The neighborhood ain't what it used to be, in case you ain't looked lately

vicbanner.jpgWow. It’s been a long week.

Over the coming months — and, I guess, years — we’ll dissect and hopefully make some sense out of all that transpired in the last eight days.

But for now, if you’re looking for Victor Martinez’s reaction to today’s trade, you can read all about it here. If you’re looking for some info on the pitchers acquired, you can read that here. And in case you missed it yesterday, here is the rundown on the seven players acquired in the trades involving Cliff Lee, Ben Francisco, Ryan Garko and Rafael Betancourt.

There are, of course, plenty other notes to peruse, as well. Here’s the rundown…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • The Indians took $16 million off the books for 2010 by trading Cliff Lee and Martinez and their options for next season. None of the other players traded had guaranteed contracts for next year. Shapiro said the money saved on Lee and Martinez could factor into the club’s offseason spending, which, prior to the most recent moves, was going to be non-existent. “We haven’t been told anything explicitly as to where our payroll will be this winter,” Shapiro said, “but I think what we looked at it in our conversations with Paul Dolan is that this would create an opportunity for us to be opportunistic. I wouldn’t mention this in this context if I didn’t think it was a possibility.”
  • And that ability to be opportunistic had Shapiro speaking in more optimistic tones about 2010. Obviously, the Indians will still be a longshot. But… “I think in a division that’s not perfect, with no real powerhouse team, it will take all things firing right, but I think [contention] next year is not out of the question,” Shapiro said. “I think what’s more important is that we have a multi-year opportunity to have a good team.”
  • Regarding the fate of Eric Wedge and his coaching staff in the wake of these trades, some might assume the Indians will make big changes to bring in new faces to work with all these new bodies. And maybe that is, indeed, the case. But Shapiro, for whatever it’s worth, said, “I don’t see any correlation between those two things.”
  • Shapiro also said he wouldn’t define what’s taken place over the last eight days as “sweeping changes.” It’s all semantics, of course, but when you trade away your staff ace, your best player and three other guys in the span of eight days, those are major changes. Maybe Shapiro felt they weren’t “sweeping” changes because no members of the Progressive Field cleaning crew were sent packing.
  • Fans, bloggers, writers and radio hosts alike all expressed frustration over the Lee trade and the fact that the Indians did not get Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ, among others. Some will be upset that the Indians didn’t get Clay Buchholz in the V-Mart trade. Shapiro had a pretty rational response to all that: “All of the names you guys have thrown at me, none of those guys got traded. We feel very good about the group of players we did get.” In other words, the Indians didn’t get those guys because they weren’t available, plain and simple.
  • With Martinez gone, the obvious question is, when will we see Carlos Santana? “He can hit [up here] now,” Shapiro said. “He’s right where he should be [in Double-A]. His bat is far advanced from other components of his game. With another year at Triple-A, we feel he’ll be ready for the Major Leagues.” So, 2011, basically.
  • Surprisingly (to me, at least), Shapiro made it sound as though he expects Carlos Carrasco to be in the rotation by season’s end.
  • I hope none of you rushed out and bought an Andy Marte jersey when he got called up Tuesday, because he changed numbers today. He’s now No. 25, which he wore at Columbus, after wearing No. 15 for a few days. And Wyatt Toregas, called up to be the backup catcher, is now wearing Marte’s old number.
  • Sandy Alomar, by the way, used to wear No. 15.
  • Speaking of Alomar, there was a certain symmetry to him being here for his Tribe Hall of Fame press conference on the day Martinez was traded. I’m pretty certain we’ll someday see V-Mart back here for a similar presser.
  • A scoring change was made from Wednesday’s game, as the two Angels runs in the first innings have been ruled unearned. Aaron Laffey’s line is now seven runs (four earned) allowed on seven hits over four innings, and his season ERA drops from 4.40 to 4.08.
  • As of the second inning tonight, there were 30,000 fans in the house tonight, including 4,200 walkups. The pre-Deadline purge will undoubtedly affect attendance, but not on Tom Hamilton Fireworks Night. Will be interesting to see how many people come out tomorrow night for that Victor Martinez bobblehead, which is instantly a collector’s item.

~AC

UPDATE: No player I talked to in the Indians’ clubhouse took the Victor news harder than Kelly Shoppach.

