Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Looking back on our 2010 deadline deals

WARNING: Indians' fans with uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid this post.

As I watch the all-star game I see Asdrubal Cabrera replaced by Jhonny Peralta.  Wow!  In the meantime I see Giovanny Soto having a mediocre season. 

This pretty much defines the 2010 deadline deals for the Indians: Good stuff going out, not a lot coming back.  So let's take a look back:

The good:

Russell Branyan for Juan Diaz and Ezequiel Carrera: You can always count on Seattle for a good deadline deal...for the other team...if that team is Cleveland.  The organization who gave away Cabrera and Choo to us did a min-repeat in this deal, mini being defined as two intriguing prospects with some, if only a little upside.  Not Choo, not even Cabrera, who has blossomed here.  But some upside.  In this unexplainable deal of a veteran to a team who had him and could have just re-signed him but let him go, a team that was probably, for all practical purposes, out of it when it acquired Branyan, the Indians ended up with minor league depth and the Mariners ended up with very little production from Branyan, last seen hitting about a buck and a half in LA. 

Austin Kearns AND Kerry Wood for Zach McAllister:  Now, the bloggers will tell you that this was really just Kearns for McAllister and how we stole Zach in this deal.  Horsepucky!  If Kerry Wood tanks in NY we don't get squate for the combination of them.  While, ON PAPER, Kearns was the only guy whose trade owed us fungible PTBNL, it was the performance of the two, mostly Wood, that got us McAllister.  Still, a good deal for us...until we wasted our time signing Kearns again.  Not that McAllister is anything more than a 4th/5th starter, but he IS something of use to this team now and in the future.

Now, if Kearns and Dubring can only get hot in the next two weeks maybe we can trade them to the Yankees and get Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous marginal pitching prospect, back.

The bad:

Ahhh, here is where we get back to Peralta.  The Indians, with no real options at 3B and an option on Peralta for the next year, chose to dump his contract and get a mediocre prospect back in Giovanny Soto.  Not that Soto is horsemeat or organizational filler.  He isn't.  Truth be told, unless some injury or Steve Blass-like condition besets him, he is likely to play in the majors someday.  Still, when you are traded for an all-star not even at the end of his contract, you should be MUCH better than that.  Yeah, Peralta's contract option was bloated and he was having trouble getting motivated to play hard in Cleveland, but he is a middle infielder with power who wasn't a 2-month pickup and one who has played and performed well on a winner...and isn't that the definition of the kind of guy you want to acquire at the deadline.  So, for him, we get Soto.  Really not very good and only Soto's middling prospect status is keeping this from being a disaster.  So three of the guys in the all-star game were traded by this organization and right now, the best we have to show for it is Brantley?  Not real good at the moment and a big problem going forward if LaPorta, Carrasco and Donald don't start to produce at ML average levels.

The Ugly:

Jake Westbrook for Corey Kluber:  I knew this deal sucked at the time and said so.  I knew it was in real trouble when Shapiro pimped Kluber so hard last winter that he got a lot of people (various bloggers and even Baseball America) fired up into believing Kluber was something.  Well, the Cardinals got Westbrook (and still have him), the Padres got Ludwick, who some sucker of a GM will turn into a couple of decent prospects for the Padres in a couple of weeks and we got a guy not in the top 30 in a weak minor league organization (San Diego).  It was a salary dump, which, despite tight finances, a small market club CANNOT do.    It hurt this organization and we should have come up with a guy at least as good, if not better, than McAllister. 

The Indians are always in need of prospects.  They actually got very little out of their deals last year and the teams they traded with got a lot.  This, following on deals for Sabathia and Cliff Lee that look pretty sucky at this point, are part of the reason that we are having to use AAAA players on the roster this year.  The success is admirable but has little to do with these and previous deadline deals, except for the Victor Martinez deal which is looking pretty even at this point.

We have to do better this July.  Also, given the lack of success of this organization over the past few years in deadline deals, be very afraid if they decide to bring in talent.  The FO-supportive bloggers will then be singing the tune that you have to overpay at the deadline and dissing the prospects we give up, whereas those same people were singing the opposite tune when we were getting stiffed in deadline deals over the past few years.

Small market teams create dynasties by drafting well, signing the appropriate bargain FAs, and trading veterans in deadline deals where they get a lot back in terms of young players.    Sprinkle in the appropriate international FA signings and you have a dynasty.  The Indians are not taking advantage of their resources to rebuild this team at the deadline and that is and WILl hurt them in the future if they don't correct it.

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