Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why we need to keep Raffy Left and Sipp and other musings

OK, the winter meetings are about to start.  Here are some more thoughts going into those meetings:

Save the Lefties!

There is talk the Indians will trade Rafael Perez or Tony Sipp for outfield help.  Don't do it!  There is a better than a 50/50 chance that our rotation will all be right-handed (Masterson, Carmona, Jimenez, Tomlin, Lowe).   We are guaranteed, barring injury, from having 3 righties (Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano and either Joe Smith or Chen Lee) in the bullpen.  Given that our rotation is likely to be all righty our bullpen should be lefty heavy, maybe 3 deep (Perez, Sipp and Hagadone). The 7th guy should be the best of Judy, Putnnam 

Teams will load up on left-handed hitters against our rotation and we need to keep them off balance.  Having 3 lefties, especially if we stretch Hagadone out to be a long man, would really help.  Even if Huff takes a rotation spot (I would LOVE to see him do a Cliff Lee impersonation this year!) we still need 3 lefties. 

Off-season tea leaf reading

For those of you who follow the Indians in the off-season, this one, in particular, will tell whether this ship has anyone at the helm.  The Indians are at a crucial place in their history.
  • They say they want to compete but are talking about having Jack Hannahan and Shelly Duncan being on this team and Michael Brantley starting.   That makes little sense to me. 
  • They talk about wanting to use young players but, frankly, their best young players were traded last year for Ubaldo Jimenez.  Lonnie Chisenhall was unimpressive at both AAA and the majors last year.  He probably isn't ready. 
  • There is talk they are interested in Casey Blake.  While I like Blake this is clearly bottom feeding to do an incremental upgrade over Jason Donald, Jack Hannahan and Shelly Duncan, as Blake is a guy who would, presumably, taking playing time from each of those.  There is talk they are interested in Carolos Pena, Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer.  All of those players are not difference makers.  There is NO talk they are interested in Jose Reyes and Aramis Ramirez, the two free agents I think could help us win right now and at positions (3B and SS, with Cabrera moving to 2B and Kipnis to LF) that would help our offense and maybe even help our defense..    If you want to win now, you don't bottom feed.  You go for it.  Financial realities be damned.  Trying to compete now with veterans AND be on a budget AND play young players to keep the cycle of winning going doesn't work.  Shapiro tried it when he traded for Lawton, et al.  It doesn't work.
  • And, most disturbingly, they are talking about making a trade.  You have already gutted most of your farm system with promotions, trades and the to-be-expected bad performances/injuries.  I can see trading Joe Smith but there is no one else of value that is excess baggage on this team, not even the lefty relievers (see above).  Plus, if you trade from strength you often weaken that position and make it into a weakness.  In essence, you gain nothing.
So, this off-season will tell if there is anyone of any sense captaining this ship.  If we bottom feed and trade one strength for another, weakening the first, then we have become the Cleveland Indians of the 80s.  And none of us wants that to happen!  

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