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