using Sowers as a starter and Laffey in the pen is the wrong combo.

Sowers had thrown 60 or so pitches before that inning, of course he was going to stay in the game he was throwing some great ball…. You guys are so set on “Eric Wedge is the issue” that you fail to see the actual issues. The Indians expected the bullpen to be a major strength this year, and rightfully so. The bullpen has proceeded to flop, this is not Wedges fault, yes hes made a couple bad choices in who to bring in, but he’s being forced to gamble on whos gonna be the one to give up the runs. The blame rests on the bullpen people, open your eyes

dbrouman, the main difference is that Laffey is a ground ball pitcher who, as of yesterday, led the league in double play balls. The Tribe bullpen gives up nearly every inherited run they get, so a guy who can get a double play ball is extremely valuable out of the ‘pen. Sadly, in this case he’s more valuable in the ‘pen than in the rotation.
Hey, I’ll say this much for Sowers: He’s starting off the same way all of the other starters did.

I am curious to know why Wedge decided on an outfield of Dellucci, Francisco and LaPorta for a fly ball pitcher. That struck me as quite odd. But I digress.

LACF, I will disagree with you on the “given plenty of time” stance for guys like Barfield and Marte. One can make cases to the alternative but I personally think that you can make a better claim for more opportunities needed and/or deserved. In 2007 Josh Barfield had a significant drop off from his rookie season. That is not uncommon for a rookie to his second season LET ALONE a guy coming from the NL to AL. That’s why they call it a “sophomore slump.” While over his career Jhonny Peralta is an above average hitter (for ****) he too suffered a terrible sophomore slump (I will neglect to reiterate the stats but trust me, it’s obviously there). On a quick Peralta tangent, the only reason why Peralta is justifiable at SS is because over the course of a year his bat typically makes up for his defensive deficiencies. So far that is not the case (especially with all the groundball pitchers we have) but I will defer to his history for the next 3 weeks before passing total judgment. Barfield on the other hand was given a slap in the face because Asdrubal Cabrera burst on the scene at the end of 2007. Cabrera’s 2008 season was wretched and the only thing worse was his start. His .164 AVG pre-AS break was only saved b/c he did what everyone else did after we were eliminated, hit .320 post AS break. That doesn’t impress me b/c everyone on the team hit. Upon Cabrera’s demotion Barfield got injured for the first time in his career as a baseball player on a freak accident. I am slightly biased. I like Barfield. I like his pedigree. I think he will blossom into the kind of player he was in San Diego (a pitcher’s park no less) when he gets out of Cleveland. He has never been a guy to walk 100 times in a season and have an OBP of .400 but every time they demoralized this guy, that was their rationale. Wedge plays favorites and unfortunately for Josh he is not one of them. Valbuena doesn’t impress me at all. I think he needs a FULL minor league season under his belt before contributing to the ML level. Shapiro is rushing things. I’ve said it before: he built our team for 2010 and now he is trying to hard. Besides, Barfield is only up here until Carroll comes back… yet another Wedge guy.

Think about this: who would you rather have: Bobby Abreu ($5M) or Dellucci ($4M) AND Carroll ($2.5M)???

HA, they blocked my comment about Peralta: “for a shortstop”, but I abbreviated shortstop to SS

typo, .184 for Cabrera pre-AS break

But Barfield was awful in AAA last year. He was only called up to replace Cabrera because Asdrubal was even worse in the majors. Barfield did nothing to earn that spot — Cabrera lost it.
I do agree with you on Peralta. I would expect the next few weeks to be telling as far as his future. And I also agree about Valbuena, who I DO like, but come on. Barfield got one real shot so far this season in Toronto and he made the most of it. He clearly deserves to start when they sit Peralta, much more than Valbuena. That’s just ridiculous.

amseeley, I understand what it’s like to be fond of a certain player and feel like he’s gotten a raw deal, but trust me, if Barfield had a future in the major leagues as a regular player, the Tribe would have dealt him over the winter. Problem is, everyone else now sees what we have: he’s a player with very limited offensive skills, can really only play one position reasonably well (2B), is not super speedy, doesn’t draw walks, strikes out too much, has no power…in other words, he’s everything that Cabrera and Valbuena are not. Those two guys are versatile, multi-dimensional players, who have tremendous offensive upsides. That you refuse to see the truth is a testimony to your loyalty to Josh, but pedigree doesn’t mean squat. He’s a good kid, yes, and that’s why the Tribe keeps working with him: high character. So they are trying to give him extra value by having play the OF, but it’s not enough to salvage his career. Face it, he has NO future on this team. Accept it and for goodness sake, don’t blame Josh’s failures on Wedge: the manager went as long as he could with Josh in 2007 before turning to Cabrera, with the organization farming him out just like they did Cabrera the next year. The difference is that when Cabrera went down, he got BETTER at AAA and when he came back, he was terrific. Josh never did get better, even at AAA. Honestly, his career is toast.

