Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not About the Cavs

by Ryan Plungas

Since most of the national pundits seem to be telling us we should be dreading this upcoming Cavs season (I'm looking at you Bill Simmons...not even making the playoffs? In the East? You know we still have LeBron, right?), I will not be discussing that "horrible" team any time soon.


However, something very interesting came out today. Curt Schilling, on his blog, stated the teams that he would view as possible destinations as a Free Agent. The 1st team mentioned on the list? Yup, the Cleveland Indians.

At first I was like, "Nah, no need for him. He's gonna be too expensive, and not what he used to be." But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. He's basically like a "rich man's Paul Byrd" (without the HGH) at this point in his career. Will cost a lot more than Byrd, but just imagine his clutch performances in the postseason…it's worth it.

You can slot Schill in as our #4 starter, for chrissakes. How solid would that be? I'd imagine he'd cost us 9-10 million a year, so sign him to a 2-yr deal with a Club Option for a 3rd. Would he do that (2 yrs/20 mill)? We decline Byrd's option, trade away Lee, and that will save us around 6 million, so really its 4 Million that we'd be extending to Schill. Dolan said that when we show we can contend, and the fans come out, he'll open up his checkbook. Let's walk the walk, Mr. Dolan.

Not only would Schill be a better option on the field but he's so outspoken as a clubhouse leader, that he would be comparable to the type of influence that Byrdie was. Schill, to me, is one of those guys that you hate when he's on the opposition but absolutely love if he's on your team. There's no denying the media impact he'll have, notably in the national spotlight…this guy could single-handedly get us the respect and attention we've been looking for from ESPN & FOX. You know FOX would just love to talk about Curt Schilling & the Cleveland Indians next year in October. ESPECIALLY if we're playing the Red Sox, or even the Yanks. Ok, only if we're playing the Red Sox or the Yanks. But I could see them making parrallels to Schilling helping break the Red Sox curse, and now breaking the 60-year "Curse of Rocky Colavito". Schilling would revel in the spotlight.

Just imagine this starting rotation:
CC Sabathia
Fausto Carmona
Jake Westbrook
Curt Schilling
Jeremy Sowers/Adam Miller/Aaron Laffey

Shorten that up in the postseason to the top 4, and that's a better rotation than this year's version. Add to that the calming effect & postseason experience/confidence that Schill could attempt to instill in CC & Fausto, and that'd be worth the 10 mill right there.

What about a Schilling injury? Isn't that inevitable? Sure. Probably would happen in late-May and be out till late-July. That would be great, because in that time we'd finally call up Adam Miller to see what he's got, and then hopefully help groom him for a long-relief role for the playoffs ala Jon Lester & Phil Hughes thsi past October.

What do you guys think about Schilling?

The other move I'd make is that deal for Jason Bay. Preferably I'd like to trade a Cliff Lee (no way Pirates are doing that deal) or Jeremy Sowers (possible, but not sure I'd give up on him quite yet) plus a position player like Ben Francisco. I'd also like to shift Jhonny Peralta to 3rd, use Casey as the ultimate utility guy, move Drubby to SS, and give Barfield a chance at 2B. But that makes waaaay too much sense. So, the answer may be to package Jhonny in that deal for Bay. Jhonny & a middle tier pitching prospect (David Huff?) for Jason Bay? Is Jhonny & Ben Francisco too much for Bay?

We also need to sign a middle to late-inning relief guy. Octavio Dotel comes to mind.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An American in Paris...err...London

********************************************Disclaimer*******************************************
What follows is an absolute cornucopia of ignorance and non tolerance, the writer is a well known idiot in many circles throughout the midwest. Please read with caution if you choose to proceed.


"What the fuck? The NFL in London, England? You have to be fucking kidding me" This is a direct quote taken from myself last week when I realized that the event was finally going to happen over the weekend. First off, let me say...this absolutely sickens me. It is a slippery slope here my friends, and it is all part of the good commissioners plan to make the NFL a global commodity. Teams from everywhere and games everywhere. Give me a Goddamn break.

First off let's start with England. They were and are a great ally to this country as far as wars go, and we thank them by backing their global campaigns as well. However, this is AMERICAN football, a sport that is surely the second if not becoming are preeminent national pastime. Especially in England where the game of cricket (yes thats right cricket) is a favorite of locals, they drink tea and eat crumpets, they gave us: Simon Cowell (who may have been one of the worst dictators in the history of the world if he had been born in any of the previous centuries), the Spice Girls, and of course David Beckham...who they conveniently dumped on the U.S. David Beckham is damaged goods and yet I am forced to see this wash up on adidas commercials almost daily.

In England, the most revered sport is their football which of course in this country is referred to as soccer. Watching soccer is like a mixture of watching the grass grow and your Uncle Ned tell his favorite stories of boyhood while growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River. In this country, soccer is played until you are about the age of 7 or 8. At that point you realize one of two things: (1) you are ready to commit yourself to a life of heterosexuality or (2) other sports exist. I'll admit it, I played roughly 4 glorious years of soccer and then an amazing thing happened...I discovered football and basketball...two sports grinded out in American playgrounds all over. Ask yourself, when was the last time you witnessed children playing a pick up game of soccer. I am not willing to share one of my favorite sports with a country who will label it as a second form of football. If any of you are willing to do so...I ask that you promptly renounce your citizenship and seek refuge in another country.

