August 2, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Rotation Band 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.

“So this all begs the question…what exactly are the Indians trying to do? GM Chris Antonetti has come out to say that Myers is likely the last significant free agent in the budget this offseason, so other than the usual slew of minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training we’re not likely to see any additions to the 40-man via free agency. Early in this offseason, I advocated trading Choo, Chris Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera in an attempt to jump-start the inevitable rebuilding process, and listening to offers on Vinnie F. Pestano and Justin Masterson as well. The club did of course deal Choo for Trevor Bauer and others, but rather than continue to demolish/rebuild via trade, Antonetti used a significant chunk of change to bring in a FA replacement for Choo and a badly needed arm. So are the Indians done significantly altering the roster for one offseason? If so, it feels a little like the club has reached the dreaded “in between” talent level; not quite good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to just let the kids play and trade for prospects.” [Al/The DiaTribe]

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Buckeye secondary recruit- “When a defense allows just 90 total yards and 71 through the air, if you’re a part of that secondary, chances are you’re happy about the end result. That would be a correct assessment of defensive back Eli Apple after his East team won, 15-8, over the West on Saturday. A defensive back, Apple was good in every facet of defense – man coverage, zone and stopping the run. His only hiccup came via a missed tackle. But that wasn’t going to stand in the way of him reveling in victory.

“I’m just glad we won,” Apple said. “I think I did solid. It was definitely a huge difference from my high school games. The biggest difference for me was the linemen coming after me. I’ve never seen linemen so fast in my life. It was great. The receivers were fast like I expected them to be.” [Rowland/Eleven Warriors]

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“The league-wide average shooting percentage for power forwards is 47.1%. For the season, Thompson is shooting 47.7%, a marked improvement over his rookie year percentage of 43.9%. If you look only at the last 10 games, the picture looks even rosier; Thompson is shooting 51% over that period. The league average true shooting percentage for power forwards is 52.6%. Thompson is at 51% for the season, which is an improvement from last season when he was at 46.9%. In the last 9 games without Varejao, Thompson has a true shooting percentage of 55.6. Improvement across the board, with games interspersed that show real potential, should lead to a lot of optimism.

But it isn’t just the numbers that show the improvement. Thompson is much more adept this year at putting himself in position to get off his baby hook. My eyes tell me he is traveling much less than he did last year, and despite about 8 more minutes played per game, his turnover rate is essentially unchanged. The league average is 1 turnover a game, and Tristan continues to be around 1.5, so more improvement in this area will be helpful. Tristan’s usage rate has actually gone down this season. One theory for that is that he is no longer a ball stopper trying to force things. It still happens, but he has shown much more willingness to pass the ball out or keep it moving when he doesn’t have good position. He has even shown flashes of being able to get some pretty assists. He isn’t Marc Gasol, but he already has surpassed the number of assists he had as a rookie in 300 less minutes. I think this indicates he has a better understanding of his role in the offense, where his teammates are, and the game slowing down for him a bit. [Zavac/Fear the Sword]

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“That’s why we began to fall in love with Chip Kelly. We put aside any reasonable analysis and became excited by the sheer possibility of what he could do. We imagined that he would revamp the roster and implement his system and it would be unstoppable. And he would do it all overnight.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works in the NFL. Building a champion takes time. While it is possible to go from being out of the playoffs one season to the Super Bowl the next, there are no overnight successes. Anything that appears as such is a mirage, and is actually the result of years of stability and planning (combined with luck, of course).

As Browns fans, we’re tired of being told to be patient. We’ve heard that too many times before. Unfortunately, we don’t have any other choice. Chip Kelly would have been an exciting hire. But there’s no real reason to believe that he could have built a contender here any faster than Wisenhunt or Smith or somebody else could.” [Rebuilding Since '64]

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“The best thing to come out of the weekend may be the crash course that Haslam received on what the NFL is truly about. Hiring a coach and running a franchise isn’t the same as opening a truck stop in the sticks of America; it takes more than a Southern drawl and a fat wallet. (If that wasn’t true, then Jerry Jones would have to build an extension on Cowboys Stadium for all his Super Bowl trophies).

Hopefully Haslam learned the most important lesson of the weekend: Next time you are going to schedule an interview with a coaching candidate, it may be a good idea to make it over breakfast.” [Red Right 88]

  • MrCleaveland

    Fail to the Redskins, who mortgaged a couple years of the near future to grab a running QB who suffered the same fate that all running QBs eventually suffer: getting busted up while sprinting downfield.

    Now RG III will probably walk with a limp the rest of his life, and Dan Snyder better hope that Cousins will be ready to see plenty of playing time.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Unless he has an Adrian Peterson like comeback. But yeah…

  • Harv 21

    Re Tristan, I was ripping him just a few weeks ago but seems he’s turned an important corner, maybe as much psychological as skill development-wise. He’s moving with more confidence and authority, less of the robotic steps that made it look like he was thinking rather than just playing.

