I got mixed-up confusion

Commenter “iesavage30″ hit the nail on the head. The Mark DeRosa trade was not a very good deal for the Indians.

Not the one that was made last night — the one that sent DeRosa to the Cardinals in exchange for right-handed reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named later — but the one that brought him to Cleveland from the Cubs.

derosa.jpgThe trade made last night was a good one for this club, at this juncture. Though it does not signal the white flag being waved, only the most optimistic (maybe even delusional) souls would say this club can mount a comeback in the AL Central standings.

But addressing a glaring, present need by bringing in a young, hard-throwing, big-bodied, potential back-end reliever with viable Major League experience in exchange for a guy who wasn’t going to fit in with long-term plans (and no longer fit the previously prescribed short-term plans) is, in my view, the basis of a good trade. The player to be named will likely determine whether it’s a decent trade or a great one for the Indians.

It’s that New Year’s Eve acquisition of DeRosa that should be more puzzling for Tribe fans.

At the heart of the acquisition was the fear that Asdrubal Cabrera was not ready for everyday action in the big leagues. His poor start to ’08 generated that fear, but his strong finish and his improved conditioning perhaps should have instilled a bit more trust in his ability to become the club’s regular shortstop. When healthy this year, Cabrera has done nothing but hit, and he’s elevated himself from a No. 9 castaway to Grady Sizemore’s successor (temporary or not) in the leadoff spot.

Jhonny Peralta spent all winter playing third base in winter ball, and the Indians jumped at every opportunity to rave about his performance there. But in being sensitive to Peralta’s wishes to remain at short and unsure about Cabrera’s immediate future, the Indians went with what they perceived as the safest course of action by acquiring DeRosa and moving him to third base, regardless of the fact that he played primarily at second base for the Cubs and, by all accounts, played it well.

Watching these first three months of the season unfold made the DeRosa deal look more and more puzzling. Sure, he gave the Indians a productive bat and immediately became a clubhouse asset. But he was shaky in the field at third, went through a baffling period in which he was the Tribe’s regular at first base (a position he had never played with any regularity whatsoever) and eventually became related to corner outfield duties in recent weeks. Simply put, he was not used in the role for which he was acquired, so it was not exactly (the prorated portion of) $5.5 million well-spent.

Meanwhile, the Indians moved Peralta to third after ensuring him he was still their shortstop in Spring Training. All this did was create bad blood with Peralta, and the distraction over moving to third appears to have affected him at the plate this season (though his current upswing in production is a positive step).

And the cost of all this confusion (beyond the prorated portion of the $5.5 million, of course) was young pitching with upside — the very thing this organization is so obviously in need of in the upper levels of the farm system. Only time will tell if Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub, all of whom are having strong seasons in the Cubs’ system, become bona fide Major Leaguers. But given the circumstances that unfolded after DeRosa arrived, one can’t help but believe the Indians would have been better-served to find out if those three become bona fide Major Leaguers in their system.

The good news is that a potential saving grace exists. Perez is not only a highly regarded prospect who has back-end Major League experience under his belt, he’s also under contractual control at least through 2013. He and the player to be named have the potential to make Indians fans look back at the short-lived “DeRosa era” fondly and make them forget all the current confusion.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Just to clear up some confusion I might have created, I had a mistake in my game story from last night. Aaron Laffey is starting for Double-A Akron today, not Triple-A Columbus.
  • DeRosa was beloved by his teammates (and the media) here, pretty much from the second he set foot in Goodyear at the start of Spring Training. So players — especially Kerry Wood, who had been his teammate since 2007 — were a bit bummed out to see him traded. But given the gain of Perez, this trade wasn’t as hard a sell to the Tribe players as some of those that had come before it. “In the past, we’ve traded guys and just gotten prospects,” Kelly Shoppach said. “But it’s not like we’re waving the white flag. We got something back that can help us now, while there’s still a chance. Even though we’re going to miss DeRo and his personality and bat in the lineup, hopefully we can get some consistency out there on the mound in return. So it’s not the same feeling as in the past.”
  • Looks like we’ll continue to see quite a bit of Luis Valbuena, who has been given an enviable amount of playing time to prove himself at this level. I agree with Eric Wedge that Valbuena’s at-bats have been better than the stats would indicate. Of his 26 hits, 15 have gone for extra-base hits, which is encouraging. Still, at some point soon, you’d like to see Valbuena go on a tear that justifies the rope he’s been handed. And perhaps he’ll be more consistent on the defensive end now that he’s going back to his natural position at second base.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cliff Lee’s streak of 47 consecutive starts of at least five innings pitched, dating back to the beginning of the ’08 season, is the longest active streak in the Majors and the longest stretch by an Indians starter since Gaylord Perry (Aug. 30, 1972-July 27, 1974). Lee and Perry are the only Indians pitchers to have such a stretch since 1954.
  • Right-hander JD Goryl, 23, has been signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Tribe. He made his professional debut for the Tribe’s Arizona Rookie League team in Goodyear on Friday, tossing two hitless innings. Goryl is the son of Indians player development advisor Johnny Goryl, who has been in the organization since 1982.
  • Jose Veras is a big dude.
  • If the Indians win today, then the six-game Ohio Cup will have resulted in an even split. At that point, I believe representatives from the Ohio Lottery arrive with a chainsaw and cut the cup in half. Either that, or the Reds just hold on to it for another year.

