Friday, July 31, 2009

So Sad.. And a Bad Trade Too

I defended the Cliff Lee deal. I cannot defend the Victor Martinez trade. How do you deal your heart and soul and your leader for a pitcher who could not crack the Red Sox rotation and two prospects? Mark Shapiro can give us the "high-ceiling players" quotes until we are blue in the face, but to not acquire Clay Bucholtz or Daniel Bard or Mike Bowden as a part of this trade is unacceptable. I went to bat for Shapiro earlier this week, but I just cannot back him here. Sure, Victor is probably on the decline a little bit, but this trade smells. Shapiro said today that he woke up not thinking he would make a trade; I do not buy that. This one looks like it comes from the top, and a chance to dump more salary both now and in the future. I do like Masterson, and he better pan out.
As far as Victor goes, he is all man. A warrior and a true leader, unlike some of the soft tissue-like stars that remain on this team. Sad day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Boycott and Benny.. DONE!

It looks like I did not have to wait for Ben Francisco to be benched, he was traded instead. PEACE!!!
The Wahoos continue the house-cleaning today and while I know most of the clueless fan base is posting comments on the internet ripping Mark Shapiro, I commend the ballclub for what it is doing. Here is why:

1. Cliff Lee's trade value will never be higher. He is leaving. You know it and I know it.

2. This organization's gross evaluation of pitching talent over the years has come back to haunt them. It is time to stockpile young arms and see which ones get outs and which ones do not.

3. This season is lost. It has been lost. At least they are admitting their failures and blowing it up to get younger, cheaper, and maybe better. Why pay the likes of Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach? Pointless. Get younger, swallow your pride, and also add some fresh blood. 2007 turned out to be a bit fraudulent.. fine.. good.. ok. Move on.

4. Mark Shagrindo is not done. I hope Victor Martinez stays, but isn't obvious that he will not be here after 2010? If Lou Marson and Carlos Santana both pan out, it gives us options.

5. The best players the Indians have? They have been acquired VIA TRADE. AC, Pronk, Choo, Grady, and even Valbuena all were brought in from other organizations. This is an indictment on the team's drafting, but at least they are now admitting to their mistakes and not overpaying for lousy free agents (Berea) and trying to spin it to fans to "be patient" (Berea).

6. The AL Central is god awful. The Tribe can win it next year. Why Not? The first place team right now has lost 7 straight road series with a monster payroll.


Saturday, July 18, 2009


I am DEAD SERIOUS. This blog is temporarily shutting down. There will be no more entries or articles regarding the Indians UNTIL BEN FRANCISCO IS BENCHED! We here at "Bench Ben Francisco" have had ENOUGH. He sits for at least two straight games and then we will return with more scribbles. Until that time, we boycott! We stand outside of H and H bagels and we protest!

Francisco cannot hit. He is 1 for his last 21 and tonight, with a pair of runners on and two out in the eighth against the M's, he grounded weakly to short. That was the last straw. Your starting left fielder cannot just have a single home run since May 27th. Ours does. Bench Ben Francisco!

Hopefully this website will be up and running with updated columns soon. Until Benny's benching is made official, we say BYE FOR NOW.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stick with the Stick Ownership

It has been a long time since a Cleveland Indian hitter was so feared in an All Star Game that the opposing manager intentionally walked him. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but I laughed a bit when Vic "The Stick" Martinez was given a free pass in the 8th inning of last night's 4-3 AL win over the NL. How can you not love "The Stick"? I watched him handle both Joe Nathan and Mo Rivera with perfection last night and it really made me think: We CANNOT lose this guy.

Martinez is a true Clevelander. He's not pretty, he's sort of a truck when he runs, he is a hard worker, and he loves where he is. Last night, he even had his son in his arms as he was introduced at the mid-summer classic. I loved it. The guy is our leader, and while he may not be very vocal, he is the heart and soul of that clubhouse. Even with his recent struggles, V-Mart is hitting .294 with 14 homers and 59 runs batted in. We saw what happened to this club last season when Martinez got hurt, the RWAB needs him. And Victor says he wants to stay, telling Castro at ""I would like to stay [with Cleveland]," he said, "and hopefully retire as an Indian."

