Monday, June 29, 2009
(Thanks to Waiting For Next Year for the photo).
The clock is ticking here in Cleveland. The late honey-moon of last season is over after the wonderful playoff parade in 2007 happened. This was going to be year the Tribe were really the sleepers, again. Well sitting in last place with our heads in our faces doesn't seem very promising. Derosa trade done and dusted. White flag up and our doors are wide open for the 29 other GM's to come and speculate who is available to deal.
Let the rumors begin. And thanks to ESPN the ball is rolling. Start up the rumor of Victor to Boston, again. Cliff Lee, have fun pitching somewhere else. I don't think either of these will happen, but I'm sure ESPN will love to dream up these rumors.
What needs to happen:
7 years, 1 playoff appearance. Wedge has done plenty of good things for the club, mostly fostering young talent and helping in the community. But only one of those helps the on field progression of the club. Even in 2003 when he was appointed he had trouble managing his pitchers. I gave it about 2 years before he'd catch on. It's 2009, and he still makes baffling choices. Granted, this year more than ever he's not really had many great choices to choose from.
Could I manage our pitchers better than Eric? Probably not, no. But there has got to be a learning curve? As said before, there hasn't been much talent in the 'pen for Wedge to go to. Wood hasn't been what we envisioned. The majority of the rest of the staff has underperformed or just performed to their average, however you want to look at it.
Taking that into consideration, the Tribe's Pythagorean Wins and Loss Record is 36-41. 5 Games under .500. Good for about 7 games out of first place. A lofty, yet reachable goal; especially in this division. That's quite a bit of dumb luck to have not gone our way. If we continue to play the way we've played in the second half of the last two years, there is a slim chance the Tribe could make a push. It'd be awesome if it happens to get the fans excited about the team and getting more people at the empty park.
Now Shapiro believes that this is just a stutter in his Master Plan™. And to be honest to him and his resume with the Tribe so far, I believe it. His worst deal so far has been Brandon Phillips to Cincy. Lately he's dropped the ball with some of his Free Agent signings...Dellucci, Kobayashi, Wood (to an extent). And I don't think I've ever been excited about his high round draft picks. Except Sowers, but I'm biased on him. So I'll give Mark a pass, he's earned it.
Or has he? What about that contract that looms on our heads in the form of Travis Hafner? What is the deal with those injuries over the last few seasons? That huge power surge from 05-07 and then silence for awhile. Rumors swirled that it could have been attributed to steroids, I'm on the fence about it. He's always been a big dude, but that sharp decline, at least to me, sets off a red-flag. What do we do with a guy who is going to be owed nearly 10+ million a year until 2013! For the lack of his playing time lately and the fact that the guy is useless in the field, we are paying a shitload of cash for a DH. We are not New York(s), Boston, or LAA. We are a mid-level market team. While I wouldn't mind seeing Hafner being dealt, I don't know what we'd get. Also, even though he doesn't play often, the runs he'd produce would not be able to come from somewhere else in the lineup. At least not this year.
The only thing I know is that 2009 has not been kind to the Tribe. So with that said, what now for the Tribe? Does Eric Wedge really deserve to be fired?