July 25, 2014

While We’re Waiting… An Indians Rotation Featuring Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… “Kershaw was just eight starts into his big-league career and sporting a 4.42 ERA when the Indians landed him in the CC deal, but he was generally regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. He’s developed into a Cy Young winner, and he and Adam Miller have emerged as the most dominant one-two, left-right punch in the Majors. Throw in lefty Chris Sale, who has made a splendid conversion to starting duties just two years after the Indians took him with the No. 5 overall pick in the Draft, and this is the most dangerous rotation in the game. No wonder the Indians are the heavy favorites to win their first World Series title since 1948.” [Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com]

“Improbabilities of reaction time, scope of field vision, swiftness of acceleration — all that voodoo that he can do so well — make [Braxton] Miller one of the best broken-field runners in Ohio State history. This at a place that has had had seven Heisman Trophy winners. Miller has very fast feet. He is not a long-strider, as were Robert Smith, Ted Ginn Jr. and Terrelle Pryor. Terry Glenn, the Buckeyes’ 1995 Biletnikoff Award winner as college football’s best wide receiver, was tough to top in the open field. However, Miller sometimes creates his own open field.” [Bill Livingston]

Reviewing the Derek Lowe addition [Lets Go Tribe]

Sign of things to come from the Chiz Kid? “Now back in the Indians lineup, the organization and the young third baseman are trying to make up for the time he missed. Chisenhall is getting opportunity to play nearly every day this month, especially against right-handed pitching. He is still trying to find his consistency—the consistency and timing he thought he had in June—but has had success at the plate since his return. In just 11 games back with the Tribe, he’s hit two home runs and driven in five.” [Did the Tribe Win Last Night?]

And finally, everyone remain calm: “Three weeks into a season is an incredibly small sample size. While I completely understand the passion of the fans and the reasonable demand for a better product on the field, calling for everyone’s jobs this early into a season is a mistake. If the team is still winless heading into their bye week and there’s nothing to hold on to, then it’s a different story. There would be nine games to take into account against a wide variety of opponents. If [Jimmy] Haslam were to make a change in such a case, I wouldn’t blame him. However, I don’t think it’s too much to give Shurmur more than three games into this season.” [Dawgs by Nature]

  • Harv 21

    that Castrovince piece is simply cruel. Was ready to jump on him for expecting the Tribe to hit 100% of everything but following how – in hindsight – a different strategy looks so reasonable the only thing I’m left with is: 1) they couldn’t wait to trade Lee and dump all salary that year because the Dolans were having trouble making payroll. It wasn’t about the best Lee deal, and 2) hey- 21 other teams also passed on Mike Trout.

    [sigh] If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. Hate being a Cleveland sports fan right now. “Watch the young kids play” is not a suitable mantra all year round.

  • maxfnmloans

    +1 for “if wishes were horses…” when I say things like that o friends or co-workers, they look at me like I just stepped off an olde tyme exhibit at Hale Farm

  • maxfnmloans

    reading that Castrovince article made me feel like that scene in Family Guy where they drank Ipecac and kept throwing up all over each other

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I get that look when I call something “the cat’s meow”. That phrase is still considered to be on the trolley, no?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Oh, and extra points for the Hale Farm reference.

  • maxfnmloans

    lololol on the trolley…top drawer old bean. top drawer indeed

  • Steve

    What is this “different strategy”? Let’s actually break down what he suggests. Everyone could have made different draft picks, and few people were begging for Trout or Sale. Let’s pretend Miller didn’t get hurt and that Chisenhall got hurt before the Youkilis trade. How is that reasonable? The Cabrera and Perez trades were pulled out of thin air. Sure, they would be nice to have now I guess. So we’re left with picking Martinez over Hafner (while pretending that Martinez stayed healthy in 2008 and 2011, while not giving Hafner that benefit), and hoping that the Dodgers actually would have given us a 20 year old good enough to play in the majors. The most prevalent rumor at the time was Kemp+ for Sabathia and Blake. While Kemp is great, he’s not Santana+Kershaw

  • Harv 21

    Understand you are the staunchest defender of this FO, but c’mon. There is a draft strategy. We had pitchers only on our mind Trout’s year. There was a strategy in locking up a DH to that kind of money, against no bidders. Martinez was the leader of the clubhouse. Exactly what is Santana? One of the top 50 players in the majors? (pffft). In the AL? Right now he’s a guy, that’s all.