Joe Girardi will be available in a couple of weeks!

Very interesting discussions developing here. Hope I don’t miss anyone, but LACF, amseeley, avory & a lot of other guys, and maybe gals, are really coming up with good stuff. I still don’t agree with the “pro-Sowers in the sixth” comments. I wasn’t saying that he should have come out at the top, but EW should have had someone warming up then. When Pedroia walked (too late when Bay hit), Sowers should have come out. I reiterate, most of this staff are 5/6 inning guys. EW has to be ready then. We lost #18, possibly because of that mistake. Now we have to go 79-58 to make 86 wins. Arhgggh! Russ in Brooklyn

For all of the discussion about Peralta, Barfield, the problem with the team this year doesn’t have anything to do with the offense. This offense has always been slow starting, which has a lot to do with offenders like Peralta who’s never hit above .230 in April, and usually doesn’t get going until late may or early June. The problem is having people like Kobayashi on the team. Until management gets over their biases and loyalties, loyalties to bad moves they’ve made (Kobayashi) and to particular players (Lewis, Perez, Betancourt), they won’t be successful. They have one of the worst bullpens last year, yet they pencil in Betancourt, Perez, Lewis and Kobayashi. Perez and Lewis were average to bad last year, Betancourt was terrible all year, and Kobayashi went from average to terrible. Why bring these guys back, without even having legitimate competition for the jobs?

The Indians collect 1st basement, 2nd basemen and outfielders, and ignore the bullpen. At 1B, they currently have Garko, Martinez, with Aubrey, a 1st round draft pick, hitting .387, Jordan Brown hitting .325, and Beau Mills at Akron. What is their plan for these 5 first basemen? At catcher, they have Martinez, Shoppach, and soon Carlos Santana, what is the plan here? Outfielders, they have Sizemore, Choo, Laporta, Francisco, as well as Brantley, 10 SB already and the obvious leadoff guy of the future and Crowe. The solution is obvious, trade some of these people for pitching. Instead, after they already traded for Valbuena, they trade their best relief pitching prospect for another 2nd basemen, Mark Derosa.

They can trade Garko, Shoppach, Peralta and Francisco today, and potentially put a BETTER offensive team on the field tomorrow. In my opinion, they could trade any of their position players, including Sizemore and Martinez, and still compete offensively. They already have outfield and catching depth, and they could get some very good players in return for either of those guy. For now I’d prefer offloading Garko and Shoppach, who are both pretty good players, and playing Aubrey at 1B, the guy deserves a chance, and otherwise is in danger of becoming the next Brandon Philips/Jeremy Guthrie, and Peralta, since he drags the offense down every April, and he’s not a very good player defensively.

isavage, both Perez and Lewis were great in the second half of last year. Perez was great for most of the year and Lewis was great after they recalled him. They were also both great in spring training. They earned their spots going into this season. Everyone else, though, I agree with.
You mentioned trades, but the problem is that most of the guys you mention don’t currently have any value. Shoppach, Peralta, and Francisco haven’t proven their worth on a regular basis. For all most teams know, Shoppach’s season last year was a fluke and Peralta’s current numbers are an indication of where he’s headed. As for Garko, he doesn’t get enough ABs this season to have a lot of value.
The biggest move the Tribe made in the off season was for their bullpen. Given the way Lewis and Perez ended last season, add in Kerry Wood as closer and Joe Smith as another righty, and that should have been four guys to count on. I think most people looked at this team and thought the bullpen would be our strength.

LACF, I really do like Valbuena, just not this year. I think the Cabrera-Valubena combination up the middle for 2010 will pay massive dividends to our pitching staff. Not a measurable stat but effective nonetheless. And yes, I agree with you that when a player performs well and essentially wins you a ballgame (like LaPorta, Garko and Barfield did in Toronto) then reward those actions with a start the following game. Especially in Garko’s case of sitting him against a lefty in favor of Choo.

