July 28, 2014

While We’re Waiting…Who Wants Antawn, Sleeveless in Buffalo, OSU Decade of Dominance

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.

What could the Cavs get for ‘Tawn?  “Most good teams don’t have $10 million worth of talent they’re willing to give up. And if they do, they’re the type of players the Cavs have little to no interest in acquiring. A Jamison deal would then require a third (or fourth) team to make the math work, with the likeliest candidates being sad-sack teams with a lot of cap room and a willingness to rent it out if they can grab a draft pick and/or cash in the process. There’s also a chance that Cleveland, which has about $5.5 million in cap room, could work its way into a supporting role in a Carmelo Anthony trade, in which case almost anything is possible.  So we came up with a list of potential suitors for Jamison, just for the heck of it. Unfortunately for the Cavs, most contenders/playoff teams have little need for a player in Jamison’s mold.” [Zach Lowe/Sports Illustrated]

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Updates on Cleveland’s Recently Acquired Minor League Pitchers

Over the past few years, the Indians have made several trades to stock-pile on young pitchers in their minor league system. Among the notable fan favorites no longer in the red and blue are Victor Martinez, C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake, Mark DeRosa, Cliff Lee, Rafael Betancourt and others.

But in the meantime, these young pitchers have continued developing up and down the Cleveland organization. From Lake County down to Kinston and back up to Akron and Columbus, these new pitchers have helped the entire Player Development System ranked second overall with 154 total wins this season.

Last year around the trade deadline, I wrote several extended features previewing the various pieces joining the Indians and their farm teams. Now with the majority of these trades over 10 months ago, it is time to re-hash how all of these prospects are doing and map out their hopeful and eventual road to playing in Cleveland.

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Cliff Lee Continues to Own the NL

cliff-lee-standing-ovationAny Phillies fans that were disappointed in the Cliff Lee acquisition (we wanted Roy Halladay!!) can quietly sit down now.  Sit down like nearly every member of the Arizona Diamondbacks did last night thanks to Cliff tossing his second complete game since heading to Philadelphia.  If you did not get a chance to catch any of the highlights, it may have been for the better of your Indians fandom.

Lee took a no-hitter in to the sixth inning.  He finished the game in about two and a half hours.  Fanned 11 – a career best.  Of his 106 pitches, only 25 were balls.  Needless to say, he walked nary a D-Back.  And he did this all in front of the largest crowd of the season at more than 45,000 Phillie fans.

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Ozzie Guillen Waxes Poetic on the HBP

guillen-2On Friday night, Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a Mark Buehrle pitch.

The following Saturday, Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, and Scott Podsednik received a few pitches that were just a bit too inside. 

On Sunday, no one was hit by a pitch, but that didn’t stop White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen from speaking his mind on the perceived three-to-one ratio.

“Yesterday I get upset, they hit one guy and they throw in to another guy. I got upset. I know for a fact they’re not throwing at nobody, but enough is enough,” Guillen said. [Read more...]

Trade Deadline Analysis: Siding With Shapiro

large_mark-shapiroListen up all of you Dolan haters. I’m going to do something you aren’t going to like. I am going to take the contrarian view from the majority of the Wahoo Nation and look at the great fire sale of 2009 from the Mark Shapiro standpoint. It’s time to play devil’s advocate. Like it or not folks, that is what you are going to get.

Lets get some of this nauseating facts out of the way right off the bat:

  • Cliff Lee is the second Cy Young award winner in two years to be traded by the Shapiro regime.
  • The Lee/Ben Francisco combination did not net the Indians pitchers Kyle Drabek or JA Happ.
  • Lee’s first start in Philadelphia was a complete game, four hit, one run, win in San Francisco.
  • Victor Martinez told reporters at the all star game that he wanted to spend his entire career in Cleveland.
  • Martinez was dealt three weeks later and sat at his locker in tears while packing his things.
  • On Sunday, his second game with Boston, Vic The Stik had five hits and four RBI.

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Just Your Average Week in Wahoo World

03sTRIBEj.jpgHow things change in a week. A short seven days ago, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, and Ben Francisco were all still members of the underachieving Tribe, who suddenly were playing their best ball of the year, carrying a four game winning streak into Anaheim. On Monday, the Wahoos took their fifth straight in a stunning, come from behind ninth inning against Angels closer Brian Fuentes. They took the lead on a Martinez three-run homer, in what would turn out to be his last big hit for the Red, White, and Blue.

