Friday, September 28, 2007

Tribe's 07' Offseason Plans

by Ryan Plungas

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but usually at this time of year I post my Tribe offseason plans. It has become an annual tradition here at the end of September. It is the only thing us as Cleveland fans have…HOPE. It has become such a habit. I simply cannot get through the work day without gazing out the window, or up at the STERIS half burnt out light above my desk that has me slowly turning into Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver", and thinking about what the future holds for me Cleveland sports teams (and on occasion, my beloved WWE-- how could they let HHH/Vinnie Mac stroke their egos on live TV every Monday, why is Shelton Benjamin not a bigger star, why do they not push Mr. Kennedy more…he's got that Stone Cold "it" factor going on, he's ready for the "LEAP"…, why do they destroy the Tag Team division, why was Great Khali champion, how does Bob Holly still have a job, how could they let Brock Lesnar walk away and NOT come back, same for Kurt Angle, why do they bury ALL their young talent, etc? Oh, and I think about my Buckeyes. This is literally 93% of the things that pass through my mind on a daily basis…that's all I have going on up there). But what does the Tribe do? They go and make the playoffs! Single-handedly rendering my annual "What the Tribe should do in the Offseason" column useless. The future is now! Hope is Here! Thanks a lot, guys. But you know what? Fuck it, I'm doing the column anyway. So here goes…

Would any of you be in favor of going after 3B Miguel Cabrera in the offseason? He has about roughly 9 million left on his contract that runs through 2009. He has top 5 talent (I'm talking overall in MLB), but some weight issues. Questionable attitude. He may clash with Wedge (**Ahem**considering Wedgie doesn't like Dominican/Puerto Rican/Venezuelian or Black guys**Ahem**). However, there is no doubt in my mind that Miggy and Victor Martinez may be related in some way, possibly brothers. Just imagine the wacky handshake they'd implement after every HR and victory walk. It would be amazing, something that can have its own baseball tonight segment covered by an ecstatic Orestes Estrada (just NOT Fernando Vina, ok). There is always a possibility for a reality TV show covering their day-to-day misadventures in the City (their restaurant adventures would be particularly intriguing, as I'm curious to see what plump Miggy eats). "Latino's Lives in Cleveland"...tell me ABC wouldn't pick this up for their summer lineup--at the VERY least STO would (imagine Al Palowski, in a suit, following them around with a TV crew). Who wouldn't watch this? Anyway...

Would you do one of these two packages :

SP Adam Miller (who I'm cooling on…A LOT), SP David Huff, OF Ben Francisco & OF Nick Weglarz


SP Jeremy Sowers, SP Chuck Lofgren, OF Trevor Crowe, & 1B Stephen Head (or 1B Matt Whitney)

Remember, you do still have 3B Wes Hodges (23 yrs old) who just hit .288 BA/15 HR/71 RBI/186 Total bases/ .367 OBP with a 44-90 BB-K ratio in just his FIRST full season in minors in Class A Kinston (actually, not even a full season, just 393 AB's). Ideally, he's our 3B of the future, and should be up in the big leagues by 2009, 2010 latest…

So, maybe we rent Miggy Cabrera for 2 seasons (2008 & 2009), 1 season AT LEAST with CC in the rotation (on a side note, I'm getting real real giddy about 2008--its gonna be special as well), and then let Cabrera walk after the 2009 season. Hopefully, we can just slot Wes Hodges into that 3B slot then, and use the money we let from allowing Miggy (and CC) to walk and allocate it to other area of needs to fill a few spots via FA (ex. Starting Pitching, Power OF).

2008 Lineup would look like this:
CF Grady Sizemore
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
DH Travis Hafner
3B Miguel Cabrera
C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
SS Jhonny Peralta
RF Franklin Gutierrez
LF Casey Blake/David Dellucci

Pretty badass.

SP Carmona
SP Westbrook
SP Lee
SP Sowers/Adam Miller…whomever you DIDN'T trade away

Then, we would just have to spend offseason FA money on a Closer & Middle Reliever (maybe a #4 or #5 starter if Lee doesn't return to form)

If not Cabrera, maybe we can net Adam Dunn to put in LF this offseason? I hate that he strikes out so damn much, but he also walks a ton. And his power #'s cannot be ignored. 40 HR's is 40 HR's.

Would a package of:

SP Chuck Lofgren, OF Ben Francisco, Of Brad Snyder (and/or 3B Andy Marte) be enough?

But the big shark out there for us would be Carl Crawford. But Tampa has repeatedly said thy're not selling on him. For all intents and purposes, it seems to be true. But damn, would Crawford look PERFECT in LF. Right next to Grady in Center and Goot in right.

