It’s happening again. Like clockwork, folks are out connecting the unlikely dots.
Over and over and over again, it’s baseball’s reenactment of Groundhog Day starring pretty much every baseball writer on the planet. Be it a recognizable big-shot or a relatively anonymous hack (for once, not yours truly), they all just take turns instead of it being Bill Murray being stuck all alone in the purgatorial loop.
It’s an easy tactic to throw to the sharks who eat the rumors up no matter for far-fetched. Somehow, we keep falling for it.
Following Monday’s stunning news of Stephen Strasburg signing a mega-extension with the Nationals, the focus then quickly shifted towards the summer trade market with the presumed crown jewel of the off-season free-agent class now unattainable.
Danny Salazar‘s name has been mentioned as a potentially available asset. It’s a talking head’s rite of passage at this point and it sometimes feels as if the national baseball media is just dying to get him somewhere other than Cleveland.
Yeah, he sorta stunk yesterday, in striking out ten, but walking an unsightly six Astros in five innings. But that was a game that was ugly on both sides. Considering how early the Astros could have, and should have, made yesterday’s 16-inning marathon of awfulness the usual nine innings, we saw a maturing pitcher. The younger Danny would’ve tried to blaze his way out of trouble and would’ve gotten destroyed in the process.
Here’s the thing: If Danny was going anywhere, he likely would’ve been gone already before he started scratching the surface of his prime. The Indians are reaping the benefits early on from that potential this season, where he’s been nothing short of excellent, save for a couple starts; yesterday included.
Let’s not forget the old mantra of never having enough pitching. Well, let’s look at some of the options if Salazar were to be shipped elsewhere at the moment: Cody Anderson is not fooling anybody and is in the rotation simply because there is a spot open because of Carlos Carrasco‘s injury that will keep him out until June if all goes well. The fact that Anderson lasted as long in his appearance yesterday without blowing the game immediately to the surprise of everyone kind of tells where he sits in the court of opinion. Trevor Bauer remains largely the same bewildering enigma he seemingly always has been, Tuesday’s dominance excepted. And, woebegone TJ House, likely a candidate to start one of the games of the doubleheader in Chicago on May 23, has so far had a season that would make anyone think about signing up for a lobotomy.
What, do you wanna put Zach McAllister back in the rotation after he’s finally found a role suitable for him? Pfffffffffffffft…
Simply put, the Indians would take a major hit from all sides if they were to give up on Salazar. Monday night notwithstanding, the threesome of Corey Kluber, a healthy Carrasco and Salazar arguably is among the best in the game. It just doesn’t make sense unless the bottom falls out on the season. And with the team’s relative inactive winter, they are implying that they’re ready to contend deep into October.
Maybe some poor and desperate GM with a “Playoffs or Bust” edict offers to sell the farm, but that’s even less likely. The Indians’ asking price would be so rightfully ridiculous that getting past the pleasantries on the phone would be a stretch. There are no George Steinbrenner types willing to do something crazy anymore. His sons are seemingly boring and level-headed in a baseball sense. Who would’ve thought that? So there is no fair trade to be had that is strictly fortuitous for the Tribe.
(But you know how this organization loves the “can’t-miss” prospects. If there’s a Mike Trout, Version 2.0 to be had…hmm… Nah, chances are better that the Indians would get snookered into getting a new and improved Andy Martaaaaaaaaake me out of this nightmare line of thought, please?)
Strasburg’s deal may have thrown a wrench into the supposed clear Hot Stove picture, but that’s why smarty-pants general managers are where they are. They can figure out the tricky detours of contingency plans. But Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff can put a sign up on their door that will tell other teams to keep going down the shopping aisle if they come calling.
Writers have throw stuff out in the open to get read, but he’s ours and will be for a long time to come. Don’t fall for the click-bait.
Other than here, of course.