Now, to the slippery slope argument. No sport is seriously considering giving Vegas a team, and there are many other deserving American cities that could use an NFL team before we go abroad. First London...then what. How about Tijuana, Mexico...so when I go to visit I can bang a hooker, catch a donkey show, do some blow thats been cut roughly between 13-14 times, and then maybe catch my beloved Browns take on the Tijuana Banditos...and if we win, maybe leave the stadium with a butterfly knife sticking out of my throat. Or maybe we can go even further abroad. How about trading for that wonderful receiver El Hami Ramel Ketal Khaminjiad from the Pakistani squad? It will be a cold day in hell when I tune in to watch the Super Bowl live from the banks of the Nile in Cairo, Egypt at 5:30 a.m. on a monday morning.


While on the subject I am still angry that we commissioned MLB and NBA teams in Canada. I have met several Canadians through going to Bowling Green and playing online poker. Most of them are quick to tell me that they have a problem with U.S. foreign policy, and that we are cowboys. Damn right I am a fucking cowboy, like a Dallas Cowboy not a Winnipeg Cowyboy, like Yankee Doodle fucking Dandee riding on his pony not Sasketchawan Sam riding on his Moose. Why give these countries a chance to embrace something we hold so sacred that they may in fact reject? I understand from the media that London had a fairly good turn out for the Dolphins-Giants but there is a simple answer to that...it is exotic...it is like the first time you ever ate Greek food, or the first time you spanked it to transsexual Indian Porno (Williams...) after a few times you go back to a good old hamburger or a little Bangbus.com. It is not b/c you are mot willing to try new things, but it is because it whats you know, what you are used to, a custom, you love it.

The U.S. already sticks our nose into enough problems that we don't need to (and we are ultimately resented for it). Why create another failure (see NFL Europe) that never needs to happen? Let's keep the
NFL where it belongs: in the United States of America...and while we are at it build a gigantic wall around the whole country so we don't "oppress" our values on others and reduce the chance of absorbing values from another country.

Hows that for the melting pot theory? Hey, I am a ham and cheese kind of guy.


This is not the views of this blog. It is a paid advertisement for drunken and vicodin fueled ramblings. The Wire takes no responsibility for the views of this post or any other post in the future that may contain similar theories. This is pure satire...although to some it may seem like a fountain of wisdom.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

ps my keyboard is a little messed up so excuse the typos

Finally, the Circle is Complete

To Whom It May Concern:

My story is a harrowing tale of both courage and strength. I was born on the border or Ashtabula and Geauga Counties on a stormy day in a manger. I was wrapped in swaddling clothes and visited by three wise men that bore gifts including cigarettes, kamchatka vodka, and a quarter pounder from McDonalds. At the tender age of four I was moved from my comfortable surroundings and forced to live in tough and rumble streets of Timberlake, Ohio (nestled conveniently between Willowick and Eastlake). Finally, I was enrolled at St. Justin Martyr and became the third greatest athlete in school history behind (1) Jason Battung and (2) Joe Jurevicius. At last I had developed into a CYO legend, and was a big part in the 7th grade upset that drove Jeffrey and Algirdas Budrys to tears.Thanks to the Cleveland Catholic School Voucher program I opted to use the welfare system to attend Lake Catholic High School on the upper east side of Mentor, Ohio. There, I flourished as an amazing power forward under the tutelage of the brothers Benek as well as Toys R’ Us favorite son Robert Forrai; Had it not been for the dazzling talents of Luke Smrdel, Damian Blakely, and ever so smooth Patrick Kearns (let’s goooo!) as well as some untimely ankle injuries, I might be writing this post as a 5th year NBA veteran. Unfortunately, instead I write this as I enter my 19th straight year of education.

Here is my summation of Cleveland Sports: I grew up on the shores of Erie...in the land of Cleveland. The home of the catch, red right 88, the drive, the fumble, the shot, the 95 world series, the 97 world series, the dennis northcutt drop, the grady sizemore drop, the 4-0 sweep by the spurs, and now...the epic series of events we can only call "The Collapse" in the 2007 ALCS.Thanks for nothing Cleveland sports teams...nothing but heartache and pain.

My name is James Szorady and my card is American Express. On this blog you may refer to me as former Mayor Michael White.

With me as a member of the this post all the planets of finally come into alignment. Much like Earth Wind Fire and Heart created Captain Planet...adding a Szorady to this already dazzling line up of wordsmiths and gurus assures us a chance at world domination. As far as sports contributions I am a certified college sports experts...I'll leave the pros to you all....

Friday, October 26, 2007

LCHS REVISITED...again

by Ryan Plungas


How embarrasing, and unprofessional that last diagram in my post was. I forgot to preview it. I may have single-handedly lost all credibility for this site.