To some, that might sound strange, as the two essentially competed for playing time behind the plate. But these guys became very close over the last four seasons, and Martinez was a tremendous help to Shoppach getting his big-league career going. While Shoppach and Lee were a tandem on the field, Shoppach and Martinez were the real tandem off it.

Shoppach had some interesting things to say about the Martinez trade, including some pointed words about the direction this organization is taking. I’ll lay it all out in a preview of Saturday’s game that should be up on the Indians.com site late tonight, so check it out. 

14 Comments

I just heard Mike Hegan say that the “Tigers area very aggressive, fastball hitting team. You’ve gotta’ get ‘em out on off speed and breaking balls”…I agree…couldn’t agree more. My doubt is who in the world called for a fastball to Guillen after “giving” him the chance to get his “timing” up to “speed”? This “is ridiculous”. After today, I resent some bonehead from Ft. Wayne throwing ANOTHER All Star under the bus. I smell a rat…

Allow me to be the voice of positivity please: I like the Indians recent moves. Vic and Lee didn’t figure into this team’s plans in 2011 anyway so let me give some positive feedback in a time of need: I love the moves. LOVE ‘EM baby! I love Masterson. I do. If any of you listen to the Bill Simmon’s podcast, he made an invaluable point with his Yankee friend Jacko: Eventually Buccholz will have to prove himself. Aside from his no hitter against a September call up laden Orioles team he hasn’t proven much. If anything. He was awful last year. Eventually he has to prove something outside of his one no hitter. Masterson, was brilliant in the ’08 playoffs. He was fantastic. He’s got a nice and easy delivery, likened to D.E. the greatest closer of all time (aside from that awful dinger he gave up to Kirk Gibson). I love the move. I like Masterson in the starter role. I like Carrasco. I like the Indians chances of competing in ’10. I do. We have a nucleus on offense consisting of Grady, Choo, Asdrubal, and Pronk. Not bad. Our offense shouldn’t decrease dramatically. If Perez, Perez, Lewis, and Sipp can develop into reliable relievers we could be all right next season. I might be in the minority but in this day in age I don’t think Tommy John surgery should be career threatening (aside from odd exceptions like Xavier Nady). In fact those that return from the surgery have gone on to have decent success (Shin Soo-Choo anyone? Bedard? David Wells? John Smoltz? Mariano Rivera?) I like the moves. I don’t think a rotation of Westbrook, Carrasco, Masterson, Rondon, and Laffey or Carmona is anything to scoff at. Either way, I agree with Shapiro’s thinking that 2010 is a potential year to compete. I don’t like Wedge, he needs to go. He can’t manage a lineup and as I’ve said earlier when a manager gets close to the WS but fails he becomes obsolete in a way (Leyland in ’06 (haven’t clinched since), Garner in ’05, Baker in ’02, Torre after ’03, Wedge + Melvin + Hurdle in ’07, Hargrove in ’97, Bochy in ’98, Valentine in ’00, Larussa is an exception, our old buddy in ’03 (why the hell did he keep Pedro in during game 7 against the Yanks?) and Cox since ’99) Wedge needs to go after the year. Replace him with someone pitching savvy (I’m thinking Farrell). This team isn’t far away. Keep the faith. I wish I wasn’t reading so much hate right now. This team has the potential to be good next year. I really believe it. Now that the deadline is over, we can start looking towards next year. This is a great thing. Learn who could factor in (Giminez, Valbuena, Laffy, Laporta, and maybe even Santana (I know his average isn’t great but he’s got great plate awareness and can flat out rake!) and see what happens. No one expected the Rays to do anything last year, yet they made the WS. Let’s stay positive. We didn’t get peanuts, unlike people like Hoynes and Drennan would lead you to believe. This team isn’t far off.

Remember: If we weren’t competing this season with our roster, what makes you believe we would have competed next year with the same group of “Major League” like misfits.

Also Chris Perez needs to don the number #99 or just fully embrace the Kenny Powers persona.

I am now, officially, excited about next season. Go Tribe.

strummer, you have no loyalty. NONE! And your blinders are readily apparent. Do you work for Mark Shapiro b/c if you did you would have the best job security known to man while being a part of one of the worst affiliations in baseball.

thanks!

thanks!

