One attracts the other, when it's the losin' kind

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
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Greetings from the center of the baseball universe, Progressive Field, where the last-place Indians (61-91) play host to the last-place Orioles (60-92), with history on the line.

hoover.jpgIf the Indians lose tonight, they will match a club record for consecutive defeats, with 12. That record was set fairly recently… in 1931, to be exact. Not that long ago, really. (Herbert Hoover, pictured to the left, was the president at the time. I wonder what he’s up to these days?)

But at least the Indians got one monkey off their collective back last night. They took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. It was their first lead in 70 innings of play, spread over seven games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the longest such streak by an Indians team in 105 years. The 1904 club played eight straight games without holding a lead.

Now, I’ll caution you that it’s going to be difficult for the Indians to match the losing streak record, what with the O’s in town for the first time this year. Baltimore has its own troubles. The O’s have dropped seven straight.

These two teams are a collective 62 games under .500 and 57 ½ games out of first place in their respective divisions. One of them, presumably, is going to come out a winner tonight, and there will be a glorious pyrotechnics display afterward that can serve to remind them of their incredible accomplishment.

Big night.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Carlos Santana has been called up to the big leagues. But it’s not what you think. Santana is not active and will not play. He’s up here for the next five days or so to watch some big-league games, then study video with pitching coach Carl Willis and third-base coach Joel Skinner (who works with the catchers). This is not a new practice. The Indians had similar training sessions with Adam Miller and Fausto Carmona in the past.
  • The switch-hitting Santana is viewed as the Indians’ catcher of the future, though first he’ll have to get his first taste of Triple-A at the outset of next season. The Tribe is raving about his year at Double-A Akron, where he batted .290 with a .943 OPS, 23 HRs and 97 RBIs and helped lead the Aeros to the Eastern League crown. “I’m very happy,” Santana said. “My team won the championship, and we had a big celebration. It was very good.” Santana said he’s proud of the defensive improvements he made over the course of the season. And I can tell you first-hand that his English has improved, even from Spring Training. That’s viewed as a major steppingstone in Santana’s ability to handle a pitching staff. “I worked with the manager [Mike Sarbaugh] and the pitching coach [Ruben Niebla] on my English,” he said. “They helped me practice conversations.”
  • More from Elias: Justin Verlander improved to 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 41 strikeouts in four starts against the Indians this season. In the live ball era (since 1920), only three other pitchers were 4-0 or better, with at least 40 strikeouts and an ERA below 1.00 against one team in one season. They were: Gary Nolan (Reds) against the Mets in 1967, Ferguson Jenkins (Rangers) against the A’s in 1974 and Johan Santana (Twins) against the White Sox in 2005.
  • The Indians are easing Matt LaPorta back into action, as he started at DH tonight. LaPorta, dealing with left hip inflammation, hasn’t been taking grounders at first base yet, but Eric Wedge said LaPorta should be back at his position “sooner rather than later.”
  • Michael Brantley ripped a single last night on a Justin Verlander pitch that was clocked on the scoreboard as 101 mph. Even if you adjust for the typical scoreboard inflation, that’s still pretty impressive.
  • Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner, the last two active links to a bygone era of the Indians’ lineup, are a combined 10-for-77 over their last 10 games.
  • Weird weather pregame today. It’s hot, then it’s cold. It’s like a Katy Perry song.*

~AC

*It has been estimated that in a given 24-hour period, an average of 900,000 blog entries are posted worldwide. And I’m proud to say that this is the first, ever, to include references to both Herbert Hoover and Katy Perry. I told you history was on the line tonight.

17 Comments

Indians win! Indians win!!
Clearly, the problem with Fausto is that he hasn’t been facing bad teams. Once we fix that, he’ll be fine.
Marte does, in fact, go 2 for 3. Too bad it probably doesn’t matter, unless someone makes an offer on Peralta during the winter — and does anyone see that happening?
ST, I know you’re holding out for the “Wood to the rotation” scenario, but I truly doubt it. I think he has more trade value as a reliever and I think the Tribe will find ways to get him into games next year to show him off. Honestly, if Westbrook returns to form, he’s got quality value for a team fighting for a post-season spot, too.