~AC

UPDATE: DeRosa is already in the Cards’ lineup, batting cleanup today. What a go-getter.

29 Comments

I had the same reaction seeing Veras in Spring Training last year. I asked my sister, “Who’s the big one?” and she said it was Jose Veras.

I’m going to miss DeRo.

This team will not contend next season either. Even with Derosa. The Starting rotation is very weak and the pen is disastrous. Their needs to be changes from top to bottom. (Front Office, coaches and Manager)

soooooooooo you’re saying we will see more of Garko in LF then? Good Lord.

soooooooooo you’re saying we will see more of Garko in LF then? Good Lord.

soooooooooo you’re saying we will see more of Garko in LF then? Good Lord.

soooooooooo you’re saying we will see more of Garko in LF then? Good Lord.

Cantonguy, I would guess that, if this is truly a sign that the season is over, we’ll see more of Gimenez until LaPorta/Brantley gets the call.
In defense of the original DeRosa deal, there’s no way we could have known our bullpen could have fallen apart like it did.
That said, it’s IS pretty ridiculous to bet ON our bullpen doing well and yet bet AGAINST Cabrera and Peralta. Have we learned nothing over the last few years? Our bullpen is ALWAYS more tenuous than anything else.
While I DO think this team will compete next year (our rotation should be fine with Lee, Westbrook, Laffey, Lewis, and hopefully a FA), this deal does underscore a big problem with both Wedge and Shapiro: hedging their bets. I know it’s hard in a mid-market team, but at some point you have to go all in. Look where hedging our bets has gotten us.

LACF, I think you place to much faith in Lewis, and Laffey for that matter. And Westbrook’s recovery. The recent Westbrook news was rather sinister, if he needs another surgery, consider it career ending. I doubt Lewis will ever be a major league caliber pitcher, although I’ve only seen him pitch like twice. He just doesn’t throw hard enough, something that can be said about a lot of the Indians pitchers. His success was based on hitters not knowing who they were facing. They were catching up to him by the end of last year. Laffey with his 1 to 1 SO to walk ratio this year could be a problem. Using the Fausto Carmona method of getting people out (walking the bases loaded with one out, and then get the inning ending double play) certainly has its appeal, since it requires less work than actually throwing strikes, but is likely to land you back in developmental league eventually. The faith you have in the potential starters is much like placing faith in a bullpen that included Masa Kobayashi, Betancourt after a year with an ERA around 6, and two young guys without a whole lot of experience who were rather erratic the year before (Lewis and Perez). I can’t fault the Indians for believing in Kerry Wood, though maybe he’s developed Willisitis, so his suckiness could be indirectly their fault. (Note to Shapiro, Colorado is 21-7 since replacing their manager) … I still think they should consider trading Victor, if they can get a pitching prospect of the “can’t miss unless he blows out his arm” variety. I just don’t see the offense being the problem, with or without Victor. Brantley, Laporta, Valbuena, Santana, Crowe, Weglarz, at least a couple of those guys should pan out, right? If they’d ever consider calling them up, add Jordan Brown and Aubrey to that list. If Hafner can continue to hit well, and can get back to playing every day (big ifs, I know) Victor doesn’t have much of a place on the team, does he? With an outfield of Sizemore, Choo, there’s only one position open for Brantley/ Brown/Laporta, without Martinez, 1b is open for Laporta/Garko/Brown/Aubrey, with Santana, Gimenez/Torregas at C … Or maybe they should do nothing, and count on Adam Miller to emerge as a star late inning setup man.