AM, do you really dislike this Martinez trade? Back in June we discussed this and Martinez was batting .370, and I decided a trade for Buchholz with Martinez was a good move then, then the Red Sox apparently turned down this swap now, and turned around and gave the Indians a deal I consider better than just Buchholz, Masterson, who’s actually pitched better than Buchholz to this date, and another top pitching prospect. The Indians have some real depth in the bullpen now, C Perez is pitching very well, Smith has been doing well, if Wood can turn things around they have the makings of an actual good and deep bullpen next year even if R Perez and Lewis don’t pan out, unlike the illusion of a good bullpen this year. If, and this is a big if, Westbrook can return, and Carmona can regain his form, they have a much better rotation than they had this year with Lee. If, and this is not so big of an if, one of those guys can pitch well next year, they can still have a better rotation than this year after this Masterson move. Wedge and Willis need to go, they’ve lost at least 5 games this year because of horrible Wedge bullpen moves, and Willis has helped no one. Even so, if the bullpen doesn’t spectacularly blow those 5 games against the Cubs and Brewers, and Wedge doesn’t leave Huff in for the 8th inning 3 games ago, the Indians are in the race today, even with Sizemore batting .230, Victor hitting under .200 for 2 months, Laffey gone for a month, Carmona pitching terribly, and a rotation that’s included Ohka and Huff for most of the year

strummer is right on. There isn’t one person out there that wants to see Vic go, especially, but it was the right move. I am absolutely capable of being critical of this organization (as I expressed with the Cliff Lee RETURN; not the move, but the return), but I do not feel like that is the appropriate reaction right now.

This is what middle market teams must do to survive; you all should be used to that by now. It isn’t going to change.

In:Matt LaPortaRob BrysonZach JacksonMichael BrantleyCarlos SantanaJohn MeloanChris PerezJess ToddConnor GrahamScott BarnesCarlos CarrascoLou MarsonJason DonaldJason KnappJustin MastersonNick HagadoneBryan PriceOut:C.C. SabathiaCasey BlakeMark DeRosaRafael BetancourtRyan GarkoCliff LeeBen FranciscoVictor Martinez

kevin, you forgot Jon Meloan under “out.”

Our new guy Carrasco beat Pedro Martinez in his first start with Columbus last night. And,
I like Giminez. He’s versatile, he plays hard, Wedge’s kind of player. But I have heard no good explanation on why Matt Laporta isn’t with the tribe right now. You take Derosa, Garko and Martinez off the team and Laporta isn’t in the mix? It doesn’t make any sense, i’ve heard they want him to play first but he can play every day in LF right now. If there is any hope of competing in ’10 like everyone is alluding to, Laporta needs to be a big run producer and he needs to play now.

Define irony: The e-mail the Indians sent out announcing the Victor trade had an ad at the bottom featuring Victor.

Did you all notice in Cliff Lee’s first game as a Phillie, he nearly knocked one out? It bounced off the wall in left-center, and he got a double out of it. I had to smile. I wish all the former Indians the best, and they will be missed.
Hopefully, my post-trade blues will come to an end soon. I can’t describe how much I didn’t want to see some of these guys go, how much I was upset about the returns, and how it pained me to see a guy like Victor being so moved about not being an Indian any longer.
However, I look forward to what this shell of a team can make itself in the next few years. They already are playing well in typical late season fashion, against the odds and circumstances.

it’s hard when a team gets broken up, no consolation I know, but Cliff Lee was excellent in his first NL start last night…
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Devilabrit, you’re not helping. It’s like someone in the family just died too young, and you come in as someone outside the family and say, “Hey, have you guys tried the potato salad back here? Delicious!” Let us mourn by ourselves.

I found Bud Selig’s mailing address. Write him some informed, logical letters asking…. no, begging…. for a salary cap. It’s not fair that some teams have to trade their captain to fix prior mistakes while other teams can just buy their way out.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167
Phone: (212) 931-7800

isavage, I will respond later to your question as to whether or not I like this trade. The long and the short of it is I think all of MLB knew that Shapiro was ordered to cut payroll and we were therefore lowballed for Lee and Victor.

kevindean, I must severely disagree with you on “This is what middle market teams must do to survive.” Small-to-mid market teams will utilize top-tier impending free agents to SUPPLEMENT their own farm system, not trade away players that aren’t even in a contract year for relatively cheap money options (given their projected/expected performances).

CC was different. He was in a contract year, unaffordable to Cleveland and therefore leaving. The return value for him was better than the additional compensation draft pick. Our drafting has been SO DAMN BAD the past decade that we are in a position where we have to add depth through trades because of the organizational fumblings in the draft.

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