July 30, 2014

While We’re Waiting… T Rich is The Real, What Francona Brings, and Drinking Wine & Gold Kool Aid

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.

Regardless of how brutal the Browns have looked, there is no doubt we have a serious stud on on hands in Trent Richardson:

Richardson is too wise to admit it, but there must be moments when he wipes the dust from his eyes and, in the immortal words of the Talking Heads, wonders how did he get here.

Cleveland traded up a spot and relinquished precious picks to select Richardson with the third pick overall in the 2012 draft. Once in a lifetime, Richardson was that sort of back, even if the legendary Jim Brown churlishly called him ordinary. Having smoothed things over, Brown surely appreciated the way Richardson fought for every extra inch Sunday while picking up 81 yards on 17 carries and through sheer will caused plays to continue even after the Giants thought they had wrapped him up.  Lisa Olson/Sporting News

“Making Progress” just took a big step back, says one of the best to ever write in this town:

In the final 3:46 of the first half, the Giants scored 17 points. Seven set up by a terrible interception by Brandon Weeden. Seven provided by a fumbled kickoff by Josh Cribbs. Three created by a Browns 3-and-out (featuring two offensive penalties), followed by a punt and a Buster Skrine pass interference penalty.

By halftime, New York was in front, 27-17, and the Browns trudged off the field with that “What happened?” stare on their faces.

Browns fans were probably thinking, “Here we go again.”

Weeden called the late half collapse “the worst” stretch of football this season. That’s saying something when a team has a 0-5 record, and has lost 11 in a row dating back to last season. Terry Pluto/PD

Quality stuff again from DTTWLN, talking about what Terry Francona is going to bring our beloved Wahoos. 

What Francona will bring will be a new view and outlook to Antonetti’s and Shapiro’s process. Certainly the 12-year managerial veteran will have a say at the table when discussing the building of the roster moving forward, a much louder voice than former manager Manny Acta ever had or a young, inexperienced manager like Sandy Alomar would have had.

“We have to examine what’s transpired, not just this year, but where we are organizationally moving forward because the mix we had wasn’t working,” Antonetti said. “We need to figure out ways to be better.”

While Francona might bring a different view and voice to the front office and the clubhouse, he still has the same fundamental beliefs founded on statistical analysis. He won’t have fears of sharing his opinions with the Ivy League analysts of the Indians organization after spending eight seasons with Theo Epstein in Boston. Instead, Francona has a comfort and excitement of the building process with Antonetti and Shapiro due to their 12 years of friendship. Mike Brandberry/Did The Tribe Win Last Night

 —
More on Saturday’s Wine and Gold scrimmage from the legend Bob Finnan:
Omri Casspi looks like a different player. Gee will retain his starting job at small forward. If Miles is better at the “2” spot, Casspi could be the backup at small forward. Where Boobie Gibson fits in now, we’re not sure, even though he’ll get minutes.Casspi, compared to a pit bull last year by Coach Byron Scott after the Wine & Gold Scrimmage, played more like a poodle last year. Could this be a breakthrough year. Bob Finnan/News Herald

According to Bleacher Report, Brandon Weeden’s play is hardly to blame for the Browns 0-5 record:

Outside of Gordon’s one great game, Weeden has literally no above-average receiving threats to whom to throw to at this point.

Mohammad Massaquoi continues to be injured, and Greg Little, who was supposed to develop into a #1 receiver, cannot catch a football to save his life.

The rest of the receivers are below average options or youngsters such as Jordan Norwood who have to develop. Until they do, or more talent is added, Weeden is going to continue seeing his passes bounce off his receivers hands. Chris Rolling/Bleacher Report

  • boomhauertjs

    Optimistic that Casspi can bounce back enough this year to be a major contributor or at least a trade piece in a big deal.

  • mgbode

    that’d be nice. we could sure use it because our 2nd unit is going to need it.

    Sloan/Pargo/Gibson?
    Miles
    Casspi
    Samuels
    Zeller

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh yea!!!!!!

  • Garry_Owen

    Somebody help me out here, and pardon the uncharacteristic pessimism, but what exactly does Francona bring to the Tribe? That snippet from Brandberry does nothing to help. It seems to me that we fans perpetually fall prey to this idea that if we bring in the “big name,” we’re suddenly going to catch lightning in a bottle. Notwithstanding the fact that lightning a bottle is actually a very frightening proposition of questionable practical applicability, how are we, in any way, guaranteed even a glimpse of the success that Francona enjoyed in Boston (as much through fortune as through his talents)?
    The circumstances in Boston when he was there and those here in Cleveland could not be more disparate. The closest thing that we have in Cleveland to what he experienced in Boston was a leaderless clubhouse and an out-of-control high profile (well, as high profile as they come in Cleveland) pitcher. That didn’t end well for Francona, once the glitz of high-cost bashers wore off.
    I am holding out hope that this will be successful, but I just don’t see how bringing in Francona is necessarily such a great answer. Help me out.

