...the Indians are about to cross the Atlanta Braves Line. What is the Atlanta Braves Line, you ask? Well, we have the Mendoza line for hitters (below .200 for a really bad hitter. I thought I would create a line for mediocrity and, for that matter, the ability to contend for a playoff spot (I don't believe any team in baseball has ever made the playoffs with a losing record). Well, some early morning looking led me to find out that, all-time, the Atlanta Braves, in 20,011 games, are 10.009 and 10,002. Thus they are the penultimate .500 team. Others are close but no other franchise has this middle of the road covered like Atlanta does, not even the Indians. Well, the Indians, on the season, now stand at 54-54 and are on the edge of dropping below the Atlanta Braves line for the 2011 season for the first time since the first couple of games in April. Oh, BTW, if the season ended today the Indians would have the 16th worst record in baseball (currently tied for 16th worst with the Mets and and the Marlins but the Indians get the nod due to their worse record last year). That means, if the season ended right now AND if, this coming off-season, they signed a Type A free agent who had been offered arbitration, they would have to give up their first round draft pick. Note that if they move 'up' to the 15th worst record and the same scenario applied, they would only have to give up their second round draft pick, which, last year, was the 75th overall pick. Biiiiiig difference. Not sayin', just sayin'.
...Austin Kearns, Chad Durbin and Jack Hannahan are still with the Cleveland Indians. In the meantime Jerad Head's hit homeruns in 4 straight games. Not to say he would have done that in Cleveland but the point is that he is hot right now so whatever production we could optimistically expect from Jerad Head, he is most likely to give it to us right about now. In addition, Putnam, Chen and Judy are pitching well and Jared Goedert's numbers keep steadily heading north.
...Joe Smith is still a member of the Cleveland Indians. Look, compete or not compete, Joe Smith is not going to be a difference maker. But if you thought Orlando Cabrera brought a good return, I think Joe Smith can bring a better return. Truly we need to trade this guy right now. He has never had more value and is eminently replaceable as he slots into a strength in the Indians' system. TRADE JOE SMITH. If you can trade him for Allen Craig of the Cardinals (the guy I have been on for over two months) do it now! It will be a deal that makes a huge positive difference for the Indians in the next two years.
---the Indians are starting to sign low round draft choices for pretty good money (Ryan Merritt, JUCO kid with mediocre JUCO stats, for $150,000). This is pretty scary to me, actually. While I LOVE signing draft choices the Indians did not put themselves in a position to sign lower round choices who have high upside. After the excellent selections of Francis Lindor and Dillon Howard, both of whom are high upside guys who, as HS players, have an inherently HUGE chance to crash and burn, (read: typical high risk, high reward prospects) the Indians went for lowly rated (read: CHEAP) prospects for most of the rest of the draft. To put it in perspective, after the second round, their best draft prospect is a kid named Dillon Peters who they selected in the 20th round. Mr. Peters is a highly rated left-handed HS pitcher from Indianapolis who dropped in the draft due to signability issues. Sounds good so far, right? The problem is that he is listed by the MLB and other websites as 5'9" and close to 200 pounds (some sites do list him as tall as 5'11"). Now, that sounds more like the nose guard on my HS football team when I was a kid than any pitching prospect that I have ever heard of. Yet he is highly rated (#104 by Baseball America) and fan forumites from various Indians' fan forums around the world are excited by this kid. Well, so am I. However, the Indians could have, and should have, drafted a dozen guys with the potential of Dillon Peters or even better before they got to Peters on whom they could shower money once they found out that most of their stud pitching riches in the minors walked out the door when Jimenez walked in. Those guys were certainly out there. So, now, in losing Pomeranz and White I think they are saying, 'OMG, our farm system took a big hit and now we need to re-stock'. Well, guys, you didn't draft to do put yourselves in a position to do that, the same thing that happened in 2008 and back in 2001 when, not being able to sign Alan Horne for $1 million plus, they spread that money around on three lower round, "C" rated picks who never came close to panning out. Face it, Indians, you ALWAYS draft for this type of scenario. If you can't sign the stud prospects later in the draft, fine. But drafting low end guys and guys with huge question marks and then overpaying for them the way you did in 2008...just throwing good money at very questionable prospects for the sake of spending money.
So sign Mr. Peters, please do. Every prospect helps and heaven knows he is BY FAR the best of the prospects from this draft after our first two picks. I am just saying that, whoever they sign after Lindor and Howard, they will have to WAY, WAY overpay for and will not likely get good value from...just in the name of 'Let's sign SOMEBODY'.