"You've chosen to shave your hair. That's a look you're cultivating in order to look fashionable. We don't consider you part of the bald community."

I have no statistical evidence to back this up (and, in fact, I’m quite certain I don’t want statistical evidence to back this up), but I believe this current crop of Tribe players contains the most shaved heads in club history.

Be it in an effort to be fashionable, an effort to decrease air resistance and increase comfort or an effort to mask oncoming baldness, three guys in this clubhouse — Chris Gimenez, Justin Masterson and Jensen Lewis — are sporting naked noggins.

Toss in clubbie Josh Ball and his depilated dome, and you have a congregation of cue balls, a home for the hairless.

So if you want to show your support for the latest incarnation of the Indians, by all means grab a razor and go crazy, folks, go crazy.

If nothing else, this could open the door to the Tribe getting corporate sponsorship from Bic.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • Matt LaPorta will see “regular time” in the outfield and at first base, according to Eric Wedge. Where LaPorta’s future ultimately lies is still a matter of mystery, as both left field and first base appear wide open for the outset of 2010.
  • Wedge said the Indians had planned to get LaPorta up here before September, regardless of Crowe’s injury, because pre-September at-bats are considered more meaningful than September at-bats. That’s all well and good, but it’s Aug. 19. I’m not sure when this pre-September promotion was going to take place, but clearly those meaningful at-bats would have been in short supply.
  • Why isn’t LaPorta in tonight’s lineup? Because he was en route from Toledo and wasn’t set to arrive until just before gametime.
  • As for Crowe, he’ll be out two to four weeks. And this news comes a day after both Wedge and Crowe said they expected Crowe to be back in the lineup tonight. An MRI exam today revealed the strain to be more serious than originally thought.
  • Shin-Soo Choo is now the backup center fielder for your Cleveland Indians.
  • When’s the last time you felt supremely confident that Travis Hafner would come through with a big hit in the clutch. It’s been at least two and a half seasons, right? While Pronk’s playing time has been affected by his shoulder injury, his overall numbers haven’t been horrible. But his performance in the clutch is another matter, as he’s hitting .209 with runners in scoring position, .129 with RISP and two out, .182 (2-for-11) with the bases loaded and .125 (1-for-8) with the bases loaded and less than two out.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is now ninth in the AL in batting average (.316) after going 4-for-5 on Tuesday night. His .816 OPS is fourth among AL shortstops (and first among AL shortstops who illogically began the season at second base), and he’s hit safely in 12 straight games and 23 of 25.
  • The Tribe’s stretch of seven home games without a homer is the longest in the history of Progressive (nee Jacobs) Field. It’s the longest such stretch by a Tribe club since August 1991.
  • Incredibly, the Indians hit just 22 homers in 82 home games in that 1991 season at Cleveland Stadium and had a 13-game homerless stretch in June of that year.
  • The MLB Network will air the RBI Senior Girls Championship from Aug. 14 this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Baseball Federation team played that game against Hawaii. I won’t spoil the ending for you here.
  • All right, fine, they lose 3-0.
  • That film crew is still here following Shin-Soo Choo around for a documentary for MBC in South Korea. Today, they interviewed Grady Sizemore and Wedge during batting practice. How do you say “grind it out” in Korean?
  • Outfielder Donovan Tate, the No. 3 overall selection in the Draft this year, opted to sign with the Padres (for $6.25 million) the other night and pass up an opportunity to play football for the University of North Carolina (for free). I’m sure money made his choice quite a bit easier, but, nonetheless, he hit that same fork in the road crossed by Sizemore back in 2000. “I was still a kid at the time,” Sizemore said. “You don’t know what’s best for your future, but you just go with your gut. Baseball was kind of what I felt like I had the best chance to succeed with, so I went for it. … But I missed football. I still miss football. I enjoy watching it. You can always look back and wonder, ‘What if?’ But I’m happy with what I’m doing now.”
  • The Indians are teaming up with Operation Homefront for a school supply drive on Gateway Plaza tomorrow to benefit military families. Tribe fans can assist in this cause by donating school supplies and backpacks on the plaza and at Gates A, C and D of Progressive Field throughout the 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Angels. Kids participating in the drive with a donation will receive a voucher for a free upper box ticket to any September home game.
  • Finally, congratulations to my friend and yours, WTAM’s Tribe beat reporter Mark Schwab, who is getting married in Houston this weekend. Here’s wishing him and his bride Texas-sized happiness.

~AC

18 Comments

Not that Pronk needs defending, but I feel like he’s reaching. It’s understandable, that he feels like he needs to prove his value, because he does. But I think it’s making him fall apart under pressure.
So LaPorta will get time in LF. I guess there’s a little bit of hope for Marte after all (although I really doubt it).