  • CBI

    Chicken and beer? Garry, I have the exact same questions/concerns as you do.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    When was the last time the Indians or for that matter any Cleveland professional sports team brought in the “big name” because I must have missed it? This is clearly a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’ll be a mistake to start Thompson/Varejao together. I wanna go on the record, October 8, 2012, as stating so emphatically. I don’t know which would be better suited to come off the bench right now I’m leaning towards Thompson at least for the start of the season but I think it’ll be a problem if he and Varejao both start.

  • Garry_Owen

    Um, Mike Holmgren?
    “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” is the running theme of Cleveland fandom.

  • mgbode

    it signals that the FO is going to spend the standard $65-70mil payroll instead of cutting it bare to $40-45mil because they had to promise Francona something to get him to sign (I would think).

    outside of that, I would hope that Francona knows of a good hitting and pitching coach that he can bring to our team and they come with a systematic way of dealing with the daily scouting of opposing teams (and giving players their cheatsheets w/ video) that we need to compete.

    —————

    still requires rebuilding the pitching staff and some key spots in the lineup, but it’s a start (I hope)

  • mgbode

    I do like the idea of running AV+Zeller out there as starters. It allows AV&Irving to run the PnR while Zeller finds space on the backside for jumpers. With TT in there, he has to be crashing hard backside and a good defense will cut him off.

    But, Scott has pretty much signaled that TT going to be a starter at the beginning of the season. So, we will see what unfolds. If TT does end up a backup, then I really want to see Pargo win the backup PG slot. That 2nd team could really fly up and down the court with him in there too. That and I hate Sloan’s game.

  • Garry_Owen

    I do hope you’re right.
    My fear is that this is the FO’s way of saying “look, we did our part,” ala the Jimenez trade. It seems reasonable that Francona would have attached some spending condition to his hiring, but I get the feeling that this was as much an emotional move for Tito as it was a professional business move. That makes me nervous.
    I haven’t been one to dog the owners, but I sure do wish Jimmy Haslam had a brother that loves baseball. (Mabye he does. I don’t know. You get my point, though.)

  • mgbode

    the problem will continue to be that any smart businessman that wants a good investment is likely to stay away from small market MLB teams.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Mike who oh you mean the guy who makes appearances only to put out fires in the media? Correct me if I’m wrong but Holmgren was hired as the team president not the head coach or manager which is what I thought we were discussing with Francona. Btw even if you count Holmgren that’s one out of how many in this town?

  • mgbode

    Heckert was a pretty big name. Butch Davis was definitely a big name. Byron Scott was a pretty big name (as many thought he’d wait for a shot at the Lakers gig).

  • Garry_Owen

    1) Didn’t say anything about “head coach” or “manager.” Can’t fault you for the context, though.
    B) My point is just that we fans tend to think that bringing in the big name is a panacea – whether the teams actually hire them or not. How many times do we hear the names “Gruden,” or “Cowher,” or “Urban Meyer” (okay, bad example) come up on these here threads?
    4) Yes, Holmgren. The guy that everyone hates. Not a panacea, it turns out. Mabye not even a good hire. Point proven.
    [Come on, man! I'm singing your Kool-aid tune, and you're tuning me out!]

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Heckert was, really, ya think? Not me. Good old Butch Davis I guess he was in a way but that’s when I started my cry for not hiring first timers for teams in this city. That debacle was enough. As for Byron Scott I like the guy always did but we could have a discussion on just how big his name was at the time. The sad part is he came a year or two to late as far as I’m concerned.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Quite frankly when it comes to the football team I have no idea what the correct path is to find our way out of the losing zone I just know when something isn’t working and clearly it’s still happening. As far as Holmgren goes I thought he’d be Neo I mean the One but he turned out to be another imposter which is a shame for him, the team, the city and it’s fans.

    As far as the two former head coaches you mentioned I’ll be up front I’d love me some Bill Cowher. In some ways bringing him home to try and restore the franchise to greater glory would be a great story. It would be a much bigger story then Francona with the Indians. But I have a caveat with Cowher. I’d only want him as head coach I’d want someone who has worked with him in the past to be GM. I don’t know if that’s possible or not but whoever takes over as the next head coach needs to be proven with some sort of past success to really start a foundation for this franchise. I thought this is what Holmgren was bringing, my bad. Fool me once…

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    We’ll see what happens at least Scott will have options to work with which is always nice.

  • Steve

    Not a huge Zeller fan, but I still mostly agree. The big thing is that this team needs to find 30 minutes every night for Thompson and Waiters. I don’t care if comes at the cost of a few wins. They need to see what they have in these two and how quickly they can develop them.

  • Steve

    ” I would hope that Francona knows of a good hitting and pitching coach”

    The most important part right there.

  • mgbode

    with injuries that happen to every team and the lack of depth on the Cavs as a whole, I don’t think finding those minutes will be a problem (or close to it at least).

  • mgbode

    maybe i’m biased on it because I wanted Heckert the year before when Mangini was GM shopping and Heckert said no.

  • Steve

    Sure, but I don’t want to see them on the bench behind guys who are not part of this team’s future before guys get hurt either.