Avory, you make some good points that I will respond to. First off, I did not blame Wedge for “Barfield’s failures”. I blamed him for his lack of opportunities following 2007. Secondly, Cabrera has 20+SB potential. Valbuena doesn’t, at all. And Barfield’s already done it (21SB in 150G, 14 SB in 130G). So IMO you lose that argument. But I do admit my “fondness” for Barfield so I lose credibility there. Cabrera’s versatility, much like Brandon Phillips, came out of necessity because of Peralta (d’oh). Cabrera is a gold glove caliber talent in the field, at 2B or SS. This year could be the breakout, year-long consistency we’ve been waiting for since the end of 2007. I can only hope so. Valbuena is the obviously the future at 2B. I don’t refute that. And for all the trade scenarios we conjure up for guys like Shoppach, Peralta, Barfield, Garko, whomever, there has the be a partner willing to deal.

Russ in Brooklyn, we Clevelanders appreciate your fanhood even if you’re taking the brunt end of it from your friends in N.Y. I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear the conversations occurring about CC and Tex.

isavage, I feel as if you peaked into my frontal lobe and echoed my exact sentiments about our positional logjams. Love it. Great stuff. I made an ESPN blog predicting the Indians 25-man roster for 2013 (after we lose Grady) because of such an issue. Realistically, we cannot afford to keep guys like Martinez and Sizemore let alone unappreciated players like Garko. (while I’m still not a fan I can recognize his value of a .275 avg, 15 HR, 90 RBI, and only 4 errors in 121 GP at 1B). It wasn’t but 2-3 years ago when our farm system was terribly depleted. Years later, a few decent early round drafts, and two trades later we have a stocked farm system. Peter Gammons is gonzo over our talent in the minors. We had our run in the 90s with a mix of young talent and veteran guys. We tried to made a run at it in the same fashion during the mid ’00s. We missed. I think this is a transition year (not rebuilding) for the next wave of young talent with guys that you’ve mentioned: Santana, LaPorta, Valbuena, Cabrera, Hodges, Mills, Brantley, Aubrey, Chisenhall, Gimenez, Crowe, Brown, Head, Weglarz, Huff, de la Cruz, Rondon, Hermann, Meloan.

Being in a small market, the ups and downs are circular.

AM, you’re a crazy person with your numbers and your logic. We’re Tribe fans — we’re not allowed to make sense.
You know what’s really crazy? Have seen Marte’s numbers in Columbus? He’s second to Aubrey in AVG and he’s striking out less than once a game. He’s got 1 error in 13 games which isn’t astounding, but not the Marte we all knew and loved.
Like you said, our problem now is finding someone to trade with since we don’t have a lot of high value guys that we can part with. I think most of us on this blog suggested moving Shoppach in the off season as his value was never going to be higher. I have to wonder, though, if he was kept primarily for Lee. I think Toregas would have been just fine as a back up and we’re losing valuable ABs for Garko.
That’s the other problem we face: since our line-up always changes, we’re never showcasing anyone as trade bait. The log jam at first will stay that way because we’re not really selling any of our first basemen. DeRosa could be an option at some point, if we get desperate and he continues to perform. Once we get Carroll back, we could just ride that out.
I still hold out some hope that Betancourt’s last outing wasn’t a fluke and that Sipp’s was. If that’s the case, it would give us four guys we can count on out of the ‘pen, counting Laffey and Wood. That would be a start, at least, until Smith comes back and Perez fixes himself.

With the Yankees putting their second catcher on the disabled list in the period of several days, it’s time to give an equally desperate GM a call, Mr. Cashman, and suggest that Kelly Shoppach may be the medicine for what ails ya. There’s no way the Yankees can be competitive without someone to contribute behind the plate, and maybe we can find an arm or two in their minors who might help us (although, admittedly, their bullpen is as bad or worse than ours, if you can imagine that). Maybe we’ll have to get a 3-way deal going, who knows. I just know this: the Yankees are feeling even more pressure than the Tribe is right now. Their division is much more competitive; they still have seats to fill at their new billion dollar mausoleum, and they don’t have a fanbase distracted by LeBron. Time for the “good” Shapiro to strike and land some more top prospects. Torregas can come up and catch Lee and spell Vic. Now I don’t make a deal unless we continue to give Vic rest; Wedge has GOT to promise to continue giving Vic regular days off from behind the plate.

By the way, in case anyone wasn’t noticing (how could you not?) Grady is 1 for 24 with four walks and a single leading off games this year. Not exactly an “igniter” at the top of the order. There’s no way our offense can be consistent with Grady lagging like he is. He has to do a better job getting ready for his first at-bat, when the team is presumably set up to succeed better than at any other time.

