"Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a viking!"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

My flight to Minneapolis was packed with Vikings fans who were headed home happy after a victory over the Browns (shocker) on Sunday.

I was not as happy, because it appears Brett Favre has not yet met his new teammate, Bernard Berrian (who also, sadly, is the No. 2 wideout on the Marinara Mudslingers, which says a lot about my drafting skills and the woes of competing in a watered-down, 14-team league). The doughnut the pair produced on Sunday has left the ‘Slingers in what appears to be an inescapable hole heading into the Monday night games.

My goal on this trip, then, is to make it to the Vikings’ complex to make sure Favre and Berrian are properly introduced. It couldn’t hurt their chemistry.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • I know Jason Knapp is expected to be fully recovered from his shoulder arthroscopy by Spring Training, but seriously… how bad does that Cliff Lee trade look right now? It was already dubbed by some in July to be the most unpopular trade made by the Tribe since the Rocky Colavito deal, and now, among the four acquisitions, you’ve got two guys hurt and one guy posting a 9.64 ERA in the big leagues. The Indians can only hope this haul has a happy ending after a less-than-auspicious start.
  • Eric Wedge isn’t going down without a fight. He called the team together before tonight’s game for a meeting, which can only be described as rare for an out-of-contention club in September. Wedge’s message was simple: He doesn’t like what he’s seen the past couple weeks (the Indians, in case you lost track, have lost 10 of 13 and 11 of 15), and, with 20 games remaining on the ’09 slate, he wants to see them finish strong. “Every day, you’re getting better or you’re getting worse,” Wedge told reporters after the meeting. “There’s no in-between.”
  • This is the Tribe’s final visit to the Metrodome. Wedge, for one, won’t miss it. When a Minneapolis-based reporter asked him if there are any Metrodome “quirks” he wishes could be taken to the new place, Wedge had nothing to offer. “This place gets loud,” Wedge said. “Twenty thousand [fans] here sounds like 40,000 anywhere else. They’ve had a lot of success here and a lot of success late in games here. You can’t deny that.”
  • The Indians still hope to get Joe Smith back by the end of the year. Lonnie Soloff said the plan is for Smith to begin throwing off a mound by the end of the week.
  • I found this interesting. Branching off the Knapp conversation, Soloff said the Indians subject all of their pitchers taken in the first five rounds of the Draft to an MRI. That way, the club has a picture of what the pitcher’s arm looks like when he is pain-free. Should the pitcher become injured at any point down the road, the Indians have that MRI to serve as a comparison to the pitcher’s current state.
  • Why didn’t Lou Marson catch Carlos Carrasco yesterday? Wedge has made it clear he wants all the young arms to get acclimated to all the young catchers, and he doesn’t feel it benefits the ballclub to get locked into any concrete pairings a la Kelly Shoppach-Cliff Lee. Occasionally, a veteran pitcher will get locked in with a catcher, but Wedge doesn’t want that to be the norm.
  • Kerry Wood has now finished 45 games. He’d have to finish one out of every two games down the stretch for his $11 million vesting option for 2011 to kick in. Wedge said Wood’s role will not change down the stretch. He won’t make it a point to get other, young arms a chance to finish off close games if Wood is available in his usual role.
  • Double-A Akron opens the Eastern League finals in Connecticut at 6:45 p.m. ET Tuesday. It’s a best-of-five series. Josh Tomlin will start Game 1.
  • Short-season Mahoning Valley begins the New York-Penn League finals tonight at Staten Island with right-hander Brett Brach on the hill.
  • Justin Masterson (11th, 3.23 ERA), Aaron Laffey (17th, 3.49) and Jeremy Sowers (20th, 3.62) all rank among the top 20 in the AL in second-half ERAs.

~AC

15 Comments

So Eric Wedge doesn’t want to put his young pitchers into a position that make them more comfortable? See, not only is Carlos coming into a brand new organization this year, but he has also never experienced the big leagues until this year. The one catcher he has known for quite some time is Lou Marson. So WHY NOT use him as Carlos’ personal catcher the rest of the year? This is one of the many reasons I don’t like Wedge. He is way too stubborn to think rationally.