    Go ahead, sieze the word “strategy” to defend this FO. Bottom line is that this farm system is a failure, for it’s scouting system and development of players and oversight (that’s a strategy). And the owner’s lack of independent wealth has led them to attempt a strategy involving trades to re-tool every few years. CC, Lee, and White/Pomerantz. = whiff, big whiff, and laughable. (no, it doesn’t matter evaluating the trades that White/Pomerantz aren’t stars, any more than it would matter if Cliff Lee blew out his arm the next spring training and never pitched again. The question is: what was their value at the moment of the trade? What could they have gotten waiting or going another direction?).

    Here’s a better strategy: look for a minority investor to help you keep your good players in their prime. Or sell. What does Perez get you before they trade him as a FA? Or Cabrera or Choo, if everything around them coming up is rotten?? Look at 2007 as what is clearly is in hindsight, an aberration where all the stars aligned for a moment because a dude came out of nowhere and won 19 games. Not a template for future success.

  • mgbode

    “look for a minority investor to help you keep your good players in their prime.”

    you had me nodding along all the way up to this line. adding a minority owner (or selling) isn’t going to open up the coffers for the Tribe. maybe we get to $75-80mil per season instead of $65mil per season, but that’s about it (and as long as Anaheim makes $150mil/year on local TV and the Indians make $30mil that isn’t about to change).

    also, 2005-2008 was not merely an aberration. we had “the tools” in those years to compete. 2005 & 2007 we did compete but ended up choking (last week of the season and then the ALCS). but, with Hafner, Sizemore, CC, etc. we had a robust team. Sadly, it wasn’t enough (and we are miles away from it at this point).

  • Steve

    We drafted Kipnis with our second pick in 2009. Clearly we didn’t have just pitchers on our mind. There are very few people who can bash this organization for passing on Trout. There was literally nobody saying that Trout was a must-take-superstar, he was just your run of the mill toolsy first rounder. If you knew better, and aren’t just talking hindsight, you should be running the Indians scouting department.

    For Hafner’s 2004-2007, the money he got was more than team-friendly. He got hurt. It sucks, I know. Martinez was the leader in the clubhouse in 2008 and 2009. How did that help us out? And yes, Santana is about the 50th best player in the majors. Very few catchers hit like that.

    I’m only seizing the word “strategy” because that’s how you described Castrovince’s article. It wasn’t strategy, it was operating with 20-20 hindsight. There is very little strategy involved in being able to place the darts exactly where you want them to land.

    I’m not sure the farm system is a failure, at the moment the top of the system looks weak, but the bottom is more than solid, and we just graduated Kipnis, Chisenhall, Santana, Brantley, and some good bullpen arms. There is an organizational failure in working with these young pitchers at the major league level, absolutely.

    If it doesn’t matter what White and Pomeranz are doing when we evaluate the trade, can we not ignore what Jimenez is doing too? We got a guy who was a front of the rotation arm, with almost 9 k per 9 and kept the ball in the park in Coors. At the moment, he had a lot of value.

    And, still, the same hope that a white knight is going to come riding in to lose money on the Indians just so that we can feel better. Go ahead and keep searching for that one. Let me know when you find him.

    I’m defending this front office against garbage like what Castrovince’s article has/is going to bring. People who expect the team to operate with perfect foresight and who think the unicorns and rainbows of the 90s could go forever and ever.

  • mgbode

    i do appreciate a good rant but Castro’s article there was merely meant as a fun “what if everday was a pizza party” type of article :)

  • Steve

    How was that fun exactly? Highlighting failures without any sort of evaluation is just painful.