    And real happy that he’s repeating one FT stroke that’s working. Looks like he shoots it too hard and low to ever get to 80% (it will never front rim/backboard/fall), but he can probably get that to 70%, which means he can stay on the floor at the end of close games.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I don’t view the Tribe’s offseason plans as putting us “in between” as a bad thing. Look, this team was in first place in July. Yes, they dropped off a cliff from there, but for more than half the season we were competing for a playoff spot. With the addition of another playoff spot, the moves they have made make sense. Add a proven manager. Add Swisher and Reynolds – middle power guys who hit RH against LHP. Add Myers and Bauer to the rotation. Add bullpen help. Add post-prospect Drew Stubbs who has a chance to tap unfulfilled potential in a new setting.

    By keeping Cabrera and Perez, we give the team a chance to compete again. If it fails, then we can deal them in July. If it works, perhaps we can add in July to make a run.

    I just feel with the addition of the playoff spot, being labeled as “in between” means that you have a shot. I like when my teams have a shot – as compared to going in knowing they have none.

  • Harv 21

    re Indians, I should be feeling a little tingling as February approaches what with Francona, Swisher, Bauer, etc. but I’ve got nothing, no buzz at all. Maybe once pitchers and catchers report. They may have lost me, and I’ll look on with interest if they’re interesting, but with no more passion. Too bad if that’s the case, but you can’t fake passion.

  • http://twitter.com/Jim_IBI Jim Pete

    I love these quick hits every day guys…it save me a ton of time…

    The secondary looks like it’s in good hands…with Apple leading three massive recruits coming into town.

    Can’t wait to see the final tally come February…with four more big prospects likely to sign…Safety Vonn Bell…are you listening?

  • @TheDeePagel

    But I will continue to stress that these additions still mean nothing without improvement from the main pieces.

    1. If Masterson and Jimenez don’t have better 2013s than 2012s we are sunk.

    2. If Santana does not take the next step in year three on his way to becoming a true middle of the order, run producing hitter as he was advertised then we are sunk.

    3. Kipnis and Chisenhall both need to become prominent faces of the franchise as well. Kipnis is well on his way – Chisenhall obviously has the bigger strides to make.

  • @TheDeePagel

    If Bell signs on….Meyer would have hit on 4 of his top 5 recruits….missing only Quick, and that one was basically a toss up by everything I read.

    Point: The football team is in great hands going forward….and I mean not just B1G Champ hands…..but National.

  • @jim_IBI

    I couldn’t disagree with the Tribe comments from Al at all. I don’t think the Indians are “there” yet by any stretch of the matter, but I do think there’s more to this team than meets the eye DP.

    Swisher brings a lot of heart to the team, and Kipnis, anyone who’s met him, is similar in many ways. Chiz adds a ton, and Stubbs is a sleeping giant (expectations on him in Cincy were crazy high, and “giant” is hyperbole, but the kid can improve).

    The key is the rotation, and if Ubaldo levels out, doesn’t even improve, but levels out, and if Masterson levels out, and if Myers goes 180 innings, and if McAllister is just a #4, and if Carrasco or Bauer or Kazmir does what they can, the rotation is greatly improved…

    There’s upside there, so ‘in between’ may not even be right. Of course, you know me…the eternal optimist…

  • @TheDeePagel

    And remember….he is 21 years old. He is already coming close to producing the same effort stats as Andy has done at 30 years old. Go back 9 years and look where Andy was as a 21 year old. I think we will enjoy some major rewards by sticking with Thompson, not labeling him a bust, and allowing him time to grow. He is already proving he will be a force in the paint.

  • mgbode

    a tad early for such a prognostication, but it definitely worrisome for `Skin fans as they go into the offseason.

    i’d be happy to add to their worry by stealing younger Shanahan too

  • mgbode

    can you please rip on Byron Scott’s defensive acumen, our lack of backup PG situation, and Tyler Zeller losing his aggressiveness too?

  • @TheDeePagel

    I’m right there with you. I quietly have very high expectations for this team in 2013. The drop off last year was so steep and so bad it almost is one of those things that you look at and write it off as being too out of place. Like Tuffy Rhodes hitting 3 homers on opening day….or Chris Shelton having the April of a lifetime a few seasons ago…..just one of those fluky baseball things that is out of place and won’t stick.

    Francona is key to me. He preaches communication with his players all the time, something Acta appeared to struggle with. Analysts kind of rip on the Tribe questioning how Swisher will respond to being the “centerpiece” here and not a complimentary piece like he was with NY…..but I think that’s wrong. He is still a complimentary piece – because this team is still going to succeed with Santana, Kipnis, Cabrera (as long as he is here) and Chisenhall. That has been our core, and Swisher, Reynolds, and Stubbs doesn’t change that.