I think that was a planned bullpen meltdown last night by the other members of the front office… trying to keep Wood’s option from vesting, trying to get a higher draft pick, and trying to make sure Wedge gets fired. Eureka, it all makes sense.

I must say that it is rather cathartic to see AC frustrated about the Jason Knapp situation much like the rest of us fans. I am quite surprised that the Indians are not planning on filing a grievance though. Despite the fact the Soloff said he didn’t think the Phillies withheld anything, a lack of medical attention and thoroughness given to a young, injured pitcher should not be an adequate reason to wash your hands of a situation. Ignorance is not a rational explanation.

Now that is some forward thinking by the Cleveland management.. the MRI pics of the young player’s arms. It only makes “perfect sense”.. you would think every team would adopt that philosophy.

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

I don’t know that the Knapp news actually changes my view of the trade, I made a comment about how the Lee trade looks worse and worse every day right before this news came out. Kelvin de la Cruz, Knapp, Hagadone, it’s unlikely that more than one of those guys will make it … you can say slight advantage Hagadone right now simply because he ended the season uninjured, but I wouldn’t put any money on it, too unpredictable, any of those guys could be pitching in Akron by the end of next year or could be a total bust never to be heard from again. You just don’t base a major trade like Cliff Lee off of a complete unknown. Carrasco is who we thought he was, a pitcher with “potential” on a team that has had zero luck developing pitchers of his type. The other two pieces of the trade would be more valuable in just about any other organization, i.e. one that doesn’t already include Carlos Santana and two young, talented middle infielders; as it stands, Marson and Donald are basically worthless. The Indians would have had a good chance of winning the Central next year had they kept Cliff Lee. If they’d traded him to the Red Sox for, say, Clay Buchholz and Nick Hagadone, I’d say ok, that’s a deal you can’t pass up, but as it stands they’d have been just as well off losing him to free agency and getting draft pick compensation, or could’ve traded him to the Phillies next year for the exact same players if they weren’t competing again. They owe Jhonny Peralta more money than they owed Cliff Lee … I’d probably hate Shapiro if he hadn’t also fleeced the Dodgers with a half-year of Casey Blake for Santana, and Martinez for Masterson and Hagadone, which I view as a good trade because they needed Masterson more than Martinez, if Hagadone doesn’t develop it’s a wash, but if he does, that’s a great trade for the Indians … I guess Shapiro felt bad for dumping Charlie Manuel and wanted to see him win another World Series?

Sounds like Wedge is refering to the ‘mystery’ of the Twins’ air conditioning system giving them more than a home field advantage. Pretty funny quote, actually. Savage, I have to politely disagree. I know you guys react here on a daily basis, but you cant judge the big trades yet. Bottom line. You dont know what Carrasco will be. Face it. Neither do I. Nor AC, Shapiro, Keith Law…The only thing that can tell is TIME. You dont know what Boston offered. You dont know that Philly would have given us the SAME package for Lee next year, when they only have him for half a season. Why would they? Bash Wedge and Shapiro every day, but be reasonable. This isn’t a science, or every team would be loaded. Give the trades a chance.

That’s pretty much my point furrski, if you’re going to trade Cliff Lee you need to get someone who you are fairly certain is going to be a high impact player. Not knowing what Carrasco will be is the reason the trade is so questionable. In my opinion, they got more value for Casey Blake than they got for Cliff Lee, which is simply ridiculous. Carlos Santana was projectable the day of the trade as someone who will produce in MLB, Carrasco, Knapp, not so much

and I’m being facetious about Philly giving the same package, I DON’T WANT that package … Cliff Lee straight up for a pitcher the quality of Masterson is a better trade. How can you possibly defend trading a Cy Young winner for Carlos Carrasco? It’s like if the Indians had traded David Huff and Kelvin de la Cruz for Tim Lincecum

Savage – You can’t use the Blake trade as a basis for other trades. The Dodgers got absolutely fleeced, that doesn’t mean that every other trade you make should be as ridiculously one-sided. It’s just not possible.

Not sure what Peralta has to do with the Lee trade, even if your statement that Jhonny is owed more was correct.

The Indians got 3 guys who were top 100 prospects coming into the season, who all lost a bit of luster. It likely wasn’t their best trade, but its also likely that they couldn’t do any better, and that also includes the scenario of keeping Lee, still being a .500-at-best team on paper going into next season, and expecting to lose a bunch of money again.