Earlier that evening, Garko was dealt to San Francisco for A pitcher Scott Barnes.

On Wednesday, Lee and Francisco were shipped to Philadelphia for AAA pitcher Carlos Carrasco, AAA Catcher Lou Marson, AAA SS Jason Donald and A pitcher Jason Knapp.

On Thursday, the fan backlash over the Lee trade was so brutal within the Cleveland fan base, that the Martinez trade talk seemed to die down. Conventional wisdom was that the Dolan’s wouldn’t see fan one the rest of the way and into next season if another key veteran, the heart and soul of the team, and arguably its best hitter, was traded before Friday’s 4 PM trade deadline.

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Trade Analysis: Ryan Garko Shipped to San Francisco

Indians White Sox BaseballThe needle has barely moved with Tribe fans this morning in regards to first basemen Ryan Garko being traded to San Francisco for left-handed Class A pitcher Scott Barnes. While many of you may say that Garko was the hottest bat on the Indians during this mini-streak they are on, its the equivalent of being the best looking girl in the Omega Moo Sorority in “Revenge of the Nerds.” The reality is that Garko has been given three years to prove that he is the answer at first base for the long term here. Obviously, he hasn’t taken the bull by the horns.

Sure, Garks can be a nice hitter at times, but first base is a power position and he is more of a singles and doubles hitter. His career high in home runs came in 2006 when he hit 21 in 484 at bats. Last season, the number dropped to 14 in 495 at bats. The other issue I’ve had with Garko since 2007 is his lack of production when his team was struggling. In 2007, in a pennant race, he hit .234 in September. In 2008, Ryan stumbled out of the gate along with his team, hitting .224 in April and .232 in May. Yet in August and September with all of the pressure off, Garko batted .292 and .384 respectively. This season, he hit .226 in May while the Indians were falling flat for the second year in a row. Check his stats since the Indians have been circling the drain – .343 in July. [Read more...]

Trade Analysis: Indians Acquire Young Arms in Chris Perez, Connor Graham and Jess Todd

(Editor’s Note: This analysis was written before the Indians traded IF/OF Ryan Garko to the San Francisco Giants for LHP Scott Barnes late Monday night.  Feel free to add his power arm to the mix and we’ll have more on his acquisition later this afternoon.)

shapiro-wedgeThese were trades that were not supposed to happen. The Indians were not supposed to be sitting at 42-58 on July 28th, way behind possible playoff contention in 2009. The pitching has been ugly , and people were starting to notice the lack of quality pitching depth overall in the organization. While some fans were counting on production from former prospects like Adam Miller, Randy Newsom, Edward Mujica, Jeff Stevens and Jon Meloan this season, all are injured or not with Cleveland anymore as the Indians remain dead-last 30th in baseball with a 5.21 ERA overall.

What could the organization do at all to solve this problem? Step One: draft Alex White in the first round. The hard-throwing right-hander out of North Carolina, along with 2008 5th-round draft pick Zach Putnam, has back-end bullpen potential and is extremely athletic. The makeup of these two prospects are incredible, but everyone knew that this would not just be enough in itself. Enter Step Two: trade for young relievers in other organizations. And trade they did, as GM Mark Shapiro has worked a pair of spectacular deals just over the past month in hauling away IF/OF Mark DeRosa and long-time setup man RHP Rafael Betancourt.

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Five and Fly: Vic’s Bomb Saves The Day

Indians Angels BaseballAmazing. I smell 2008 all over again with your beloved Erie Warriors. Thanks to a ninth inning Victor Martinez three-run jack off of Angels close Brian Fuentes, the Indians pulled off a come from behind stunner in Anaheim, winning 8-6, and pushing their winning streak to five. From an hour before the game until the last out, it was quite the interesting evening.

Manager Eric Wedge was not in uniform, serving a one-game suspension for the incident involving two hit batters in Seattle on Saturday. Next came the last minute scratch of scheduled DH Ryan Garko, who had been shipped to San Francisco for A-ball pitcher Scott Barnes. Wedge and interim manager Jeff Datz had to scramble to fox his lineup with Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner both in need of a day off.

So Jhonny Peralta, also scheduled for a day off, took the DH spot. Jamey Carroll was at third, Luis Valbuena played  second, Chris Gimenez took  left,  Ben Francisco was in center, and the sub-.200 hitting Kelly Shoppach was catching. If you knew this lineup would produce 20 hits – that’s right, 20 hits – then call yourself a genius. [Read more...]

