"Wait a minute. Are you Ken Griffey Jr.? Sorry. Didn't mean to get your hopes up."
The only thing that puzzles me about the Mark DeRosa trade is the fact that it didn’t involve the promotion of Matt LaPorta (.302 average and .898 OPS at Triple-A Columbus).
On Sunday, the Indians went with a lineup that included Ryan Garko in left field. This lineup should never, ever happen again.
The Garko-in-the-outfield experiment began as a pre-Spring Training source of amusement that I, for one, never expected to see the light of day (or, more accurately, the regular season). When Garko dropped that ball Sunday, I hope the message got through that first basemen should not be moonlighting as corner outfielders in the Major Leagues.
Ben Francisco isn’t the answer in the corner outfield, either. He’s batting .225 with a .659 OPS this season. He’s batting .133 with three RBIs in his last 22 games and is currently 3-for-35 and 0-for-10. Last season, he hit .251 with a .745 OPS from July 1 on. Francisco is a nice guy and a hard worker, but the results speak for themselves. He should be
sued used (no litigation necessary) to spell Grady Sizemore and nothing more.
Tonight, Chris Gimenez gets the start in left. Gimenez is a versatile player who certainly could have a future at this level. But for this team at this juncture, I’m not sure he’s the right fit.
Fans want something to latch onto in a lost season. If it’s my team, I’d give them LaPorta. Or, to bring in another option to back up Sizemore, I’d give them Michael Brantley. But I wouldn’t give them Garko or Francisco in left field any longer.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Aaron Laffey isn’t joining the rotation this week, after all. His rough start for Akron on Sunday (3 1/3 IP, 3 R/ER, 5 H, 6 BB, 1 HBP) sealed the Tribe’s decision to give him another Minor League rehab start, most likely Friday for Columbus. Laffey said he understood. “I can’t do the same thing everybody else is doing,” he said. “They need someone to come in and give them quality starts and not go to the bullpen after five innings.”
So it looks like the Tomo Ohka era continues.Actually, I forgot to take the two upcoming off days into consideration. The Indians can get away without using Ohka as their fifth starter the next turn through the rotation.
- Chris Perez already gets points from the local media for being a quality sound bite/interview subject. Now, we’ll see how he does on the mound. He said it was tough leaving a first-place team, but he really did seem excited to be joining an Indians team certain to give him plenty of opportunity in the ‘pen. Perez, after all, logged just eight innings of work in the month of June for the Cards. “They were trying to trade me,” he said, “so they didn’t use me.”
- Rafael Betancourt (strained right groin) threw a simulated session today and is expected to throw another Wednesday. If all goes well, he could be out on a rehab assignment by the end of the weekend.
- A FOX Sports report indicated the Indians are now taking offers for Cliff Lee. Last I heard, the Indians were still operating under the mindset that they’d have to be completely overwhelmed to deal the reigning Cy Young Award winner for the second year in a row. They have an affordable $9 million option on Lee and no other viable options to lead their rotation in 2010. But you never say never.
- I know this much: If Lee is traded this year, that would be a tough sell to the fan base.
- Masa Kobayashi gave up the game-winning run in the 13th inning of Columbus’ 8-7 loss to Durham on Sunday. Kobayashi, still getting paid $3 million for this season, has allowed seven runs on 23 hits with seven walks since his ousting to Triple-A.
- On the bright side, catcher Wyatt Toregas has hit .327 (16-for-49) with three doubles, three homers and eight RBIs over his last 15 games.
- Brantley leads the International League with 29 stolen bases.
- Down at Double-A Akron, 1B Beau Mills has heated up. He’s driven in 10 runs over his last eight games.
- OF Nick Weglarz was named the Eastern League player of the week. He’s reached base safely in 22 straight games, going 23-for-71 with 19 walks, five homers and 21 RBIs in that span.
- While the AL as a whole posted a .569 winning percentage against the NL in the last two years of Interleague Play, the Indians were going 11-25.
- More than 20 former Indians players will take part in the 2010 Fantasy Camp, set to take place Jan. 16-23 in Goodyear, Ariz. Among those scheduled to take part are Bob Feller, Rick Manning, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Carlos Baerga, Scott Bailes, Len Barker, Dave Burba, Brook Jacoby, Mike Hargrove, Charles Nagy and Cory Snyder. Fans can register by calling (216) 420-HITS or visiting the “Fans” section at Indians.com.
UPDATE: Apparently, an effort is being made to land Shaq to throw out a ceremonial first pitch sometime this week. I’ll let you know if it becomes official.
UPDATE No. 2: Someone commented on Victor Martinez being listed as an infielder on the roster on Indians.com. I pointed this out to the people who control such things, and it’s been changed. He’s once again listed under catchers, so you can get some sleep tonight.