Unless Peralta has a career year next year (always possible, since it’s technically a contract year), he won’t be worth much of anything by midseason. No one’s going to want that $7 million option, so it would be for a half year rental. I doubt they get anything if they trade Wood, they’d probably give him up halfway through the year for nothing in return if they could, just to avoid paying another $5 million. I actually believe that if Marte could get his BA back up to like .280 and hit a couple more HRs, they would have a real difficult time justifying letting him go and keeping Peralta, it might force the issue. Especially if Wedge is gone. Since keeping Wedge at this point would probably cost them more in lost ticket sales than it would cost to buy him out, I’d give better odds on Marte returning for 2010 than Wedge

That’s true — Peralta’s value would be more over the winter, as they’d get him for longer. I could see a pick up similar to what the Red Sox did for Kochman. I doubt we’d get much, too, but we’d dump most of the salary.
I think we could get something for Wood, particularly if he has a good first half next year. Relievers are always a priority for teams down the stretch and they’d get him for another year on top of that. As I said, we’d have to eat a chunk of that salary, but we’d also be getting rid of some of it and, in theory, getting a prospect or two.
I’d love to see Marte stick around, not so much because I believe he could be better than Peralta (I could go either way on that one), but because why not? There’s just no reason to keep Peralta given his contract — at least keeping Marte opens the door for other possibilities.

Who is Katy Perry? Did she play the organ for the Brooklyn Dodgers?

Herbert Hoover has been dead for almost forty five years. Bad form, Anthony. But good form from Fausto. I went to the game last night thinking “hey, we just lost 11 straight, we cant possibly lose tonight”. Great fireworks show. BTW, I dont remember if I saw it here or somewhere else, but someone gave Peralta the nickname ‘SpiderMan’ for all of the contorted ways he can twist and spin away from any pitch thrown to him at any time. Hilarious. And dont get your hopes up for Marte…too many simple mistakes. I was pulling for him hard all year, but basically if he keeps crapping his pants the Indians will run out of clean underwear for him. I guess.

Wedge on Hafner: “We’re working off his body this year,” Wedge said. “It’s tough to get in a groove when you’re not able to go out for a week straight. He needs to have an extended period of downtime [this winter] to come back at 100 percent next year.” So tell me again, WHY is Hafner playing this September?

furrski, come on, don’t rain on the Marte parade. We need SOMETHING to get our hopes up for next year. As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they lost 11 in a row was because Marte wasn’t playing most of those games. Last night, Marte doubles, scores the go ahead run. If you count that game, Marte was directly responsible for half of their wins in the past month. Granted, that’s only 6 wins, but they would’ve definitely been swept by Baltimore back in August had Marte been on the bench … The above is hyperbole. I realized I have to point out when I’m not being 100% serious after LACF thought I actually believed Adam Miller was going to make the rotatino next year. My only hope re: Marte is that the Indians show some common sense with the direction of this team. Common sense dictates that they should give Marte a shot at 3b next year.

the bottom line is simple, it’s the old Cleveland adage. The most popular player is always the backup. The backup quarterback, the manager in waiting (take your pick from the minor league managers of the year), the backup/developmental player waiting for a legitimate shot (Aubrey, Brown), the reservist we wait for to replace the stale, sluggish starter. Alliteration rules!

It is no secret that the majority of CCs have grown impatient and tiresome of Peralta’s act. Furthermore, in a salary-dumping year his future contract is unnecessary, expensive and not on par with his play considering today’s dollars. Give me Bobby Abreu and his production for $5M/year or Adam Dunn for $8M/yr. Just a couple years ago Peralta’s contract was viewed as organizationally friendly. Is is grammatically correct to end a sentence with two adverbs?