Asdrubal has done a nice job this season. Choo has been pretty consistent too.

it may take me a little bit of backstory to get to my point and questions but follow me here b/c I am lost. Does anyone remember shortly after LaPorta got demoted and Mark Shapiro stated that with certain developmental players that the organizational higher-ups can instruct the manager to play the prospect daily or at his own will? Shapiro assured us that Wedge was not given such decree to play him regularly at that time.

I have two points: (1) is it possible that Shapiro specifically told Wedge to NOT play LaPorta regularly for the double-dip monetary reason (LaPorta’s arbitration and Dellucci’s contract)? (2) with all of our rational questions about the roster make-up and playing time (positional battles for 2010 and beyond, an old utility player that hasn’t been traded yet that gets consistent time in lieu of younger guys, or a stick-less utility guy getting time whom has never dominated any level of the minor league in lieu of true developmental players), IS IT AT ALL POSSIBLE that these illogical moves are being IN CONCERT with the organization seeking out Eric Wedge and HIS plan for the future?

These moves are simply NOT geared towards the future but rather are still part of Wedge’s mind-boggling plan. WHY allow him to make his own decisions rather than making a must-adhere organizational decree UNLESS they were seriously thinking that EW is the right man for the job to lead this “reloading” period in the future. This thought frightens me as an Indians fan.

AM, if there is one, overriding principle from the front office down to Wedge, I think it’s “hedging our bets.”
Regardless of how long Wedge is with this organization — and, even if he IS around next year, how could they possibly justify bringing him back once his contract is over? We’re already prepared for another losing season next year, the last year of his contract — I think the “hedging their bets” philosophy will stick around. To a certain extent, it’s the nature of the business. Sadly, though, it never, ever works out (or, rather, it hasn’t).
The fact that Carroll is playing every day on a team that is rebuilding HAS to mean they’re trying to deal him, and if they don’t then Wedge is stupid. There’s no other explanation for playing him, particularly when they could actually continue the love affair with Gimenez AND play Marte if they just sat Carroll.
The fact that Jhonny is playing every day is either an indication that they are willing to spend $12 million on him (and more) for the future or they think his value will increase in time for the off-season (and it looks like it will).
Why are they playing Shoppach, a guy who is not worthy bringing back as a placeholder, and a guy who has no real trade value, at ALL?
It all comes back to that philosophy that they want to make sure they’re not investing everything in a player that’s going to bust. The flip side of that, though, is that they don’t invest enough in that player. How much better would we have been had we just decided, in spring training, that Jhonny was our third baseman?
In my mind, that’s what this team needs — definitive decisions. I do, however, understand the vagueness with regards to Jhonny and Marte. They have to play Jhonny every day to increase his value, but they sacrificing quality time for Marte by doing so.

Oh, also, doesn’t playing the Angels make you realize how ordinary the AL Central is? We’ve been winning every series against the Central, but have lost every series against the West.

your point about the divisions is noted. I thought about it as a comparison between playoffs teams (LAA and TEX) versus mediocrity in the Central. Same point, different angle of thought.

I am with you on the Peralta front since we had this discussion about a week ago. His value in December is exponentially better than in June or July b/c of his track record. I’d dump his contract and hope one of the three guys we have (Marte, Hodges, Chisenhall) can simply run with the position in the future.

And while I see no real place for Gimenez on this roster currently, in the future or beyond, the love affair as you put it with him is ludicrous. I would rather see Brown or Marte as isavage has requested. That was my point about the “true developmental player.”

On the Carroll front, we’ve been saying that his consistent time was caused by a necessity to get value for him. His numbers have been quite good and he’s still here. Shoppach also has no place here nor do I want his contract. Marson and Toregas will be fine for 2010. If they are really concerned about catcher, Pudge Rodriguez will be a free agent and perhaps a quality one year rental bridge to Santana, particularly in tutorship to a young rotation and backstops.

Congrats to Schwaby, my favorite beat guy, no offense, AC, your pretty cool, too.

Well my two cents: Seems they are trying to force Gimenez into Carroll’s ‘super sub’ role, but really do we have to have one? Are we taking the versatility factor too far? At the beginning of this year we heard about everyone being able to play multiple positions, and it felt, to most of us, to just lead to confusion in the lineup. But I suppose instead of signing guys like Carroll for veterans contracts, we may as well see if Gimenez can ‘get it’ for the rest of the year, no?

Its disgusting to think of what we may have gotten for Shoppach last year, but I didnt want to trade him then, so hindsight, right? But some team will take a chance and try to ‘fix’ him, since he did have a nice power year in 08.