With the Yankees putting their second catcher on the disabled list in the period of several days, it’s time to give an equally desperate GM a call, Mr. Cashman, and suggest that Kelly Shoppach may be the medicine for what ails ya. There’s no way the Yankees can be competitive without someone to contribute behind the plate, and maybe we can find an arm or two in their minors who might help us (although, admittedly, their bullpen is as bad or worse than ours, if you can imagine that). Maybe we’ll have to get a 3-way deal going, who knows. I just know this: the Yankees are feeling even more pressure than the Tribe is right now. Their division is much more competitive; they still have seats to fill at their new billion dollar mausoleum, and they don’t have a fanbase distracted by LeBron. Time for the “good” Shapiro to strike and land some more top prospects. Torregas can come up and catch Lee and spell Vic. Now I don’t make a deal unless we continue to give Vic rest; Wedge has GOT to promise to continue giving Vic regular days off from behind the plate.

By the way, in case anyone wasn’t noticing (how could you not?) Grady is 1 for 24 with four walks and a single leading off games this year. Not exactly an “igniter” at the top of the order. There’s no way our offense can be consistent with Grady lagging like he is. He has to do a better job getting ready for his first at-bat, when the team is presumably set up to succeed better than at any other time.

“…they don’t have a fanbase distracted by LeBron.”
Avory for the win!
Yeah, one of my other nutty ideas was that Cabrera finally get the move to lead off, followed by Choo (someone else actually suggested this, as I was at a loss as for who should be #2, but it works), then Victor, then Grady, then Garko, then DeRosa. Do what they will with the last third of the order, but those six should be in that order, every day. Victor can get time out as DH.
Yeah, the Yankees aren’t really stacked with pitchers. I don’t know what we could get from them, aside from the switch-pitcher in their farm system!

Actually, while we’d probably have to sweeten the deal to get anyone good, Shoppach would be a good fit back with the Red Sox. They only have Veritek for another season and his numbers are really not that much better than Shoppach’s. I believe part of the reason they brought Veritek back was because they don’t have anyone waiting in the wings to step in. And they clearly have a lot of pitching.

I agree that Boston would have been a good fit, but it would have been even better over the winter before they signed Varitek. I have to believe having had Shoppach, they weren’t as intrigued by him as we hoped they’d be. The truth is, Shoppach’s numbers didn’t interest any team in overpaying for Kelly, which is why we kept him. Now we have to look for teams during the season who are desperate for catching, which is why I fingered the Yankees. But I agree, they are a poor match, given their lack of pitching depth. And in case you didn’t hear, it was just announced a few moments ago that Ian Kennedy was discovered to have an aneurysm in his shoulder that requires immediate surgery, so they are even thinner.

LACF, I don’t know that people thought the bullpen would be a STRENGTH this year, I certainly didn’t. I didn’t expect them to be this atrocious, but I only thought they’d be decent if Betancourt returned to form and Adam Miller was healthy, and neither of those things happened. Combined with Perez’s total implosion and Lewis serving up home runs like he’s Eric Milton, and Kobayashi being Kobayashi, we have what we have, a team that would be above .500 if it had an AVERAGE bullpen.

I would disagree on the value of players like Garko, Shoppach and Peralta. Francisco may not have much trade value, but the other guys, it’s not like every team has a 1st basement who can hit around .300 with 15-20HRs, or **** who hits 20-25 HRs, or a catcher who has potential to hit 30HRs in a full season. Except that he usually has more home runs by now, Peralta is doing no worse this year than he’s done every other year, he will be hitting .270-.280 by the end of June, so they can wait a month, and then trade him. Peralta certainly has better career numbers than Derosa, and is younger, and the Indians gave up their best relief prospect and 2 other pitchers to get Derosa.

I’m no expert, but there have to be teams out there with a surplus of decent relievers at the upper minor level. Milwaukee, Boston and Tampa don’t seem to have very good catchers, certainly Shoppach would be an upgrade over Jason Kendall for Milwaukee, or Varitek. Not sure if either of these teams have any good relievers in the minors. Everyone’s down on Shoppach this year, but so far it’s a very small sample size, 48ABs, and he’s still on pace for 20HRs in a full season. There’s no reason to think he can’t be a good full time catcher. But whatever, at this point they just need to replace Kobayashi with someone, anyone.

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