Keep "The Stick". Do whatever it takes. It is pretty obvious that he is the team's most valuable position player and he wants to be here. While Cliff Lee is also a must keep, CP seems to chuck his teammates under the bus and sulks on occasion. I hope he stays too, but you just get a feeling that he doesn't want to be here. With the lack of run support he has received, how can you blame him? I'm just saying that while the crowds are sparse and the organization is about to undergo some major changes, I am asking that someone step forward and commit to Victor.

One more thing. I agree with Terry Pluto of the PD who says that Matt LaPorta needs to be up here and playing left field every day. If they make him a first baseman exclusively, and the brass feels like Carlos "Juelz" Santana is the future behind the plate, what kind of message does that send to Victor? LaPorta should be in left and there should be a spot at first for Martinez down the road. The Indians need to be better in their decision making about placement of players, because the last two seasons have been careless messes with all of these lineups and players playing out of position. This aint "Hot Rod" magazine pal.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Huffin and Puffin'

Seriously. Why couldn't we have just had a nice and easy blowout victory today in Chicago? The Tribe actually jumps all over a White Sock pitcher (a rarity lately) and looks like they are ready to cruise at US Cellular, only to have to squeak out just its 34th win of this putrid season. The Wahoos did a nice job at the plate, taking pitches and working counts against former Coach Carr backup Clayton Richard, and the "Pressure is Off Posse" of Ryan Garko, Kelly Shoppach and Jhon Peralta all swung the bats in the 10-8 win. But, we once again had to watch a former first round pick labor through five innings on the mound. It is getting old.

I've been underwhelmed so far by Dave Huff. The team's first round pick in 2006 is just 24 years of age, I get that, but I just trying to figure out if he will be anything more than a 4th starter. Today, Huff was handed a 9-2 lead, and could not make it out of the fifth. He was charged with 7 earned runs and only struck out two. Other than his dominant performance a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh, Huff has just been okay. His ERA fits in with the rest of the team (6.71) and his velocity also is nothing special. I thought today was a perfect day for him to give the Wahoos some length and battle thru it and he just didn't. I'm gonna be patient with David, but I'm definitely a bit let down by his performance so far. This is par for the course for the team's scouting staff at the college level. Props to the bullpen today. Kerry Wood actually showed some guys and Eric "Grindapalooza" Wedge going to Wood in the 8th for a 2 inning save was a good move. Also great to have the Realtor back. Loves me some Betancourt. He's an Indian, always will be.
I may go for a live grind tomorrow night inside of Comerica Park. We'll see.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mark Shagrindo

"Nothing has changed".

That was the quote yesterday from Tribe GM Mark Shapiro. The red-head kingpin has decided to sink or swim with his man "The Grinder". Eric Wedge and his staff are safe for the remainder of 2009. Ridiculous. Here is my take:

Why would you come out and secure the jobs of an entire coaching staff on July 5? The team actually strings two wins together against a punch and judy A's club and all of the sudden this is the move? I am a supporter of the "Grind" and I like Shapiro, but, this is a huge risk and also a lousy message to the fan base. If you want to guarantee Wedge is safe, fine. But the entire staff? Carl Willis and Derek Shelton both deserve F's on their mid-season report cards for 2009 and newly hired bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez also has flunked his mid-term test. Where is the accountability? Why is Mark so married to Eric or at least to the "entire staff". If this team tanks and loses 100 games, then what?

