The quote in the title of the piece is from Chris Antonetti. It is something that we’ve heard several times from the front office this season.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that if Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez were pitching like a pair of aces the Indians would have a better record and would likely be in first in the division.
It also doesn’t take a genius to know that if Carlos Santana was hitting something other than .221 with a .678 OPS the Indians would be scoring more runs, and potentially winning more games.
Yes, we are all disappointed in Matt LaPorta.
But here’s what has been bugging me. The Indians have a narrow window of opportunity. That was actually part of the message we were told after the trade of Pomeranz and White to the Rockies for Jimenez last year. We all know that Shin-Soo Choo will test the free agent market- mostly because he is a Scott Boras client. That will likely mean the Indians aren’t going to be serious players for his services in the future. He will simply price himself out of the Tribe market.
With this window of opportunity being around 2 or 3 years (and with no real prospects of note in triple or even double A ball) the team can’t afford to sit around and pin everything on the players not performing up to expectations.
What happens at your job if your production goes in the toilet? Wouldn’t there be consequences? What if you were a big part of a team or a committee on a big project? If you weren’t contributing or if others were having to pick up your slack wouldn’t you find yourself re-assigned?
Here’s the point I’m trying to make. Winning teams, real championship contenders won’t sit around and let a player or two keep them out of the playoffs. If third base is a problem area for the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox or Tigers they would find other options at third base. Ditto for left field or catcher or closer or wherever. They wouldn’t continue to trot out the problem month after month and just hope that the player plays up to their potential.
I’m not a do anything for the sake of doing something guy. I am a fan that was frustrated seeing Sizemore signed to a $5 million dollar deal, knowing that was money that the team wouldn’t be spending to fix the holes we’ve been talking about for years now.
Consider this from Joe Sheehan today-
“The Indians are once again living off a second straight strong start, but whereas the 2011 team fell fast and hard, this one arrested its descent before the All-Star break and has kept itself in two races. We say “OBP is life,” and the Tribe proves it, leading the AL in walks drawn for a .335 OBP (third) that is sustaining an offense (410 runs, eighth) lacking in longball power (83, 11th). Some early-season good work by the rotation was a chimera, as it was largely the result of pitchers with poor fundamentals getting lucky on balls in play. Now, the Indians have allowed more runs than any AL team other than the Twins, and their -30 run differential is a strong indication that they should be selling.
In this case, though, Cleveland can take a good look at going the other way. Unlike many AL teams, it can realistically consider itself to have a shot at both the front and back doors to the postseason. The Indians also have a roster that is somewhat easier to improve than most, strong up the middle and weak on the corners. You’d rather be searching for first base and leftfield help at the deadline than at shortstop.
The Indians also need to look for some bullpen support, and that’s always the cheapest and easiest thing to find at the trade deadline. The Indians may not be able to get into the ace-starter market — they made a big bet and lost a year ago on Ubaldo Jimenez — but could find themselves in the mix for second-tier guys like Jason Vargas and Wandy Rodriguez. With so many players at their peak ages and relatively weak competition, it’s their time. BUY.”
Now is not the time to let these areas of need destroy the season. It’s time to make a move in order to propel the team into the post-season.