In 2002 the Indians were struggling mightily and had already given up, trading Bartolo Colon. A minor leaguer at Buffalo was capturing the notice of Indians' beat writers who were asking why the Indians didn't bring the kid up. The kid's name was Chris Coste. I was one of those people even though I was only really writing as a forum participant. I made a case, one that I would make over and over, to give the kid a chance in a losing season instead of seeing the likes of Bill Selby and others get their umpteenth shot at the majors. Why not give the kid his first chance?
I remember as if it were yesterday, a writer asking Mark Shapiro a question to which he bristled, indicating that it would be him, and not the writers, who decided who came up from the minors and when and who was a prospect and who wasn't. Basically, he was telling the fans and the writers to stuff it because he didn't think Coste was a prospect. Well, you know what, Shapiro was wrong. While none of us who wanted him called up thought he was going to be an all-star (heck, he was 28 at the time), we all thought it was worth a chance to give him a shot to find out what we had in him. Maybe he was a late-bloomer
Well, that winter the Indians wanted to re-sign him but he saw the writing on the wall (and in the newspapers). Although the Indians said they liked Coste, he probably knew that it meant they liked him as AAA fodder.
I mean, these people got that they were not going to compete in 2003, right? Yet they couldn't even start the rebuild right by giving one of their own a shot in a losing season. Sound like a familiar scenario.
This administration has constantly and I mean CONSTANTLY chosen grizzled, dime-a-dozen veterans over giving their prospects a chance in losing seasons. OVER and OVER again choosing undeserving veterans over young players, some of whom went on to be good major leaguers after not being given a fair chance in Cleveland.
Well, Coste went on to have only a modest ML career that lasted 866 ABs with 23 HR and a .272 average, doing what intrigued us then about him: catch and play some first and third, but he does have a WS ring and he was a productive bit player. Why? Because someone gave the rookie a chance instead of bringing in dime-a-dozen ML veteran number 1,025.
So why as I rehashing this today? Well, I just read that the Indians traded a very, very useable and versatile LHP in Aaron Laffey to the Mariners for 25 year old minor league second baseman named Matt Lawson. He would play in AAA this year except that we HAVE two secondbasemen playing there, putting him about 54th on the Indians depth chart at second base. Well, not that low but with Phelps and Kipnis in front of you, you might as well be 54th.
Lawson's big claim to fame in his career is that he was the throw-in minor leaguer that Seattle got with the real prospects they received from trading Cliff Lee to Texas last summer. Maybe Shapiro felt if he couldn't get Lee he might be able to make his pathetic Lee-to-Philadelphia trade result look a little bit better by trading for someone who someone ELSE got for Cliff Lee.
So, we get little return for Laffey who should have probably stayed here and, if we traded him, should have brought more than a 25 year old who has never played in AAA and who is at one of the positions of greatest strength in the minors of this organization.
Now why does that piss me off you may ask? Because the reason we traded Laffey was to clear a roster spot for Chad Durbin. So, not only is Durbin going to block a rookie reliever from getting ML innings that they have earned and need, now he has cost us a homegrown young player. Not saying that Laffey is a worldbeater but, a month ago, if someone had asked you who you would have rather had on your team, Chad Durbin or Aaron Laffey, I think 99% of us would have said Aaron Laffey. '
Yet, now Laffey is gone and Durbin is here. Which makes me wonder: do the Indians REALLY think they are going to compete this year? I mean, if they didn't think that why would they bring in the veteran Durbin when they could have just kept Laffey? Durbin has no future here and if we were going the DFA Shelly Duncan to fit Durbin on the roster well, that wasn't ideal but I could rationalize it (see my Dangerous Game) post below.
But now that I realize that the Indians essentially gave Laffey, a guy with some upside and useability when we get back to being competitive, away for very little useable return and probably very little actual return, the only logical thing I can think of is that the Indians felt they needed Durbin if they were going to be able to have a chance to win this year.
Did I really just say that? The Indians truly think they have a chance to win this year? I think they do and, in so thinking, have had Shapiro and Antonetti join the top 50 most stupid people in the United States, 2011 edition.
Geez, really? Trade a useable player for a fringe prospect just to clear a roster slot for a dime-a-dozen, unneeded 30-something ML reliever who couldn't even get a ML contract until one of the worst teams in baseball (that would be us) offered one to him? Really?
So, someone out there, help me out here. Why do the signing of Durbin and the trading of Laffey for essentially nothing make sense to any of you?