I don’t know. I think both Laffey and Lewis have the stuff to be solid starters. As for Westbrook, he has no reason to come back this season, so we can take our time rehabbing him. I think the extra time will let him regain his full strength.
Dealing Martinez concerns me for two reasons: a) he’s the heart of this team and b) we don’t have another catcher who can step in. Santana has great potential, but if I’m overvaluing Laffey and Lewis, you’re overvaluing Santana, who’s only in Akron at this point and not really lighting it up down there. I would love for him to be the guy we all hope he’ll be, but I doubt it will be for at least another two years.
Speaking of which, I’m kind of hoping they don’t call up Brantley, and certainly not ahead of Brown. Again, I feel like Brantley is a guy that everyone is high on, but he needs time to get where he’s going. His stolen base total is great, but he’s no where near the top in any other offensive category in Columbus.
I think the big keys from here on out are seeing what the new bullpen arm(s) can do and getting Valbuena to the next level — and then we’ll know how much money we have to spend on a starter for next year.

wasn’t Aubrey dealt to Baltimore?

Indeed he was.
Here’s hoping that Pavano has a good start his next time out, as he would seem to be the most expendable guy on the list (being a FA after this year).
Let the stockpiling of relievers begin!
Also, I’d be pretty happy with a line-up of Choo, Sizemore, LaPorta, Peralta, Cabrera, Valbuena, Garko, Martinez in the field next year, particularly if Jhonny’s no longer got anyone to feud with and Grady’s healthy again. That seems like a nice core to build off of.

isavage, nicely done on receiving the name drop. Although apparently AC does not remember you calling DeRosa “another Dellucci” whom you “bet he doesn’t hit above .260 with 10 HRs.” Hindsight as 20/20 I think you would rescind that comment. What I find interesting is the hindsight 20/20 evaluation of players such as Stevens, Gaub and Archer. Here are some words from AC on New Years Eve:

“[the Indians] felt that Meloan and Stevens both could have competed for a bullpen job this season, but Meloan was probably higher on the pecking order because of his Triple-A experience. It was way too early to have a firm read on Archer and Gaub, who haven’t spent so much as one inning above low-A ball.

All prospects are unproven commodities. I’d say the Indians received two unproven commodities in Santana and Meloan who are rated higher than the three unproven commodities given up in Stevens, Archer and Gaub.”

Needless to say we cannot have it both ways after the fact. isavage, you were adamant from the get-go about this trade although I still think, as I said it then, you place too high a value on Stevens, in particular. I didn’t like this trade initially either as I wanted another middle of the rotation starter for the $5M pricetag.

I’m not so much overvaluing Santana, I’m more questioning whether Martinez can actually be an everyday catcher anymore, and hoping that Santana can at least be better offensively than Shoppach. If Martinez can catch, then he’s almost certainly a significant offensive upgrade over whoever else they could put there. As a 1B though, I think he’s replaceable by Laporta and/or Brown. It seems the Indians don’t really think he can catch, why else would they play a guy hitting below .200 in place of him now? And if he can’t catch full time, then he shouldn’t catch at all, because then you have what you have this year, guys playing every other day, and unable to get into any kind of rhythm. I would bet anything that if Garko and Shoppach were full time with another team, their averages would be at least 20 points higher … I agree on Brantley. He should wait. I’d love to see both Brown and Aubrey up for an extended time, because if either one of those guys proves they can play (and not sure why the Indians seem convinced that they can’t), it’s a huge bonus, it really would give them the flexibility to trade Martinez. Either way though, I’d rather go into next year with a lineup of Cabrera, Choo, Sizemore, Hafner, Peralta, Laporta, Valbuena, Brantley, Santana, with some pitching depth, then possibly go into next year with Laffey as the number 2 starter, should Westbrook have a serious setback. And until Westbrook is back successfully pitching on the club, I would operate under the assumption that he will never pitch again for the Indians … Martinez could hit .500 with 40 HRs and they’d still lose 90 games if the pitching is anywhere near as bad as this year … as for free agents, I doubt there will be any money available, not with over $30 million going to Westbrook, Hafner, and Wood, and mostly empty stadiums … speaking of those guys, I thought before this year that Fausto Carmona was the key to this season, if he could pitch like he did 2 years ago, they’d compete, I’d say next year, it’s Hafner, Wood and Westbrook. If those guys can be healthy and productive and earn the money the Indians are paying them, they will compete … and that’s a big if