Check this out:

LF Carl Crawford
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
CF Grady Sizemore
DH Travis Hafner
C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
SS Jhonny Peralta
RF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Casey Blake

What I would do, is try Barfield again at 2nd, move Drubby to SS, and slow Peralta to 3rd. Use Casey as your ultimate utility guy, a PERFECT role for him (he can fill in at 3rd, LF, RF or 1st). So many options.

Holy god am I excited for 2008. DO NOT stand pat, Mr. Shapiro. 2008 is our year for the taking, a great opportunity to nab a World Series ring.

That's not to say 2007 is over. Yet. I'm just prepping myself for the inevitable (a 2007 World Series ring?)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cavs 07-08" Offseason Plans

by Ryan Plungas

Anybody catch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" on FX last night? Just a terrific, wacky show. Last night's episodes may have been a little too over the top wacky, but still much better than most crap on TV. Its been often refered to as "Seinfeld on crack". Pretty accurate.

Really, really bored at the office today. Until this thought crossed my mind within the last 10 minutes, and I don't know what to think…

Well, if Danny Ferry is going to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING this offseason, might as well look forward to next offseason with the hope for change (that is all Clevelanders have nowadays). But first some things need to fall into place during our 07-08' season. Bare with me.

I'm kind of secretely hoping that LeBron James has a nagging injury this year (nothing serious or long-term), but just enough to make him miss 40 or more games and sabotage the 07-08' campaign and get us into the lottery. Call me crazy, but here's my rationale:

We haven't done diddilly-poo this offseason, including not signing Andy or Sasha (we still haven't done this, do you think Danny Ferry forgot that their not under contract? You would think Lance Blanks would bring this to his attention by now). We are so cap strapped for the next 2 years, the ONLY ways to improve our roster is through trade or the draft. Well, we didn't have a pick this past year (thanks Jim Paxson) and we don't have nearly enough tradeable assets (sorry Ira Newble, and the Contract of David Wesley, not even him as a person, but his ACTUAL contract...that's what's being floated around to tempt other teams) to land a top tier Impact player (ala KG)…although I think we can still net a Jose Calderon type player if Danny Ferry got a bit creative. So the draft is our only option. And our biggest need is PG…

So, let's "tank" the season to get into the lottery. By "tanking", I mean struggle to a 24-22 record at the outset, have LeBron then go down with a Seperated (Left) Shoulder, ala D-Wade, have him miss the next 22 games, have us rip off a nice 6-16 stretch to firmly entrench us in the lottery, LeBron battles back to play the final 14 games and have us make a run at the #8 spot which we are only 3 games back of a struggling Knicks team, LeBron plays 3 games but realizes he's not 100% yet (we lose all 3), LBJ makes the executive decision to shut it down the rest of the season, and we finish out the season at a 2-9 clip giving us a solid 33-49 record and ensuring us a top 8 pick, w/ an outside shot at 1.

In the meantime, Shannon Brown avg. 10 ppg taking many of LeBron's minutes, Boobie avgs.a solid 16 PPG, becoming the team's leading scorer in LeBron's absence, Sasha's defense continues to improve as his offense stays solid, and Larry Hughes misses 30 games and is still useless. The young guys are continuing to improve, but the main reason we're losing all these (close) games is because of lack of bench depth (w/ LBJ and Hughes out).

On the brightside, we get a lottery pick and a realistic shot at 3 potential franchise players in a Lottery-HEAVY draft with PG Derrick Rose (from Memphis), SG (and all world scorer) Eric Gordon (from Indiana), and PF Michael Beasley (from K-State). He!!, maybe even we take a look at highly touted PF Kevin Love (from UCLA). We have LeBron's future #2 guy, to go along w/ Shannon Brown and Boobbie Gibson who made great strides in the season, and he realizes this and will sign another 6 year deal w/ us after the 09-10' season. Not too mention, that E-Snow, Z, and Damon Jones' contracts will be coming off the books after the 08-09' season, and Hughes' albatross contract after the 09-10 season, which will allow us to sign an IMPACT Max player to be LeBron's 2A (preferable a Big man…Amare Stoudemire or Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum will finally be coming into his own?) and a SOLID Starter as well (maybe a defensive stopper or 3pt shooter, but both at an all-star type level considering the Cap room we will have).

So there you go, its not all "stuck in the mud" with the Cavs. We can look forward to 2010-2011 season when the Cavs will begin their Championship run, w/ a mature LeBron at the wheel, just like Jordan's Bulls circa 96-98.

We just need LeBron to have a season-ending Injury! And all will be good.