I cant help but compare our situation to the Brewers’ rebuilder. They groom good young talent in the low minors, and promote the core of them together through each level. The players all keep the chemistry of playing with each other, and share the learning curve, eventually to the majors. With our wave of talent, we should copy this. Even though some big names were added to the high minors, let them get acclamated to each other, and the manager, because , lets face it, AA and AAA are our future team, and that fella in AAA is our future manager.

One more thing: AM, I know who else woud have been a great one year catcher to bridge Santana’s gap… Victor.

Playing Gimenez at all only makes sense if they plan on moving Marson before next year. At this point though he’s just not hitting, he should have gone back to AAA at the beginning of the month to get more ABs there. To an extent, I guess I can see why they’d want Gimenez around, if he can play catcher, infield and outfield, it would mean they could get away with carrying one less position player, since you always need a backup catcher. So, instead of having Toregas, Marson, and X utility player, you just have Toregas and Gimenez. But the guy was hitting .237 in AAA, he was promoted WAY too early, and we don’t need a super-sub who doesn’t hit at any position he plays … You can say keeping Shoppach was a bad idea in hindsight, but once they made the Santana acquisition, how did it make sense to keep Victor and Shoppach? Pay him $2 million to be a backup for one year, when he has no future with the team? They might’ve been able to send Shoppach back to Boston for Masterson before the season started. It might have made sense to keep him if they had a rock solid pitching staff, and no holes anywhere else on the team, but that obviously wasn’t the case … Shoppach’s sucking this year to me has been overly exaggerated, I don’t think there’s that much fixing to do. Shoppach’s numbers projected to the ABs he had last year: 17 2b, 17 HR, 41 walks, 127 SOs. He’s actually improved upon last year’s walk rate (his OBP is basically identical to last year), and slightly on the SO rate. His slugging numbers have suffered because the 2b are down, but he had a GREAT slugging year last year, .517. I am sure he can be a valuable player if a team commits to him full time. This year has definitely been an off year, but his OPS is still 6th in the AL for catchers who’ve had more than 200 ABs. Not that they should keep him, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shoppach play really well for another team, adding to the list of players who’ve left for nothing in return.

we all assumed that Jason Donald was brought in to replace Carroll as the utility infielder. My guess is they hold on to Marson until Santana is ready and perhaps deal Marson in the winter meetings of 2010 so long as both players continue to evolve into what is expected of them. The one catcher with a secure job for the next 7-10 years is Toregas unless he inexplicably explodes thus making him a viable starter with all the tools. Unlikely though but he’s a fine backup.

Furrski, in response to your versatility factor being taken too far I’d say yes, yes, absolutely yes. Shapiro tinkers with guys too much. I realize this is not the ’90s when we had All Stars all over the place locked into positions but as some point there needs to be continuity from the organization which gives certainty to the player. AC just pointed out a week or so ago how Tony Sipp, Joe Smith and Chris Perez were more focused in knowing what their roles were. Simply knowing makes a difference.

We should be certain about most positions for 2010 given the current construction of our team: Marson/Toregas, Valbuena, Cabrera, Peralta, Sizemore, Choo, Hafner. What’s flexible? First base and left field, one of which will be manned by LaPorta, perhaps Brantley as well. That leaves us with the utility INF (Donald), 4th outfielder (Crowe), and one more positional player IF they don’t want to go with 13 pitchers. Maybe Gimenez, Marte, Brown? I’d rather see Brown start 2010 with the team and keep Brantley down in Columbus.

Yes, they are taking the versatility factor too far, and have for a while now. And Victor would not have made a good one year catcher simply because he’d be on a team that’s not going to compete. Honestly, it would be sad to see him on this team next year (it’s going to be sad to see Grady on the team next year).
According to the front page, Hafner’s still having shoulder problems, something I think isavage mentioned before. So going into September, it’s time to sit him and get Jhonny regular time at DH and give Marte some chances at third. As soon as Crowe is back, it’s time to send Grady off for shoulder surgery. Heck, they could even do it before Crowe comes back, just make sure they call up Brantley AND Brown. Between them, Choo, LaPorta, and eventually Crowe, that’s five guys who can play the outfield.
Send Gimenez down, call Marson up, split time between him and Toregas behind the plate. We’re not trying to create value for Shoppach at this point (I don’t think that’s an issue). If we don’t deal Carroll soon, there’s no point in playing him, either.
Then we just make sure that Peralta, Valbuena, Marte, and LaPorta are in there every day, most for experience, one for value. I don’t think that’s so hard…