    Our lineup is long, it extends 1-9, it has potential to be great….and our rotation, while unspectacular, has the ability to keep us in the game for 6 innings as we turn to our real strength in the bullpen to finish things off.

    I am anticipating great things in Cleveland this summer…..and dare I say October.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Do you get the sense that if we traded up to get RGIII that this would have happened in August?

  • mgbode

    his per36min stats are much closer to a 22yo Andy than 30yo Andy.

    I agree with the premise though and hope he continues to show improvement. I think we are all pleased that he has started to show that development we all heard about in the offseason.

  • mgbode

    No way. He would have started the year on fire just like he did for DC. Then, gotten injured during a comeback in the first Baltimore game and caused us to go on a 12 game skid.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I couldn’t help imagining how he would look as a Brown last night. It would have been Hardesty in the Alfred Morris role – which could have been amazing….and Gordon’s ability to get deep…..and Little’s hands coming around……wow. It could have been sweet.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    That does seem very Browns doesn’t it? This was my biggest concern about Griffin when I heard that the Browns were keen on drafting him way back when. I didn’t think he had the body type to withstand the hits he would receive in the NFL. I told my friends who are Redskins fans that this could happen. They scoffed at me. Is it possible that he could get healthy and remain healthy for the vast majority of games going forward? Sure it’s possible. But I sure wouldn’t bet on it.

  • Harv 21

    true, but my main issue a few weeks ago was that Tristan was not always playing hard and mentally floating at times, an issue Andy has never had. Bigger minutes and more responsibility may have focused him, which begs the question of what will happen when Andy comes back. Also, I get cranky when guys taken high in the draft to be an inside force don’t always play hard. Stats won’t replace Andy. Andy creates possessions, with defensive stops, rebound hunger on both sides and 50/50 ball mania that don’t always box score.

    This team is really passive for stretches in most games. Tristan may never be Andy, but he was drafted to be Tigger, and Tigger he must be.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    The last game I watched was the game against the Bobcats and I was really encouraged by what I saw from Thompson. I remember Kyrie (or somebody) fed him in transition and he kept the ball up high without stopping to gather himself and dunked it in one smooth motion. We have been waiting for that! It was so refreshing to see him do it like it was second nature.

  • mgbode

    I cannot go as far as saying October without seeing any progression in the SP’s yet. But, I do think we are improved. I agree the key is that Masterson/Ubaldo get back to form while Kipnis/Chisenhall/Santana take the next step in their development.

    Swisher – very happy with his signing for ’13. And, hoping that he continues to be worth the price after (but will worry about that later).

    Stubbs – I love having a premier defensive CF. Only SS is more important for such a spot. I also love having a SB threat in the lineup. Now, we have to hope that last year’s complete falloff at the plate was an aberration or that he improves there.

    Reynolds – his stats have bounced around a ton the past few years. But, he has the potential to replace Hafner’s power numbers but from the right hand side of the plate while playing 1B (and hopefully many more games). I understand why we took that chance.

    Bauer – I liked the trade but more for the future than this season. I think he will have a wildly up and down year while hopefully displaying the tools and reasons we made the trade. He is going to SO a ton of batters, he is going to BB a ton of batters. I think his key will be limiting HR’s and figuring out how to get more weak contact at the MLB level.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think what you’re really trying to say here is that you can’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk, and I wholeheartedly agree.

  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    Um, defensively TT is nowhere close to replacing Andy. Nowhere.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Okay granted. I think my point is getting lost. I’m simply trying to say that TT is 21 years old. He was extremely raw coming out of college – we knew that. I have been reading a lot of comments about him over the past month with people blasting him and using the word “bust”. He is improving. He is young. To give up on him in the next few years would be a major mistake. He is showing us glimpses of what he can do. 4-5 years from now he will be a major force in the paint. Give him time.

  • Harv 21

    1) I have. Didn’t work; 2) I will not (worried about starters before backups); 3) just wait for the mask to come off?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I would agree especially compared to this time a year ago. All that aside this team is still not on par with the serious AL contenders from top to bottom. They are however in a better position IF players play up to their potential AND a few do better. It’s baseball though, anything can happen so we’ll see.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m right with you I wasn’t a big Thompson fan I thought his selection was a mistake but given the way he’s played the last 7 games I’ll gladly eat crowe.

  • mgbode

    on (3): is a never publicized 4th Zeller playing in place for Tyler behind that mask?

  • mgbode

    yep, noone thought the A`s stood a chance this time last year. especially competing with Texas and Anaheim in their division. You never know (but the odds are decidedly stacked against).

  • Kildawg

    It was primarily because of this that I was elated the Browns didn’t fall for Griffin, and I even called it Snyder’s Folly when that trade happened. The Rams really fleeced the ‘Skins good last year (and even beat them in the regular season too if I recall correctly).