Breaking News: Ryan Garko Traded to San Francisco

Slated to DH tonight, Ryan Garko has been pulled from the lineup. Ed Price is reporting that the Indians have traded him to the San Francisco Giants.

No word on what we have received just yet. Will update as we can.

Update: The Indians receive Class A Scott Barnes from the Giants. Barnes, according to Baseball Prospectus:

Barnes was the Giants 8th round pick in 2008, and is 12-3 and has a 2.85 ERA in 18 starts with High-A San Jose. Baseball America rated him the Giants’ 9th best prospect coming into the season.

Update 2: Per Anthony Castrovince  of Indians.com, it will be Andy Marte taking Garko’s roster spot. Expect him to play the bulk of his time at first base. Marte is tearing apart AAA right now, hitting .330 with 18 HR’s and 66 RBI’s.

Suddenly Hot Tribe Sweeps Seattle

Indians Mariners BaseballLast Sunday I lamented the fact that the Indians never seem to win a  weekend series. Then out of nowhere, the offense breaks out like they are the ’29 Yankees. 31 runs  – including a shocking 11 home runs – in three games. That’s right, the team that had just two in the first seven games after the all star break, hit 11 jacks in all varieties during a sweep of the Seattle Mariners in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday night’s 9-0 win featured four long balls and seven shutout innings from Aaron Laffey, who continues to prove that he is a mainstay in the Indians rotation for years to come. The left-hander allowed three hits and retired the last 13 batters he faced. Of his 21 outs, 17 of them came via the ground ball (his specialty) or the strike out. The bottom line here – Laffey had it goin’ on. As good as he was, the bats were even better. The game was finished off thanks to a five run ninth that featured back to back jacks from Ryan Garko and Jamey Carroll (his first of the year).

Saturday afternoon’s affair was not televised anywhere, so none of us could see the fireworks that ensued. Jeremy Sowers, recalled to take the roster spot of the traded Rafael Betancourt, got another chance to show the Tribe brass that he is indeed a major league starter. Luckily for the man who likes to get off the highway at “exit 4A,” the offense carried their hot streak over into the next game. By the time Sowers reached his bugaboo, the fifth inning, the Indians were holding an 8-0 lead. How they did it was even stranger. [Read more...]

Tribe Cruises – Time for a Meaningless Second Half Surge?

Indians Mariners BaseballI stayed up to watch the Tribe out on the west coast last night and it was an impressive display of baseball.  The Tribe bats were raking and Eric Wedge received a strong performance from starter Aaron Laffey and a steady 2 innings of relief from the bullpen.  If you watched last night’s game in a vacuum, you might actually think the Tribe is a talented club in the middle of a successful year.  The dugout was loose and everyone was enjoying themselves during this blowout which came on the heels of a series win in Toronto.  The Tribe is actually out of the AL Central cellar due to a KC 10 game losing streak.  Unfortunately, it was 1 of 162 and even clubs like the Indians and Nationals have games like this every now and then.

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Wahoo!!! Cliff Finally Gets What He Deserves

Indians Blue Jays BaseballHere is was, all set to write another “poor Cliff Lee” recap. You know the one where I talk about how the reigning Cy Young award winner pitched another gem only to watch it be wasted by a slumping Indians lineup which failed to give him any semblance of run support. But then something magical happened – someone actually came through with the big hit to take Cliff off the hook!

The 2-1 Indians win was actually pretty entertaining when consider all of the missed opportunities by the Wahoo attack.  [Read more...]

All-Star Break Analysis – Manager and Front Office

mark-shapiro-eric-wedgeThe TD All-Star Break Analysis rolls on. If you missed any of the prior pieces, they can be found here: Starting Rotation, Bullpen, Position Players I, and Position Players II.

In the final installment of our series, we examine the front office and it’s hand-picked, lock-step manager. It certainly seems a long time ago that Mark Shapiro – the 2007 Executive of the Year, and Eric Wedge – the 2007 AL Manager of the year, were walking on water within the world of Major League Baseball.

Two years is normally not a long time, but in baseball years – it’s an eternity. Two years ago Fausto Carmona was a 19-game winner. Two years ago Joe Borowski was still a viable major league closer. Two years ago the Browns were considered a team on the rise. Two years ago. The Indians were one game away from the World Series.

See what I mean?

Lets start with Mark Shapiro. Stating the obvious, your red-headed General Manager obviously has the constraints of the small market payroll causing his margin for error in player evaluation to be slim. [Read more...]

