You may remember the other day that I joked about Johnny Damon riding into the stadium on a white horse to save the offense. That day has finally arrived. Well, Damon has arrived; I will make no promises as to the accuracy of the rest of that fantasy.
Tonight against the White Sox, Johnny Damon will join the Indians. He was expected to have a brief stop in Triple-A after his stint in extended spring training, but will instead come directly to the major league club. Since he’s not officially on the roster, someone will have to be removed in order to free up space for him. I joked on Twitter that I was predicting a DFA of Jose Lopez, mainly because of the fact that we never see him anyway. There are obviously other options the Tribe could take; I’m not even sure if ditching Lopez is the move I’d make. I just think that’s what the Indians will choose to do in the end.
I’ve been thinking recently that if I’d managed to perfect the flux capacitor, the 2007 version of me could travel into the future and see an Indians roster that included Derek Lowe, Johnny Damon, and Ubaldo Jimenez. I’d be pretty pumped about that. Too bad that it’s not 2007 anymore, and that Lowe and Damon are still decent enough, but not exactly the younger versions of themselves.
So what happens if I lose patience with Damon, or any of the other portions of the offense? Do we have a stable of white horses stashed somewhere, that we could use to continually funnel new players onto the field? (I’m picturing the horses running in that door in the outfield wall that the hot dogs run through).
Here are some additional white horse scenarios, if Damon doesn’t fulfill our wildest fantasies:
- Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Matt LaPorta is just mashing down at Columbus. He was even named player of the week from April 23-29 as he hit .524 with 2 homers, including 4 multi-hit games. He’s hitting .368 on the year with 6 home runs. It seems like there’s a point in each of the past few seasons where someone says, “Wow, Matt LaPorta is mashing at Triple-A…I hope we see him in Cleveland soon.” He may be due for another chance at some point in the near future. Who knows if this will be the time he finally seems to figure out major league pitching (particularly the off-speed stuff), but he may be approaching another opportunity. White horse scenario - Casey Kotchman continues to look terrible at the plate and LaPorta rides in and finally claims the position as his own. Fans forgive his iffy defense, because he’s hitting .300 with a bunch of homers.
- If we’re going to stick with the highly-touted first round pick that never quite panned out theme, I should probably mention Trevor Crowe. He’s battled a lot of injuries over the past few years, but he’s also off to a nice start in Columbus, hitting .317/.389/.508 with 2 home runs. I’m still not fully sold on Michael Brantley as a lead off hitter, and Crowe could definitely fill that role. There are two problems with Crowe – he also seems to have the same problem as LaPorta, in that he is excellent in the minors and struggles once he gets to Cleveland. He’s also no longer on the 40-man roster, so they’d need to designate yet another player in order to make room for him. I’m half afraid that with Crowe’s bad luck with injuries, they’d cut someone and add him to the 40-man, only to see him injured. White horse scenario - The outfield suffers from injuries again this year, and Crowe uses the opportunity to fight his way back onto the roster. He stays healthy and plays well at the major league level, and fans are less annoyed by the fact that the Indians passed over (also injury prone) Jacoby Ellsbury in the 2005 draft.
Wild card: Russ Canzler. I’m still not sure what to make of Canzler. He has some incredible games at Columbus (like April 21 when he went 5 for 6) but still seems a little uneven. From what I’ve read, his defense has been a bit sloppy and error-prone recently as well. Canzler has yet to hit any home runs at Triple-A, so he may not be a candidate to help the Indians overcome their power outage at the plate.
So what are your back-up fantasy scenarios? I considered Lonnie Chisenhall for one, but I heard he’s on the 7-day DL with a calf injury.