As I sit here beginning to write this, the Indians are "beating up" on the second place White Sox. I use the term "beating up" loosely, only because the White Sox pitcher's inability to throw strikes is hardly grounds for the Indians delivering a whuppin. This post will pop my proverbial cherry as a writer for this site, and to begin I will touch on a few things that stick out from a lost season. First and foremost, while its fresh on my mind, last night after the Dodgers clinched, Joe Torre said something like "It all started to come together when Casey Blake arrived here..." Casey Blake? Really? you just landed Manny Ramirez... and Casey Blake is the difference maker? maybe Eric wedge was onto something when he kept him in the lineup all those years when Blake was hitting .210...
Buster Olney did a piece this week for espn.com about the end of the Yankees dynasty, noting that their neglect of the draft ultimately led to their downfall. while only 10 position players drafted by the Yankees from 97-05 made it to the bigs. Who was second "worst"? The Indians, with 11. You may say to yourself, yea but Shapiro has placed an emphasis on depth at pitching in the organization so we must have had a bunch of pitchers come through the system over those nine years... The real number is 14. Good enough to be tied for last in the league. Has there ever been a more astute GM at making trades for prospects and signing international talent, while being so terrible at drafting. Of course this falls on the GM but trickles down to the scouts who give their opinions on these players. One last thing about this, those who did not want Sabathia traded, if CC walked after the year and the Tribe received a few compensation draft picks, would you be confident Shapiro would land a Laporta type player? or even a PTBNL type player?
One player who Shapiro should take credit for is drafting Ryan Garko. While he has been mired in what seems like a season long slump, and everyone seems to be down on him, he has actually turned it around and will at the very worst finish with 89 RBI. In what can be considered his sophomore season, Garko's actual power numbers have dipped, his OPS is down almost 100 points from last year. But it is his second year when pitchers typically make adjustments. Hitters make adjustments in their third year. Garko, a third round pick out of Stanford, certainly has the pedigree to make intelligent adjustments. I have always been a Garko fan, ever since watching him mash his way through the College World Series.
This seems like a good time to talk about the ground rules for the posts on this blog. I have a few laws I must follow as set forth by the Commander in Chief. I must write about the Indians. If I don't write about the Indians it must be baseball. And if I don't write about baseball it must be about sports in general. A little confusing you say? Just know that unless something outlandish happens (and by outlandish I mean the Buckeyes open up the offense, the Browns do anything right, or Todd Lowber plays a snap in a real NFL game) this will be a baseball column.
My rules are as follows:
1. Eric Wedge game management is donkey-like. This needs to be read into a little bit, because I do respect the clubhouse he keeps and the way players will run through walls for him. But he routinely puts the wrong guys in the wrong place in the games. If we could keep Wedge as the manager but surround him with a very good bench coach we would be in business.
2. Derek Anderson Sucks
3. Todd Boeckman is the Derek Anderson of Cbus
4. Platoons are not fun
5. Jacob's Field will always be Jacob's Field
6. List is subject to change at any point
There you have it. I will touch on all levels of Indians baseball. I do follow the draft closely every year. There is a player the Indians passed over in the draft this season who played for me over the summer, and I tell you he very well could be the next Grady Sizemore. We will touch on that at a later date. Currently I live in New Jersey and am surrounded by Yankees and Mets fans. And fake Yankees and Mets fans. Which is nice this year because they have not been out in full force. You will catch some comparisons on here between the Cleveland fan base and the NY teams. You will also catch me bitching about these people. My next post will most likely be an end of season wrapup on Monday or Tuesday. I know you'll be looking forward to it...