What, .270 with 12 Hrs, I was only off by 2 HRs. Who knows, he may have hit his last HR for the year. The point is dealing pitching depth, something they obviously lacked, when they could’ve gone with Peralta, Cabrera, Barfield/Carroll for the infield. When Jensen Lewis and Perez struggled at the outset, and Kobayashi didn’t exist, they had zero options. Stevens would’ve been the logical call up, who knows if he’d been successful. If he had been though, they probably wouldn’t be in last place. Didn’t know that about Aubrey. I imagine Brown will go the same route. If Aubrey becomes a starter with Baltimore and hits .300, Shapiro should be fired. They already gave Baltimore Guthrie for free.

As far as Stevens is concerned, if you look back on it, the logical call-up would have been Meloan, who was considered a better prospect. And we haven’t seen him.
I think both Toregas and Gimenez could supply more offense than Shoppach. The problem is that they’d have to provide more offense than Garko, as that’s ultimately who they’d be replacing in the line-up. And, as of right now, we don’t have a catcher who can hit like Garko, so there’s no reason to move him out of the line-up so we can move Martinez to first.
And while he might try, I don’t think any of us really want to see Garko in the outfield on a regular basis.
I faith in Westbrook to return. His set back due to soreness isn’t unusual and he was ahead of schedule, anyway. Given the extra time he has now, let him return slowly and finish out the year in Columbus.

The very notion of trading VMart seemed so inconceivable to me, up until last weekend. After the sweep by the Cubs and our season deemed over, trading our best player, our all star catcher/1B (and best hitter) doesn?t seem so strange to me. His value is sky high as he has shown he is healthy and hitting well.
If (and only if) we could trade him for a #2 type pitcher, I would make the deal. They are rebuilding now. Santana could be ready by 2011, so we could use Shoppach for the remainder of this season and probably next, rotating him with Gimenez or another FA.
The real hurdle with this idea is that there are likely zero teams that are willing or able to part with their #2 starting pitcher if they are in contention for the playoffs.

I wish the Indians would have been able to get a little more in return for Derosa. The Indians are a very dangerous offensive team, so I guess it didnt hurt them that much to let him go.

I’m fine with the deal because, as has been mentioned, hindsight is 20/20. The Cardinals look like they have some good arms in their farm system, too, so I’d expect another bullpen option.
I just hope a lesson of some kind has been learned by whoever remains in power over the next off season. Just suck it up and set a roster, with those one or two positions that are up for grabs, and then go from there. I can’t handle another off season where we’re making moves based upon being non-committal.

Unfortunately I don’t think this management team is capable of learning lessons, LACF. If they were, they would have put Sizemore on the DL to start the season. You’d have thought they’d have learned the lesson last year, when they played Hafner for 2 months when he couldn’t lift a fork, and played Victor with a bad elbow and hamstring … I still think they might have competed last year had those guys gone on the DL immediately, instead of being in the lineup and not hitting.

AC, is LaPorta coming back up this week? And what kind of playing time will he see? I took him as a sleeper in my fantasy league and with Raul Ibanez on the DL I need to plug in another OF. Is he worth throwing in this week? I expect big things from him.

PS. Don’t let these clowns get you down about the Simpson reference. It was spot on.

isavage, here’s hoping that they don’t have to learn their lesson, as many of them won’t be around for it to matter.
While I’ve often appreciated the fact that Shapiro and Wedge seem to be on the same page so often, I’m beginning to think that their close relationship is a problem. Not for the usual reason — that Shapiro will never fire Wedge — but because I don’t think the two ever really battle when it comes to personnel.
I mean, if Lou Pinella thought he need another starter going into this season, he probably would have made a stink about it until he got the guy. I don’t see Wedge ever doing that, not because he doesn’t speak out that way (although tell Jhonny Peralta that), but because I don’t see him giving Shapiro grief.
We should shop Pavano to NL teams — I think he’d have more value over there.