While I may be on the bandwagon of “give Marte a shot” as well as the anti-Peralta stance, I think the rationale behind such a move is quite simple. Over the course of next season the gap in offensive production between Peralta and Marte would be small. I am assuming Peralta does not have a career year and that Marte produces somewhere between his ML averages (a negative outlier IMO) and his dominant season in Columbus (positive outlier). I truly believe that 2009 was a turning point for Marte and we all consider him to be a totally different player now than he was a little as one year ago. Additionally, at third base the defensive gap is negligible IMO. Conversely, the monetary commitment between the two is severely noteworthy. Peralta’s demand in the market might not be what it was or could be but considering the options we have in Marte, Hodges and Chisenhall his guaranteed money could be better spent or saved for a later. The organization should be looking at this situation long term, not just 2010 and perhaps 2011.

AM nailed it. I mean, we replaced Victor with less expensive placeholders until Santana is ready. And while we might not have a third base prospect like Santana, Peralta is a really pricey placeholder — which is all he is, as we’d have to pick up his option just to keep him for 2011. Given the Tribe’s monetary concerns, it just makes no sense to keep him around. Let Marte, Hodges, Chisenhall, and whoever else battle it out for the 2011 spot.
Also, I don’t see Marte making substantially more simple mistakes than Peralta — or at least I’d like to give him a reasonable sample size to see if he does.
Basically, I don’t think we should waste time on anyone who isn’t going to be a part of the 2011 on push. With Grady’s option, we’ve got him through 2012, and we’ve got Pronk through 2013, if we want him. Peralta’s just in this grey area and, given the cost, it makes no sense to hold on to him. Then again, being able to deal him is a big IF, but even if we don’t I don’t see how we can justifiy picking up his option.

I think unfortunately Peralta’s played himself out of any kind of trade value with his horrendous September. I’d think next year he’s cheap enough that someone would be willing to give him a try, I just don’t think they’d be willing to give up anyone with much potential in a straight up trade. He’d probably be best used as sweetener in a package deal. I’d love to see the Indians pick up another relief pitching prospect(s). Package Peralta, Jordan Brown and Marson, that could be a decent haul for the receiving team, and the Indians are no worse off for 2011. I would not be entirely shocked to see Peralta come in next year and have a career year, dollar signs have been known to motivate players before. His option is for almost as much money as he’s made in his career to this point.

I agree that we won’t get much for Peralta, aside some salary dump and, really, freeing up time for prospects to play.
I don’t think they’ll deal Marson, though. I think they value him too much and I think they want to be careful with Santana. I know most people project Santana to hit the majors at some point next year, but that could be September for all we know.
I think part of the reason Peralta is such a hot button issue is that it’s the on position we can really say we have no clue about for 2011. The outfield appears to be settling in, the infield seems to be set (both of those presumptions are based upon Brantely and Valbuena performing, of course), and we know who we have penciled in behind the plate for ’11. Yet again, there’s a big question mark at third. Given how unknow our rotation is even next season, it would be nice to see 8 guys on the field who can start to play together early on and really build as a team.

ST, I agree with LACF about Marson and I think that you need to let go of the idea that Marson gets traded this winter UNLESS someone “wows” Mark Shapiro. Once again, that is a scary thought given his recent evaluations but as we have said before “insurance” is probably the reason behind not making such a deal. There is a reason Shapiro is forcing Marson down our throats: he represents a piece of the Lee deal.

Additionally, the are not many teams in MLB that really need or can afford another first baseman, either b/c of monetary or roster consequences. The three biggest names on the market for 1B are Hank Blalock, Adam Dunn (most OF though), and Prince Fielder who are much bigger names than Jordan Brown. I have come up with 5 teams that could use upgrades while I ignore the teams in the AL Central as possible destinations: Toronto (Kevin Millar, Lyle Overbay), Atlanta (Adam LaRoche), NY Mets (Daniel Murphy [who's a butcher in the field], Carlos Delgado), Washington (Dmitri Young), Pittsburgh (Steve Pearce). There is a possibility of Colorado (Helton is aging but still productive) and the LAD (Loney is serviceable but nothing flashy and they might consider an upgrade through FA but only if they unload Loney first). Losing Blalock would probably make Texas a player but Milwaukee could flip Mat Gamel is they part ways with Fielder.

