It seems like there is no consensus feeling amongst media types when it comes to all things concerning the Indians. This week’s example is former Major League Baseball Executive of the Year, Jim Bowden.

After recent teases that saw the team get off to strong starts only to fall off the cliff midway through the season, it’s easy to see why so few outside of the Indians’ fanbase (and if you buy into the usual attendance arguments, possibly many within it) are seeing the current perch atop the AL Central as nothing more than another fa├žade; a speedbump before Detroit clearly asserts themselves with the widely-presumed divisional stranglehold.

The good starts, including this season’s, have deduced the Indians to effectively being the boy (or boys) who cried wolf. And sometimes that can lead to ridiculous hyperbole; such as Bowden calling for the Indians for to wave the proverbial white flag by selling. Now. Again. And in doing so, effectively erasing and wasting every reason and effort of the the past off-season, which includes the hiring of Terry Francona and signings of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.

Why? Because the outside perception is that the team is perpetually doomed to fail, now and forevermore. The team’s existence simply to be a virtual outpost feeding system for the big boys.

So, let’s see here: Baseball wonders why the Indians don’t spend a bit outside of their normal constraints to show a commitment to, at worst, try to win, and they get scoffed at. Now they do just that, and it should be torn down? Some people need to pull a Champ Kind occasionally and sit things out for a while.

And then there’s this, which he extols Antonetti’s off-season work, which pretty much cancels out everything he said in his infamous column. So who knows what he actually thinks.

I certainly don’t. All I know is that I can’t stand it when people talk out of both sides of their mouths. Page hits are one thing. Being a loquacious troll is entirely another.

Ironically, Bowden’s columns are ESPN Insider exclusives, so it’s almost as if he feels he can get away with saying anything (unless you pay for it), no matter how ridiculous it sounds on the surface. The Indians haven’t been anywhere near the favorites of the ESPN baseball braintrust for several years now (go ahead and cue the Keith Law Bias-Cat), because they haven’t deserved the respect. But proceeding with the funeral before they even have the sniffles? That’s not an “opinion” in my eyes. That’s being paid for pulling stuff out of the air and hoping it comes true so you can pat yourself on the back later.

Nobody will debate that the Indians have a lot of proving to do, especially in the pitching department. But if the Indians are to do just that, they can’t give up until they’re certain they’re done and out of contention. They have to start somewhere, and the building that they are attempting will never be anywhere close if they aren’t given a chance to continue and sustain the process of doing so.




  • Adam Hintz says:

    Ironically, I think the Indians front office SHOULD listen to offers for Cabrera. He’s cheap, he’s still young, he’s talented, and he’s going to be obsolete in Cleveland in about 18 months. I don’t think there’s any way this happens, but if you can package Cabrera and Bauer (plus a draft pick) to Tampa for two years of David Price, you do that, don’t you? It’s contingent on a couple things, such as Aviles being able to hold down SS for the rest of 2013 and then being a stopgap next year, but that’s the kind of deal you look to make.

    But selling talent for prospects? No way, Jimmy B. That’s why you’re writing for ESPN and not sitting in a General Manager’s office.

    • Chris Burnham says:

      As long as the deal makes sense. And with Lindor knocking on the door, it’s a lot more palatable. But I doubt Tampa would bite.

      But what Bowden is proposing is another house-cleaning which…for what exactly? To continue being a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachieving? Have we sunk so far that our ceiling is nothing more than being Royals East?

      Bleh. I don’t like it.

  • Swift says:

    I’m not going to become an “ESPN Insider” (whatever that means) to read this piece, but it just sounds too moronic for words.

  • The Doctor says:

    i know i’m going to get a lot of disagreement, but i find his suggestion that we trade chris perez for a young, controllable starter to be a great one. problem is, would anyone really make this trade? he suggests detroit as a trade partner, which would seem to indicate some sort of delusion and/or drug use on his part, if he thinks we’re going to trade our closer within the division while we’re duking it out for 1st place.

    on a side note, over the years it’s been hysterical to read the espn rumor mill section (which also requires espn insider). anytime the yankees or red sox suffer an injury, a hypothetical trade inevitably gets floated in which cleveland is trading its best players for has-beens or never-weres.

    the number of times i saw choo get floated as a possibility in boston or new york over the course of his indians career was hilarious (typical scenarios had him being traded for multiple “meh” relievers who couldn’t hack it as starters, and then some “prospect” that wasn’t sniffing anywhere near the organization’s top 20 list).

  • Steve Alex says:

    Bowden is a stat geek who gets paid by ESPN to render interesting opinions as an analyst. He’s been bashing the Indians since January, so this is nothing new. There is some merit to the idea of turning the good play of one-year guys like Reynolds into more building blocks by trading them, but it ignores the human aspect of what the team is trying to do right now. That doesn’t show up on a stat sheet, so I wouldn’t expect Bowden to know anything about that. If the Indians collapse, several players will be dealt for prospects. If they contend, they will be buyers. Simple. They won’t trade guys away if they are over .500 and in 2nd place in July.

  • Sean Porter says:

    If Bowden had wrote this about any other team I honestly think most of you would have thought the piece to be a well-thought-out argument. Since it was about the Tribe, well….

    If any other team had a better-than-average offense (if not an inconsistent at times one) but a rotation that consisted of Masterson, McAllister, Kazmir, Jimenez, Kluber/Myers I also honestly think that most of you would say “that’s a decent team that will hang around for awhile, but most likely will fade because of their rotation that’s weak after the top two. That team should consider being sellers by the deadline to help their rotation long-term…” But once again, since Bowden was writing about the Tribe, well…

    I hope he’s dead-wrong, but cannot blame him for forming his opinion. Bowden had a lot of positive things to say about the team, but he feels that it still needs work. I think its a solid assessment of the Tribe in ’13.

    • Chris Burnham says:

      I don’t doubt that it’s thought out. But his insistence that it should be ripped up before it starts? That doesn’t make a lot of sense now, does it?

      • Sean Porter says:

        I don’t think that’s what he meant Chris – its not like he’s saying trade everyone and rebuild. I think that he believes that while the Indians have some good pieces and there’s a lot to like about the team, they aren’t a finished product. If they are not in contention in late July, they should consider trading Cabrera and Perez (two players nearing free agency, at positions of depth who should be able to net a nice return)…

        At least that’s what I took from his article (which if you look into the replies you’ll find me backing Bowden up actually) and logically, I can’t disagree with him. See how the team goes for the next month+, then access if this squad is a legit contender, or one that needs that little “push” to make it a legit contender for the next few years.

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