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“It will be up to the team’s owner, Randy Lerner, to determine if this is yet another abortive experiment, or whether a long-term winning culture is being established. Lerner, despite his carefully maintained low profile, is very sensitive to criticism of his team, and is particularly aware of criticism by passionate fans. He soaks it all in, and responds in some situations where he feels he can make his case fairly.
It is incumbent upon Lerner to ignore what is likely to be a firestorm of vitriol directed at his franchise throughout the 2012 season. Holmgren and Heckert need to have at least through 2013 to show progress with the franchise, given draft-oriented approach they’ve taken to building it.
The validity of the team’s draft orientation won’t matter if it loses the first five games. The airwaves will be full of nothing but negativity, and no excuses for poor performance will be tolerated. Local sports personalities will jockey for attention, attempting to out-do each other’s over-the-top rants as the team struggles.” [McBride/The OBR]
Protecting Pronk- “But just to go back to the frequency in which Hafner was used last year prior to his injury, he played in 32 of the first 39 games (posting a .958 in those 32games) and would play only 62 of the final 123 games (posting a .732 OPS in those final 62 games) and so far he’s played in 13 of the first 15 games and while I’m not suggesting that anything is about to go SPROING with Hafner as he “looks” healthy, he started out in this manner last year and looked just as healthy as we read stories about how he was finally ready for a year of full health. Again, he played in only 94 games last year as his absence from the team coincided with the team’s slide in the standings and while I won’t say that the team overused Hafner in the early going, causing him to the DL for a month from mid-May to mid-June (and he hit the DL again later in the year), the idea that Hafner has returned to form this year comes with the caveats and precautions that cannot be ignored, as they may have been last year.
What I’m getting at is that protecting Hafner, who is out to a huge start, is vitally important to the offense’s productivity this season, as wonderful as it is to see him hit like this and imagine that he’s FINALLY back. Hafner is what makes this offense go (settling the middle of the lineup and providing protection for Santana) and – though it may be hard to remember, particularly given the alternatives – it is important to remember that a healthy Hafner is more important than an everyday Hafner.” [Cousineau/The DiaTribe]
Checking in on the hitters in Columbus- “Lonnie Chisenhall is perhaps the one offensive player in Columbus who controls his own destiny in terms of a Cleveland promotion. Chisenhall is in AAA because he needs to improve his plate approach and show consistency on defense. Through 18 games he is hitting the ball very well (.315/.338/.575/.913, 4 HRs, 7 2Bs), but has an abysmal 15:2 K:BB ratio and five errors in the field. So while he is doing well, he is not doing the things he needs to do to get to Cleveland. Putting up an eerily similar line to Chisenhall is our old friend Matt LaPorta (.305/.364/.559/.923, 4 HRs, 3 2Bs), with a marginally better plate approach (5 BBs, 17 Ks). Cord Phelps is remaining relevant by hitting .316/.384/.487 while seeing time exclusively at 2B in the early going. Russ Canzler is probably the most disappointing guy on the roster at this point, as he has labored to a .234/.290/.297 line. Ryan Spilborghs, Gregorio Petit, Andy LaRoche and Ezequiel Carrera are, collectively, failing to do much more than occupy a spot.” [Let’s Go Tribe]
In all fairness, the Browns did have draft flops before 1999- “Cleveland Browns: Courtney Brown, 1st overall, 2000. The Browns have blown quite a few draft picks, but not getting any return on the top overall pick in the draft isn’t easy ‒ and the Browns did it two years in a row (see: Couch, Tim). With Brown, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. He had a lot of promise, but just couldn’t stay healthy. In five years, he was gone from Cleveland, and after six, he was out of the league. Honorable Mentions: Tim Couch, William Green, Brady Quinn” [Shutdown Corner]
Finally, Brendan Bowers talked with Tristan Thompson at shoot-around yesterday about his nearly completed rookie season. [Stepien Rules]