Shapiro says he wants to eliminate the distractions by making this announcement now. He added that he wants "to make sure there is accountability". Accountability? What a joke. Everyone has failed outside of a few guys and nothing gets done about it Mark! Just because you DFA Luis Vizcaino and Matt Herges doesn't show the fan base that there is accountability. 75 percent of Cleveland fans had never heard of those two guys anyways. Ben Francisco and Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach all keep trotting out there, where is the accountability for them? Demoting Josh Barfield ten times a season to AAA isn't good enough for me. That message is not loud enough for me.

The fans, errr, WE want to see some sort of action! This is the second worst team in baseball with ONE all-star and he isn't performing the last three weeks either! Yet, everyone is safe until the end of the season? On a holiday weekend, with beautiful weather, the Wahoos drew 19,000 fans on Sunday. This cannot make the Dolans very happy. Yet, they are the ones who could have told Shapiro to pursue a "real" left fielder this winter, and they stayed quiet. Just like the stadium yesterday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Message To The Fans: There Is None

My eyes are wide open. I am starting to see it. No longer am I blinded by that red, white, and blue light. I have taken off the red, white, and blue glasses. My Victor and Choo and AC t-shirts remain in my closet. This is a joke. The angry fans and the ones that I have called out in the past for over-complaining about ownership, Shapiro, and of course.. The Grinder.. I join you today. The Cleveland Browns, errrrrr, Indians have become a league wide laughingstock. 3-14 in their last 17 games and nobody does a thing. Nobody throws a tantrum, nobody says "this is unacceptable", nobody gets fired, and you know what? Nobody, then, will come to the ballpark.

The quotes today are about as disgusting as the at-bats. Check out these doozies from this soft group:

"We're in a rut right now," said Wedge.

"After every game, it's quiet," said right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, "but the next day is always a new day. People are joking and laughing during batting practice. We're having fun."

Said Sowers on the sixth, "Thome hit a good pitch. Konerko hit a ball that was probably half a foot off the plate. It was a good piece of hitting. On the pitch to Castro, sometimes you do the right thing and don't necessarily get the appropriate result."

WHAT????? What is this? Where is the leadership? Is someone going to do anything or say anything? Phony rants that are contrived is not the answer, but, the one thing that Jim Leyland has done in Detroit and Ozzie Guillen has done in Chicago, is that they have delivered a message to the fans that losing is not acceptable and they will not stand for it. Apparently, the Wahoos just show up everyday and as Choo says are "having fun". Bulls__t. Total BS man.

If these types of streaks would have popped up in 2007, C.C. Sabathia and Trot Nixon would have put these fires out. In 2009, GM Mark "Foundation Building" Shapiro has put together a leader-less team and his roster is flawed and his decision-making grades out as an "F". In Mark's defense, injuries have been a killer, but he knew last winter that Jake Westbrook and Travis Hafner were not going to be Jake Westbrook and Travis Hafner. He leaned heavily on oft-injured Carl Pavano, Anthony Reyes, and Scott Lewis, and failed to have proper reinforcements in case they went down. Jeremy Sowers is atrocious.. as a starter. How come I know this cat cannot start in the bigs and actually may fit as a middle reliever? Wedge and Shapiro can finish each other's sentences? Well.. how come (Les Levine TM) they cannot finish this one liner: Jeremy Sowers cannot pitch more than.....? Answer: Four Innings! Shappy's bullpen is also a joke and his signing of Kerry Wood was a colossal mis-calculation.

I feel bad for "The G-Man" Chris Gimenez. He is hitting .276 and went 2 for 3 on Monday. Yet, he is not in the lineup on Tuesday or Wednesday. Instead, we get that light and fluffy meal of 4A soup, otherwise known on the menu, as Ben Francisco. ENOUGH. Benny and Ryan Garko everyday? Why? Is ownership this cheap that they do not want to start Michael Brantley's service time? And by the way, anyone check out Columbus' team ERA? 4.66. Dead LAST in the IL.

Make a move today for the fans Shapiro. If you want to fire Chuck Hernandez or Carl Willis, just do it already. Derek Shelton. Somebody has to be held accountable and the fans need to see some action. They are not seeing any action on the field.