Can bubbles really kill?
Yes, if you read Fu Manchu or James Bond novels. Or if you are the 2012 Cleveland Indians.
Last week the Indians beat Justin Verlander and took 2 of 3 from the Tigers to regain relevance in the AL Central and become buyers at the Trade Deadline. Then they went 0-3 in a lost weekend in Minnesota and looked a lot more like Sellers, bolluxed by that Trade/Not Trade Bubble, only 5 games out of first on paper but miles behind Detroit and Chicago. So, what to do?
The answer came late near the Deadline bell when the team acquired Lars Anderson, Boston’s version of Cleveland’s annual disappointment Matt LaPorta. Heady stuff, that. But what sane person among us would bet what’s left of their 401(k) the Indians make the playoffs, anyway.
The current Tribe is a team with few margins for error, like one of those annoying soft tossers/nibblers who are afraid to get the ball over the plate for fear of what might happen. Risk averse, say some. Winning averse, say others. Most of us know the status quo and a band aid will not get us home yet that is what we got.
The Rumor Mill claimed the Indians floated and received interest in Choo, Chris Perez and Masterson. When other teams did the talking, mostly they just wanted Vinnie Pestano. Trades only make sense if the return or the payment make sense so maybe no trade this Deadline was the best trade. Or maybe false hope is really only false pretense?
His value was highest now since he leaves town after next season and he could help a contender win NOW. Also, it is unlikely the Tribe grows a replacement for RF in the next year so presumably a trade would have brought back a young replacement. Next year his salary will increase from $4.9 M to around $8.0 M so the clock ticks on this one (salary up, value down).
Probably also at peak value based on performance but under club control through 2014. The big difference is the Indians have Pestano as a potential replacement so a trade would likely not hit the lineup as hard. But keep in mind Pestano (like many other effective set up guys) is no lock as a closer as he’s just 3 for 8 in save situations.
His inconsistent season is a real disappointment after the promise and effectiveness of last year. We still see glimpses but his mechanics seem off and at times he looks like he simply can not control his location. This would have been a dangerous trade for 2 reasons: (1) he’s not at full value (full performance) and (2) we have no one else. If Masterson is traded for prospects and Jimenez leaves (as he can) after 2013, we have no rotation beyond McAllister.
Under club control through 2016. Simply too valuable and no compelling reason to trade.
The Indians were never in on any of the big fish. But the Marlins traded RH 1B Gaby Sanchez to the Pirates for a light hitting OF (Gorkys Hernandez, career 2 for 24) and a competitive balance draft pick. This is the kind of low cost/possibly high reward deal the Indians should have pursued. Sanchez was an All Star in 2011 and could be a .280/20/90 guy. Instead, we went after LaPorta II.
Patience may be a virtue. But how long do we have to wait to find out?