Dear Cleveland Indians,
It is now less than two weeks from the deadline. Time to pack it in.
Hey, I AM a lifelong Indians' fan. I want them to win. But here's the deal:
In the AL there are EIGHT teams within 3.5 games of the two AL Wild Card spots. The Indians now stand 7th. Yeah, they are only 1.5 games back but the odds are extremely long that they can pass 6 of theose teams to move into a WC spot and that isn't even counting the teams who are in the lead in the three AL divisions. So, really, there are ELEVEN teams in contention in the AL. Can the Indians play better than the vast majority of them, most of whom will likely get an injection of ML talent at the trading deadline? I say the odds are very low of everything falling into place, especially for a small market team with a bad farm system like the Indians have..
So, why try to compete?
Look, this is fool's gold time of the year. Teams are thinking they have a chance to make the playoffs by adding a little something extra at this time of year and that they have to make the playoff push this year because:
(a) you aren't in the position to make the playoffs every year
(b) once you get to the playoffs, anything can happen (see Cardinals, St. Louis - 2011 version)
So, along the lines of the phrase, there's a sucker born every minute, let's be the shark and not the sharkfood.
Let's be a seller.
We have lots of pieces to sell: Shin-Soo Choo. Travis Hafner, Shelly Duncan, Joe Smith, Tonny Sipp, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Tony Sipp. We could also try to trade Jack Hannahan and Casey Kotchman and even Esmil Rogers, although I can't imagine there will be takers for those latter guys.
This would lead to a deep rebuild. especially as we should expect low A, high A, AA league prospects back to match our current development path that contains lots of prospects at levels from low A to rookie ball.
So, Indians, be the first seller on your block. With 11 of the AL teams and 8 NL teams still well in the race, there are currently more potential buyers (19) than sellers (11) with many of the sellers being so bad that what they are selling the contending teams are apparently not buying, at least yet.
So let's be the first on our block. Remember the Bartolo Colon trade? It beat the deadline trade rush. Let's look for one of them, or maybe two.
So, Indians, put on your e-Bay hats and let's have a firesale. The time to strike is now...before all the other wild-card contenders find that they only a 25% or smaller chance of making the playoffs.
If we sell from this position of strength we will be at a HUGE advantage over other teams who want to be sellers. Plus, for the first time, we can get draft picks back in addition to or instead of players. My guess is that the newly-tradeable draft picks from the competitive balance lottery will be underpriced for the first couple of years as teams will consider these picks less valuable than prospects since you actually have to draft and spend money to even get a prospect out of a trade. I mean, how can a draft pick be more valuable than a prospect? Or, at least that's the thinking I predict baseball people will have on these tradeable picks.
Plus, how much do you really think the sell now path would hurt interest in the Indians? With a contending team we are still LAST in attendance and our TV viewership is off by 24%. No one cares, no one is looking but us die hard fans.
Sell, Indians, sell. Get great value and let's start the rebuild. Any other path would lack the long-term vision you need if you are a small market team with a bad farm system with a fan base that doesn't care right now.