Not to mention asking a team to take on Brown, Marson and Peralta would be replacing 3 of their 8 positions. It’s just not realistic that teams need that many fixes… besides Cleveland.

As long as Santana’s hitting in Columbus like he was hitting in Akron, there’s no excuse for not calling him up at least by July. That’s why I don’t think they should hang onto Marson, they could always trade him in the future, but better to make the move sooner, so they can integrate whoever they receive into the organization. I’d envision a prospect for prospect type of trade, I’d imagine there are a few teams out there who would part with a relief pitching prospect or two for Marson and Jordan Brown … and yes, the bottom line on Peralta is I’d be much more comfortable with the 3b situation if they let Peralta go now. That way you have the potential of Marte, Chisenhall, or a free agent as the 3b for 2011. If they keep Peralta for 2010 they may not be able to spend anything on a free agent, at minimum it’s $5 million less overall. I don’t see them taking the $7 million option on Peralta under any circumstances, so keeping Peralta for 2010 means counting on Chisenhall being ready for 2011 … I’m a little surprised I don’t see this line of thinking mentioned in any articles that touch on Peralta and Marte’s future with the team, it’s just, “well, Marte hasn’t shown enough consistency to prove he can take the job from Peralta” –which isn’t the point at all.

“As long as Santana’s hitting in Columbus like he was hitting in Akron, there’s no excuse for not calling him up at least by July.”
That’s a huge assumption, though, ST, not to mention the further assumption that he will then, in turn, hit in the majors — all in the span of four months! I believe in Santana, but I don’t think there’s a reason to rush him through Columbus, particularly if we’re not competing next year.
“I’m a little surprised I don’t see this line of thinking mentioned in any articles that touch on Peralta and Marte’s future with the team…” Agree completely. I’d much prefer to see the Tribe give Marte a shot next year and, if he bombs, call up someone in the second half. Because what do we do after next season if we’ve been playing Peralta all of 2010?

I offered my Red Sox fan friend Peralta and Shoppach earlier in the season and he said they’d take him. He does make some sense for them, though, particularly since he can play third now. I would expect them to lose both Lowell and Veritek soon, which means either finding a third baseman or moving Youkalis over full time and, of course, making Victor their full time catcher (which they’re clearly moving towards).
Actually, they could definitly use Marson, too. I just don’t know how deep their system is with arms.
Speaking of the Cubs, how badly could they have used Wood at the trade deadline? And how about the Phillies? I doubt we’d have any problems moving him a mid-season next year (and I’m beginning to believe more and more that it will happen).

AM, I’m not talking about any like major deal … or anyone necessarily wanting those guys to all step in as full time players. There are many light hitting teams that already have good pitching out there, San Francisco could probably use Brown and Marson, not Peralta though (and they already got screwed on Garko, so might not be interested in dealing with more Indians rejects). Boston could probably use some catching depth, and might be interested in Peralta as a shortstop, and seems to already have a good bullpen in place. Pittsburgh’s always willing to trade anyone in their organization and needs basically every position. San Diego could use Peralta as **** and Brown as an outfielder and everyone wants catching depth, but I doubt they have much to offer, it’s not like we’d want Mujica back. You can’t tell me there isn’t one team out there that needs catching prospects more than they need relief prospects … For my official trade selection, how about, Jordan Brown and Marson to the Cubs to get John Gaub back? The Cubs need outfield depth because Milton Bradley will be gone, and Brown plays outfield, and they look like they could use Marson. Then Peralta to the Red Sox for a player to be named later

haha, I checked the Red Sox AAA stats LACF, looks like their best relief pitcher was … Fernando Cabrera … they have some guy in AA named Dustin Richardson who put up pretty good numbers, 80 SOs in 63 innings.

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