It’s not just Carlos Carrasco, its 4 prospects, and I’m not sure why we’re ripping him just yet. 18 pitchers age 22 or younger have started a game in the majors this year. We’re not talking about a group of people that frequently thrive.

Look, I’m not defending the trade, but you, personally, do NOT know that Masterson will be better than Carrasco. The ONLY reason you say Santana is “projectable the day of the trade” is because you saw his stats. It does NOT matter what you think of Carrasco, Knapp, or Hagadone, because you have NO inside knowledge of anything. You say Carrasco or Knapp will not amount? Id better call the Indians and tell them I found them a scout. Your opinion is fine, but its so repetitive…Why not just relax and see where their development takes them? Criticizing the trades now is too harsh.

“It’s like if the Indians had traded David Huff and Kelvin de la Cruz for Tim Lincecum ”
Come on. Not remotely the same comparison.

Furrski, understand that SavageTruth is a total moron. I have read his comments over the course of this season and most, if not all, have been completely hilarious. As bad as Shapiro is as a GM (I have disagreed with most of his moves this year), STs view (although different) are just as out of touch and terrible. Take them with a grain of salt. Laugh. Enjoy them because i know he is just as bad a Fantasy Team owner as Shapiro is a GM. Cheers!

He’s certainly entitled to his opinion, but sometimes I just dont see why so many people get caught up in bashing this team everyday instead of supporting them. Cheers, bro.

Since I always enjoy a good argument, I’m curious what comments in particular express my moronitude, ryan.bray? I didn’t realized that saying the Cliff Lee trade sucked for the Indians was such a controversial statement … I actually don’t think it is, except perhaps to furrski and ryan.bray. I’m pretty sure professional scouts, the MLB.com writer, the Plain Dealer writer, and just about everyone else in baseball thinks the Indians didn’t get enough in return for Lee. Santana is projectable because he’s a position player, and thus not susceptible to the vagaries of injury that often derail young pitchers. It’s pretty much a given in baseball that the hardest thing to predict is a young pitcher, this isn’t some unique or controversial insight that I came up with here. Just look at the Indians as a case study, Guthrie, Tallet, Traber, Jason Stanford, Adam Miller, Carmona, Sowers and Laffey are probably the top pitching prospects that came up through their system over the past few years. That’s injured/ineffective, injured, injured, injured, injured, ineffective, ok, possible pretty good … 2 or 3 out of 8, and that’s about par for the course. To base a trade on an injured A-ball pitcher … is not a defensible basis for a trade … This trade WAS for Carlos Carrasco, there’s no other way you can cut it. Marson and Donald might be ok players for other teams, but the Indians have better options at the positions they play, and Knapp was an is a huge question mark. And the reason I mention Peralta is that the Lee trade was admittedly a salary dump. If the goal is to dump salary while still potentially fielding a winning team, and thus not losing out on revenue, why not dump Peralta and keep Lee instead of the other way around? They owe Peralta 4.6 next year and 7 in 2011, if they exercise the option. They owed Lee 8 next year; who would you rather have on the team?

Just for the record, Shapiro himself said that the Cliff Lee trade was a “high risk, high reward” deal. While I am part of the school of thought that dislikes with what we got in the Cliff Lee trade, I still think we haven’t seen the full picture. The way I see it, Knapp and Carrasco do fit in to our long term plans and need, while Donald and Marson do not. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that I think they won’t be trade fodder later on down the line that could bring us other prospects. I think Marson especially fits in to this category. It doesn’t make since to have 5 catchers on the 40-man between AAA and the MLB. Also, the way I see it, good hitting catchers are a rarity. They are something most contending team needs to have to supplement their lineup for the playoffs. Honestly, there aren’t many teams out there with catchers that are much of a threat. For a period of about a day, we had not one, but FOUR catchers on our 40-man that were offensive threats (Martinez, Santana, Marson, and…..yes…..Shoppach [don't rule out 2008]). These are great commodities to have, especially if Marson develops into a the high-average catcher in which I think he’s capable.

What Cliff Lee has done in the playoffs has added another aspect to this debate.
Invicta Men’s Watches

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