Well, isavage, not sure if you got my point on Shoppach. It made sense to me, personally, to keep Shoppach at the time to keep Victor fresh. Santana’s acquisition didn’t have anything to do with it. A great catching prospect in A ball at the time, then AA ball, wasn’t on my radar as far as this year is concerned. I thought Kelly and Victor sharing the plate was a good idea, and optimistic as I was, felt we could have competed. I’m sure you’ll say you knew we wouldn’t compete and we should have traded Shopp. For Masterson, you suggest, and although Kelly’s value was reportedly high, we dont know that Boston would have traded a 23 year old pitcher under their control for a 28 year old, ready for arbitration, relatively unproven catcher, who they aready traded away once. And thats why I say ‘hindsight’. You didn’t know that he had no future with the team last offseason, even with Santana. And thats when his trade value was the highest. And about his projected numbers, thats fine and good, but he’s batting .220, and his defense hasn’t been as rock solid as we thought either. Sorry for the rant, and yeah I do like Kelly, and think he’ll be an above average catcher for a few more years. Mike Napoli light.

No, I thought they would compete, I thought moving players like Shoppach before the season for pitching prospect(s),whether that be Masterson or some other pitcher, like someone the quality of Chris Perez, would have improved their ability to compete. If Derosa was worth Stevens and Gaub, and then Perez and Todd, Shoppach coming off a year with an OPS of .865 was at least worth a Perez (I still can’t believe what the Indians gave up to get Derosa, and what the Cardinals then gave right back to the Indians, the guy is strangely overrated. His OPS this year is barely higher than Shoppach’s, how do you give up two high quality relief prospects for someone that average?). On the other hand, going the route they chose and keeping both players, I would definitely have moved Garko before the season, and slotted Martinez in as the full time 1B, and Shoppach in as the full time C. I would have DH’d Shoppach on the Hafner off days and put Martinez in to catch, to give Shoppach a break, and had Carroll, or whoever, play 1B on these days (probably would’ve had Aubrey on the team taking Garko’s roster place, actually) If Shoppach didn’t work out, like hit .220 even when playing every day, and they needed to move Victor back to full time C, they had plenty of depth at 1b. Hanging on to Garko, Shoppach, and Victor when they had zero depth for relief and starting pitching was criminal stupidity, and I’d argue also resulted in decreased production from Shoppach and Garko, who were forced to play every other day at most. Wedge thinks it’s fine to have guys playing every other day, but in baseball there are very few guys who can actually do that and be successful. That’s what makes someone like Jamey Carroll somewhat valuable, he doesn’t seem to lose his swing as a part time player, but he’s the exception, not the rule.

Yeah, like isavage said, the issue was value. Having a back-up catcher who just proved he could play every day means he has value as something other than a back-up, so we should have either cashed in on that value or, as isavage suggested, made him our every day catcher and move Vic to first full time.
And, not to be all up in isavage’s business, but I agree with him that this trinity of position players hurt both Shoppach and Garko’s numbers this year.
But, again, this is a case of them keeping players to hedge their bets, which is why guys who can play multiple positions appeal to them. The problem is that we then end up with guys who are okay at a bunch of positions as opposed to guys who are great at one position. The fact that DeRosa was never, at any point in time, our every day second baseman is just unbelievable to me.

From the article on Hafner:
“It’s been improving as the season has gone on,” Hafner said of his shoulder. “It probably won’t be fully healed until the offseason when I can rest it for awhile.”
REST IT NOW.
Good god, people, it’s not like we’re playing for anything.
I’m not insane here, right? I mean, logic would dictate they sit him for the last month, yes?
Sometimes this team just makes my ears bleed.

Okay, one last thing. I think most of us consider Crowe to be a viable option for 4th OF. Brantley seems like he’s a year or so off yet. So we don’t really have a LF option for next year. What would be so wrong about seeing LaPorta play most of his time in LF when he comes up? And letting Marte and Brown split time at first (with Marte getting starts at third when Peralta DH’s)?

I don’t know, one thing you’ve got to love about Brantley’s numbers this year: he has almost as many stolen bases as strikeouts. But it would be nice to see him hit above .260 at AAA before he gets called up. Which is why it’s so weird that Brown isn’t even on their radar, he plays the two positions that they do need to fill. If they need a 1b and a LF for next year, how can the top two prospects not be Brown and Laporta? They have similarly great numbers at Columbus. If I were running the team, I’d be penciling those two guys in for opening day 2010, with Brown starting in LF and Laporta at 1b.

Brantley is a stolen base machine. Laporta will do good in the majors I think. He will hit about .250 with 10 HR and 20 RBI in his stint I think. And Asdrubal Cabrera is a hitting machine. He is hitting the ball wherever its pitched and is seeing the ball well.
http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

Great post..but I think If you shave your hair is too much and all the people will consider you a very nonconformist person.

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