Monday, July 07, 2008

C.C. Ya

(just felt like I had to get my obligatory stupid pun out of the way)

So it's official, the Tribe traded away a 28 year old, reigning AL Cy Young award winner.


The Tribe picked up four prospects, with the 'name' being OF Matt LaPorta, who is currently batting .288 with 20 HRs in AA. They also grabbed two pitchers and the always fun 'player to be name later'. Now, I have no clue about any of the prospects, but I tend to trust Mark Shapiro when it comes to trades like this (no one bring up the name Alex Escobar, please).

A couple of friends (who support other teams) have asked me if I'm "mad" about the deal. Mad that they traded him at all, mad that they should've gotten more, mad that it was with the Brewers.... mad.

Am I mad they traded him? At this point... no. I don't think you can be. The Tribe is in a complete free fall, two of their three best hitters are on the DL and they definitely 'broke' on their make-or-break road trip. Shapiro had to trade C.C., because the longer they lost, the more likely it was he was going to head elsewhere anyways. It's one thing to take a hometown discount to stay with a franchise that is winning... but when you're last in the AL Central...

While I'm not mad a Mark Shapiro for making this deal, I am mad at Shapiro for letting it come to this. This team was one win away from the World Series (where I thought they'd be favored over Colorado) and they're now mired in last place and trading their Number 1 starter for prospects. I always thought C.C. would leave because of more money, I never thought it would be because the front office couldn't field a competitive ball club.

For instance, while no one thought that the offense would be this bad, it wasn't a secret that they needed another power bat (specifically a right handed one), for sometime now. I didn't expect Hafner and Victor to go down (and I expected some kind of return to form from Pronk), but those guys could've used some help last year, let alone this season. No help + injuries = lots of 2-1 games. Jason Michaels, Dave Dellucci, Casey Blake and Ryan Garko. Those were the players in the "power positions" to start the season. What? We're shocked that this team couldn't score runs?

And the bullpen... I mean, Christ... If Shapiro and manager Eric Wedge actually thought that Joe Borowoski was going to make it through another season armed with only smoke, mirrors and a fastball that tops out at 88 mph, they should be fired on the spot. They absolutely needed to shore up the back end of the pen or at least have some kind of contingency plan in place just in case JoeBo couldn't replicate last season's (unlikely) heroics.

What makes this deal somewhat palpable for me is the fact that Sabathia ended up A) in the National League and B) on a small town team. Shapiro didn't ship the hefty lefty to the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers, C.C. ended up in the land of beer and brats. I'm cool with that. Plus, I'll get to see the big fella swing the stick every time he starts, so that should be neat.

Though I do have one question, when was the last time the Tribe was on the opposite side of a deal like this? When is the last time an Indians team was having a good year and they added a major talent in a mid-season trade? The closest thing I can think of is Ken Hill in 1995... In the 1990s they were always rumored to be in the running for somebody like Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling or Pedro Martinez, but they never pulled the trigger on a blockbuster in mid-season. They always added auxiliary pieces like Hill, John Smiley or Kenny Lofton Round III.

Just once I'd like to see a Tribe GM say, "fuck it, we're going for it all this year". I'm actually somewhat happy for Brewers fans out there. Their team is going for it. Their team just picked up the reigning Cy Young winner.

I'm jealous.


Erik said...

This is the Catch-22 of being a midmarket baseball team: You want to develop talent that you sooner or later won't be able to keep. It will stay that way until baseball introduces a salary cap.

We should all be hoping that Matt LaPorta turns into the kind of hitter that, say, seven years from now, the Indians will have to trade or risk losing to a big market team in free agency. That's kind of a sucky way of looking at it, but that means in the interim, you got a beast of a hitter for the time you had him.

If the Indians have to trade away Sizemore, Carmona, LaPorta, etc. during their walk years because they're all pricing themselves out of the Indians' range, that means Shapiro and his crew are doing their jobs developing top-notch talent.

Screwed up, isn't it?

Ben said...

The way I see it, if Shapiro is doing his job if he isn't forced to trade them in their walk years. If the Tribe was competitive this season, they would've run the risk of losing C.C. for nothing, for the chance to win a World Series.

If they leave during free agency, that means that the Tribe actually needed them an entire season.

The Other Ben said...

Ill say it before and Ill say it again: If you are not a big market team your absolute best chance at winning a championship are the methods the Marlins have used the past 15 years. Are they terrible for a couple years? Sure, so were the indians. Whats the difference? Once their talent hits its best they went all out on spending and won TWO world series. So what if they dont fill up the stadium, thats a logistical and market issue. I would be happy as hell if Shapiro ran a team like Larry Beinfast did; tank and cut spending until your minor league studs are ready then go out and offer short term, lucatrive contracts to free agents. Since their inception, they have won a WS every 5 years and they could very well be on pace to win this year. They are 1.5 out and have a few guys with nagging injuries. If Dan Ugglas ankle gets back to 100%, they are going to win the east. BTW, Ben I should be able to make it down to Hudson on the 26th.

Erik said...

I guess I look at it this way: Would you rather tank a season and get something for a star player in a midseason (or preferably, an offseason) trade, or do what the Indians did last year, make it to the ALCS and lose, and then get nothing but two sandwich picks for a guy like C.C.?

I think in the eyes of most Cleveland fans, a championship would have been the only scenario under which they wouldn't have given Shapiro crap for letting C.C. walk.

Maybe, in a way, this bomb of a season is saving Shapiro from himself. He was forced to make this move. As competitive as the AL is this year, I don't think the Indians at their best would have stood a chance of winning the pennant without some offensive fortification. As we know, Shapiro blew that chance over the winter.

(By the way, the Cavs are targeting James Posey in free agency. Yes, please. At least as a sixth man. If Ferry lands Posey and a 20 PPG shooting guard, he'll be on to something.)

Ben said...

i think if the Tribe was 1 1/2 out of first in the Central, then fans would rather them keep C.C., even if they eventually lose in the playoffs.

Shapiro's issue is he tries to do both. Either compete or rebuild, pick one. There's no reason why they couldn't have put together a package around Adam Miller and nabbed some kind of bat/bullpen help.

Also, don't let Bob Howry leave.

Anonymous said...

Hey I have an idea : take all of the front office and that includes dolan, put them on the field. Take our and I say our INDIANS and send them down to buffalo, because that's where all the good coaches are. We need a good batting coach and a fielding coach and a pitching coach. It's a crying shame what dolan has done to Cleveland. All he wants is the CASH. My father rest his soul had me cut my baby teeth on the Cleveland Indians .I've seen owners and managers come and go , but this owner and manager are by far the worst I've seen.I say keep on shooting yourself in the foot. Get your money dolan.

Anonymous said...

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