well my dear clevelanders itīs time we assure that the Dolanīs dramatically understand our discomfort with the ways those silly airheads (Shapiro, Wedge, Shelton & Willis) are managing our team: DONīT GO TO THE PARK, KEEP HOME īTIL FROM UPSTAIRS SOMEONE WITH COMMON SENSE & GUTS DECIDES TO CLEAN UP THE HOUSE. instead, we can watch the Cardinals & Mark DeRosa crush the opposition in the comfort of our home. What you say Tribe?

isavage, with all do respect, the notion that Jordan Brown can replace Martinez is ludicrous. I will buy into the LaPorta argument but my caveat would be ‘in time’, and not expect him to perform like VMart next year barring a Longoria/Braun type of explosion into the bigs. Martinez and LaPorta are two different types of hitters.

I still think Peralta gets traded this year. It seems that we all have 2011 pegged as our “resurgence” of youth (but probably more like 2012) with the likes of guys such as Weglarz, Santana, LaPorta, Brantley, perhaps Brown, Rondon, Mills, Hodges, White, Rivero, Tomlin, Putnam, Chisenhall, Phelps, de la Cruz, et al.

I don’t mean like directly replaceable AM. I mean that we have 1B options who have the ability to hit .300 with around 15-20 HRs … shoot, Garko was once considered someone who could do that, Brown may be able to do that, Laporta better be able to, or he’ll be a huge bust. To me, that’s enough to replace Victor’s bat, if they can get a high end starting pitching prospect for him. How many games this year have the Indians absolutely won which they would’ve lost without Victor, and instead were starting someone with maybe a little less power and BA ability? (for fun, I looked at the few Indians wins this month, Victor was 0-6 in a couple of close games, he did have some hits and RBIs in games they won be fairly wide margin, only game I could fine they might’ve lost without him was 6/11 at KC, 1 run game where he had 1 RBI … also, they had one of he best records in the majors 2nd half last year without Victor … why? Their pitching was decent) Now how many would they have won if they weren’t starting someone who’s going to give up 6 runs in 4 innings every other start? The problem with 2011 is no Cliff Lee. And beyond Cliff Lee, the pitching situation gets pretty dicey. If Westbrook can return and return to form, the situation gets a little better, but I can’t name one pitcher in the organization I trust can be successful right now or next year other than Lee. And like I said, there’s going to be no money for free agents, the best we could hope for is another Pavano type reclamation project.

I had missed the earlier posts from AC this weekend about why some of us want a change at the top, but I have yet to hear or read a reason to stick with the current regime.

I have two problems with the continued defense of Eric Wedge:
1) When things are going well (aka second half last year, 2007), I hear continuous praise of “the job Eric Wedge is doing”. You can’t have it both ways. If he gets praise when they win, he gets blame when they don’t. Either the manager has an effect or he doesn’t.
2) The main defense of Eric Wedge is that he isn’t being given a talented team. The players are at fault. However Mark Shapiro continues to claim that he is supplying a talented squad to manage. For the last four years, he has claimed that the team would be competitive in their division. That’s been true in only one of those years. There are only two options – either Shapiro is not good at evaluating talent (which means he should step down) or Wedge is not good at putting that talent together (which means that Wedge must go. You can’t defend them both.

I’d almost say its both options, wbwright.

You have to have the leadership at the top to get the most out of the players too. I don’t see that out of either the manager or the GM, but I’m wonder what was the wonderdust that Skinner and Datz had in their pockets when they were managing in the organization?

isavage, I just don’t know who would give us top of the pitching for Victor. I don’t know who out there has that much pitching to spare, aside from perhaps the Red Sox, but they don’t appear to be in a hurry to make any deals this year.
As for OUR pitching, you mention us not having anyone like Cliff for 2011, but that’s two years away. Cliff wasn’t Cliff two years ago. Up until last year, he was a solid #3 starter who had flashes. It took him a few years to develop into the guy he is now. I don’t think you can say that we don’t have a Cliff Lee type guy in our system, because we very well might — how would we know? And, again, we never counted on having a guy like Cliff because we never knew he’d do this.
In two years time, we’ll also include the current Akron rotation in the mix, guys like Rondon, Gomez, Edell, Smith, and Wright should all be close to ready by 2011.
I would love to make a deal for an arm we can count on, I just don’t think that happens anymore these days. It’s all free agency and we all know the Tribe will get out bid every time.

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