8/19: Indians vs. Angels

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on STO and WTAM.cle6.gif

INDIANS (51-67): CF Grady Sizemore, LF Jamey Carroll, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, DH Travis Hafner, C Kelly Shoppach, 2B Luis Valbuena, 1B Chris Gimenez. LHP Jeremy Sowers (4-8, 4.88).



ana2.gifANGELS (72-45): 3B Chone Figgins, RF Bobby Abreu, LF Juan Rivera, DH Vladimir Guerrero, CF Torii Hunter, C Mike Napoli, 1B Kendry Morales, 2B Howie Kendrick, SS Erick Aybar. RHP Jered Weaver (12-4, 4.12).


no Marte, no Laporta, and Carroll and Gimenez in the lineup. Wonderful. Shouldn’t they also shut down Hafner for the year? He was doing pretty well until the past month or so, got to think the shoulder’s bothering him. Either way, he’s taking a spot that could be used to get a look at a prospect. And he lost last night’s game for them. Marte should be given a chance to play every day for the rest of this year, Jordan Brown should be on the team and playing every day. They’re going to lose both of those guys in the off season and get nothing in return, and there’s a decent chance that one or both of them will have success in the majors, for another team

I didn’t expect LaPorta to start the first day he gets called up. I understand using Carroll as they are simply because a) they’re limited on OF and b) the more time he’s out there, the more value he can show. If he doesn’t get dealt, though, then you have to wonder.
There’s no way Marte would play every day for the rest of the year — where would you play him? With Jhonny entrenched at third, Hodges making his way back, and a long list of first basemen in our organization, Marte had very, very little chance of making the team. It’s just a sad reality.
I feel bad for him, but let’s not forget that he had his chances before now. I felt bad for Barfield, too, but he also had his chances (and Marte actually performed in AAA, at least). Once they decided to move Jhonny to third, Marte’s options in Cleveland were just about down. His time in the majors — just like Shoppach’s — is as a placeholder for the eventual 2011 roster.

Hodges? Hodges has done much less than Marte to show he belongs in the big leagues. He has a .720 OPS this year in Columbus. Chisenhall is a much better prospect than Hodges. Marte can play at 1b or DH every day for the rest of the year, and spell Peralta a few games. What’s so difficult about that? The only reason it’s not happening is that Wedge insists on throwing Gimenez in, who I wouldn’t consider a “prospect” at all, especially after the Marson acquisition. How many backup catchers do you need? I’d think Toregas backing up Santana would be enough, which is what the 2011 roster should look like … I don’t feel bad for Marte, I feel bad for the Indians for not giving him a chance, and for my eyes, which will have to watch Peralta in one of his month-long funks strike out swinging at many an off speed pitch that’s a foot off the plate and in the dirt. Is Peralta really going to be 3B opening day next year? They’re bigger fools than I thought if that’s the case. If you don’t expect to contend next year, then you dump Peralta, it’s a money saver, and he kills them with his April non-production. Is Peralta around for 2011, regardless? At that point you have Chisenhall available, if he keeps progressing. You go with Marte as the starting 3B next year, and put Hodges in if he totally sucks out. I’m sure either of those guys can manage to hit .210 in April, which I can 100% guarantee is what we’ll get from Jhonny. What do they have to lose? Marte hits .200, as usual, and they move on, and give Hodges a shot. Hodges doesn’t do anything, then you move on from him to, and either Chisenhall’s available for 2011, or you pick someone up with the money you saved by not paying Peralta. They have a lot to gain, if Marte can turn it around and actually be a decent player at this level. He had a .960 OPS at Columbus, better than Laporta, who struggled just as much in his brief, sporadic time up in the big leagues. Marte’s minors numbers had gotten worse every year he played since 2004, until this year, when they’re the best they’ve ever been. You can’t tell me something didn’t change. Marte and Jordan Brown are the prospects they should be getting a look at.

Man, I have been arguing that they lose Peralta for a while now. I just don’t see how he possibly fits into the 2011 plans, but I guess I’m wrong about that. He’s going to cost them close to $12 million for those two years.
But I’m applying logic here. I’m working under the assumption that if Peralta WASN’T in their plans, they’d have moved him by now, and Marte would be starting at third. But I don’t know how much value Peralta currently has and, as AM once pointed out, perhaps the plan is to deal him in the winter meetings.
If that’s the case, then Marte still has a shot. I just wish they’d get him a start over there every once in a while. At this point, if we deal Peralta in the winter, our starting third baseman next season (assuming it IS Marte) won’t have played a single inning there at the major league level in 2009. He’ll have more innings at first.
I give Hodges some room because of his injury.
So perhaps we’re seeing Peralta every day to increase his value, which seems to be a pretty regular excuse these days (albeit one I came up with).
I don’t understand Gimenez, either, not with Toregas on the roster and Marson really playing well in AAA right now. For that matter, our young starters should be pitching to catchers who might actually be catching them next year and beyond.

I don’t mind Marte playing 1b, he’s certainly had enough grooming in the minors where he should be ok to step back into 3b if they go the logical route and move Peralta. Though I do think they should sit Hafner the rest of the year, get him back on his shoulder strengthening program, send him to Paul Byrd’s dentist, whatever, then they could DH Peralta and have Marte gets some reps at 3b. The fact that they’re once again not giving Marte a realistic chance to succeed is what bothers me, and it seems to point to them not moving Peralta. Just look at how they handle Marte, versus how they handle Crowe and Valbuena, and Gimenez. Valbuena was hitting like crap, but Wedge gets out and publicly states that he likes Valbuena’s approach, that he’s swinging the bat well, which from what I’d seen of Valbuena to that point was a total lie, and Wedge keeps giving Valbuena pretty consistent at bats … Valbuena then turns around and bats .320 in July. That’s how you SHOULD handle a prospect. Every time they call Marte up, it’s like they’re on a mission to destroy his confidence. I thought they’d called him up too soon before, because he’d never really done well in the minors with them until this year, but I remember one game pretty early on last year, when Marte had actually swung the bat well in his previous at bats, though he hadn’t got a hit, and they had the bases loaded and Marte was due up, and they pinch hit Hafner instead (who then hit the ball like 2 feet in front of the plate, I believe) … what kind of message does that send?

Well, in defense of the Valbuena moves, they didn’t really have anyone else. That’s Marte’s problem — there’s a guy ahead of him at every position – and behind him, for that matter.
With Crowe out, I see no reason why they can’t just play LaPorta in LF every day with Marte at first.
They won’t do this, of course.

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