All-Star Break Analysis – The Position Players Part II

garko Our analysis of the Tribe’s first half continues. Part I of this portion can be found here.

 Shop, Benny, and Garks – If the Tribe was going to take that next step forward in 2009, Kelly Shoppach, Ben Francisco, and Ryan Garko were going to have to prove that they were indeed everyday major leaguers and not just one year wonders. Having the luxury of a backup catcher who led the AL in homers at his position was going to allow Victor Martinez to rest his legs and play more first base. With Franklin Gutierrez now traded, Francisco was being handed the left field job and allowed to move down in the order where he could flourish. Garko was going to play some in the outfield in addition to first base to get his bat in the lineup. After all, Garks did lead the team in RBI’s last season with 90.

Ah, the best laid plans…. [Read more...]

It’s On: Cliff Lee versus Eric Wedge

cliff-lee-eric-wedgeUFC 100 was definitely the attraction for all of those that enjoy hand-to-hand combat.  But one match that should have been pegged for the under card used words as the weapon of choice.  In one corner, Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee.  In the other, Tribe skipper Eric Wedge.

Lee took the hill this weekend in attempt to top the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers and All-Star Edwin Jackson.  Our ace tossed seven innings of five-hit ball, striking out eight while walking only two.  Unfortunately for all involved, the Indians offense mustered one run.  Adding insult to injury, two of the runs that the Tigers plated came on a fly ball to right field – a right field where Ryan Garko happened to be playing.

The ball was brutally misplayed, and the runners scored from first and second after the hitter was credited with a double.  Following the game, the words started to fly. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Mike Brown’s Future, Trading Ryan Garko, and Inking James Davis

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your pleasurable viewing. Have something you think we should see and read about tomorrow? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

danny-ferry-mike-brown 

Hot Seat may be an understatement: “No NBA coach will be under a more unforgiving spotlight or facing more pressure than the Cavaliers’ Mike Brown next season. [...] Brown has to re-tool the offense without top assistant John Kuester, who was named head coach of the rival Detroit Pistons. Brown named Kuester as the team’s offensive coordinator last season, and the Cavs averaged 100 points for the first time in 15 seasons.” [Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer]

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Bizzaro Indians Top White Sox 10-8

White Sox Indians BaseballGames like yesterday’s White Sox-Indians duel are the reason why the baseball season is as long as it is.  Thinking is that the cream rises to the top after a 162-game season.  Fluke wins and overachieving usually reverts to the mean after so long.  And if you don’t think last night was an uncharacteristic victory, you haven’t seen many Indians games this season.

Batting ninth, thanks to a batting average under .200, Kelly Shoppach hit his first career grand slam and finished with five RBI.

And to add a higher level of craziness to the mix, starter David Huff only lasted four and one-third innings after allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs.  This gave Eric Wedge no choice but to turn to one of the worst bullpens since color TV exploded on to the scene. 

What happened from there was nothing short of amazing.

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The Curse of the Moratorium

Yankees Indians BaseballBack on March 26th, I wrote a piece calling for a moratorium on all things related to the Cleveland Browns. The main focus of the piece essentially was the Browns being a circus of an organization, yet getting all of the love, adulation, and passion of the fans of this great city. Meanwhile, I was fawning all over the Cavaliers, Cleveland State Vikings Basketball team, and of course, my Indians.

I finished the piece with the following:

So to all WFNY readers, I implore you, sideline the Browns talk and give your love an attention to the teams who ACTUALLY HAVE A CHANCE to win something. I am speaking of the Cavaliers and the Indians.

And with that, I am here to eat crow. [Read more...]

Honk Shoooooo…. Tribe Drops Another One

White Sox Indians BaseballNot only are your Cleveland Indians a bad baseball team, but they are becoming a complete bore to watch. I feel sorry for guys like Paul Hoynes, Sheldon Ocker, and Jim Ingraham who are forced to not only sit through nine innings of garbage, but the post game autopsy as well every single night. I certainly could think of better ways to spend my summer.

I fancy myself as the Tribe watcher of the WFNY group. So as usual, I settled in for some Wahoo “action” last night. Carl Pavano took the hill trying to recover from his three start nightmare. Leadoff man Scott Podsednik singled, stole second, was moved over to third on a ground out, and singled in by Jermaine Dye. In the second inning with two out and nobody on, Chris Getz doubled and Gordon Beckham’s RBI single made it 2-0. [Read more...]