Your boy is back after four days out of the country (yes, I have a real job believe it or not). While I was gone, I feel like I missed a lot. Three straight days of meetings will do that to you. It was time to get back on that WFNY Horse. I started to write about the Indians, as I usually do, but there was just too many things that I wanted to touch on today, so instead of a whole host of tweets, I am breaking it down paragraph style in what I like to call “Four For Friday.”
1. Let me get this done right off the top. LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their second straight NBA championship. For all of the Cleveland fans who so badly wanted LeBron to fail, he didn’t. Not only that, but he showed up the way a Superstar is supposed to in the biggest game of his NBA life.
Last night, I shed my #NBAFree bit and watched the game start to finish. It was really fun to watch. I had Twitter open on my phone and was scrolling through my timeline at timeouts. Nationally, the sports media marveled at LeBron’s greatness. Local fans were killing him for, well, just being LeBron. What I can’t believe are the people in this city who claim they don’t want LeBron to come back and wouldn’t root for him if he did.
You are all lying to yourselves.
I don’t know about you people, but I want to win a championship. I don’t care how, I just want to win one. If you don’t think that putting LeBron James in a Wine and Gold uniform doesn’t give you the best chance to win, you are absolutely fooling yourself.
I am not saying you don’t have the right to hate him, but you cannot deny that having the four-time MVP and two-time Finals MVP on your team greatly improves your chances to win a championship.
2. After last night’s game, two members of the Cleveland Browns took to Twitter to tell the world how happy and excited they were that “their” Miami Heat won the NBA title. One was the currently suspended Josh Gordon, the other was big Phil Taylor.
Gordon got things started with this beauty:
— Josh Gordon (@JOSH_GORDONXII) June 21, 2013
That’s when the fireworks started. Is he that clueless to think that he wouldn’t catch a ton of “Heat” from the local fans that actually support him? A sampling of the venom he received in his timeline. The first two came from members of the media!
Even former NFL player and Clevelander LeCharles Bentley let Gordon have it in an epic Twitter rant. My thoughts are simple. Gordon and Taylor have every right to root for whoever they want. To put it out on Twitter is just plain dumb. Why rattle the cage of the people that support you for no reason? It was a straight up troll move. In politics, it is the old adage – “play to your base,” especially in a public forum. Joe Haden is the master of this. This will blow over soon enough, but Gordon hasn’t exaclty built up a ton of good will to be trolling his own fans this way. I at least respect the way Taylor handled himself after seeing the reaction to his tweets from Browns fans.
Goodnight! Imma still love Cleveland when I wake up. #GoBrowns
— Phil Taylor (@PhilTaylor98) June 21, 2013
3. You haven’t heard much talk about the return of Tribe right-hander Zach McAllister. The Zach Attack was arguably the Indians most consistent starter until the finger injury that he was eventually DL’d for became a problem. When he is deemed healthy, McAllister will be plugged right back into the rotation.
Obviously, Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez aren’t going anywhere. Brett Myers doesn’t seem to be in the fold any time soon and when/if he comes back, you would think he is headed for the bullpen. Carlos Carrasco was great in in his last start Monday night, allowing one run and pitching into the eighth. Carlos was hitting 95-97 all night long with his fastball. The time for him is now. Corey Kluber has been spectacular of late and as I wrote on Monday, Kluber may be the guy you want pitching if you had just one game to win to get to the playoffs.
This leaves tonight’s starter Scott Kazmir as the probable odd man out when McAllister is activated. The left-hander’s comeback story has been well documented, but his performance on the field has been spotty at best. He has made 11 starts and sports an ERA of 5.89 and a WHIP of 1.65. Right-handed batters are hitting .327/.400/.612 against him. With that said, he has had good life on his fastball, consistently in the mid-90’s. There is a simple solution to this problem: send him to the pen.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
The Indians have a serious problem with their southpaws. Rich Hill has been brutal and is probably the next man to lose his job. Nick Hagadone has had his moments, but has been completely unreliable. The lack of a quality left-handed reliever who can throw strikes is clearly the biggest hole in Francona’s pen. Kazmir can be that guy. Not to mention, this may be the best route for him to keep his career going.
You know how many failed left-handed starters have become quality relievers late in their career? Why can’t Kazmir become Darren Oliver, who is still going at age 42 in Toronto. He was a starter for most of the first ten years of his career.
It it certainly worth a shot for the Tribe, who are collecting AAA lefties for tryouts seemingly every week.
4. There are rumors floating around that the Cavs and the Dallas Mavericks are discussing a deal that would send three 2013 draft picks, including #19 to the Mavs in exchange for the #13 pick and veteran small forward Shawn Marion.
Before you get yourself excited about adding the defensive-minded 35-year old, let me pump the breaks for you. Marion has one year left on his deal, which is a good thing obviously, but this is not exactly the “veteran’s veteran” you want to add to this locker room. Marion’s diva days in Phoenix were documented in Jack McCallum’s 2007 book Seven Seconds or Less. He also wants to win.
At the end of his career, you think he is going to want to be a part of a team that may be fighting for the seventh or eighth spot in the East? In 2008 and 2009 he was traded at the deadline – to Miami from Phoenix and then from Miami to Toronto. After being shipped up North to a rebuilding team, Marion did not want to report to the Raptors and threatened to retire. That summer, the Raptors were more than willing to part with him in a sign and trade deal with Dallas.
The bottom line here? Marion wants to win now. He potentially has one year left in his NBA career and won’t want to use that playing for a middle of the road at best team if he doesn’t have to.