Lets' try this again.

OFFENSE
WR Mark Watson/ Jason Timothy/Mike Dodge
WR Matt Matteucci/ Sean Saari/ Steve Eppich

LT Nate Berry
LG Skeegs Sullivan
C Kevin Bowers
RG Rich Stopniski/Dan Williams
RT McPat Coyne

TE Grant Savelli

QB Jeff Brunner

FB Josh Pearce/Dave Cvelbar

HB Justin Scholes/ Ryan Plungas


DEFENSE

LE Nate Berry/ Rich Stopniski
NT Skeegs Sullivan
RE McPat Coyne

OLB Grant Savelli
ILB Justin Scholes
ILB Mike Gibbons
OLB Josh Pearce/ Mike Tennyson

CB Sean Saari
CB Ryan Plungas
NCKLE Mike Bernot
DIME Mark Watson

SS Rey Catania
FS Todd Runyon

Todd Hall is still 8th on depth chart.

LCHS Class of 01 Revisited

by Ryan Plungas

(This was originally intended to be a simple response to Dan’s column. But I got really into it. And it just developed from there, into this blog post. I’m sorry, I never intended TWO columns on the 2001 LCHS Football Class).

Not bad, Dan. But fairly inaccurate. They say the mind is the greatest editor of all. This is true in this case. Thelma Schoonmaker, eat your heart out.

1) We did not open up the season against Perry. That was the 3rd game of the year. I remember, because I had a deep knee bone bruise (similar to what JAX's MJD is currently going through) and sat out a week of practice leading up to the game, then decided to give it a go for game time. I thought I was heroic, and giving it my all for the team. Ed Caldwell had other ideas. When I told him I was gonna try to play as he was passing out our game jerseys for the week, he said, "I don't think so. No way, you haven't practiced all week!". I reiterated that I could contribute, and he responded by asking if I was really injured (which I was, no joke...I was on crutches the majority of the week for Chrissakes). And then Ed Caldwell did something that most likely soured my LC football career: He threw my #7 jersey in my face, and said get tough and get on the bus. Then I let loose a bit of my infamous attitude I had managed to bundle up so far that year, and gave him some lip back.

I told Coach Soria bout the situation, and he single-handedly saved what little hope I had left in LC football (at the time) by saying "Don't worry about him, that guy can be an idiot sometimes. I only saw the field for one play that game. We lost 24-7.

2) We opened up against St. Ignatius on the road, btw. Lost 21-0. I got kicked out of the game late in the 4th because the ref thought I unleashed the F-bomb. While the coachers berated me on the sidelines, fellow DB Mike Tennyson admitted it was him that said it, and was laughing his ass off. I did not find it all that funny.

3) 2nd game was against Trinity, at home. I remember, this was the game I got the bone bruise.

4) We did have that 3rd down back: Myself. No joke. I don't mean to get egotistical here, but I was a pretty good back coming out of SGS. From day 1, they slotted me at WR, and never gave me the chance to compete at RB. I never figured this out. I could see Scholes, because he was a flat-out beast. But Sereleje? Come on! I was faster than Dave, quicker then him, tougher than him (Remember, he would come back to the huddle out of breathe complaining about a knee or an ankle after EVERY run, and I would look at McPat & Brunner and just roll my eyes), and the more elusive runner. PLUS, he would always run straight-up...a cardinal sin for a RB. It wasn't until Sereleje missed that Elyria Catholic game later in the season due to injury, that I got my opportunity to start at HB (they moved Scholes to FB). I responded with a virtuoso performance. 100+ yds running, with a 60+ yard TD catch out of the backfield (a wheel route), and a punt return for a TD. Plus an INT on Defense. More on this in a minute. Then, when Sereleje returned the next week against NDCL, agreat week of practice allowed me to lock the down the starting HB position by the end of the year. I ran for a tough, gritty 60+ yds against NDCL in a victory. Great finish to my career. I wish I had stuck with it. One of my greatest regrets in life.

5) My LCHS football career did spawn my greatest pimp moment ever. It was during that mid-October game against Elyria when I was dating that bombshell Jackie Farina. Her birthday happened to fall on the same day (a Thursday) as out game. I was getting the start, and promised her before the game a TD. After I hauled in that 60 yard TD pass, I ran directly to the sideline and told her that was for you. She loved it. But, it was not over. I still had a 50 yard Punt Return TD in me. Immediately after, I ran down the sidelines, ball in hand, handed it to her, and told her “Happy Birthday, baby!” Her friends were shouting with glee, and I could see how embarrassed Jackie was by this embarrassment of riches. But she loved it. Much like football, I screwed that thing up…another regret of mine. But on that day, I was King Shit.

Epilogue:

We had great talent in the Class of 2001 (2000 season). To this day, I will always argue that we had more talent on that team than we did on the State Championship team the following 2001 season (Class of 2002). Imagine if the majority of the players had stayed in the program, and put in the full 4 years. It would have been a dominant squad, one with true State Championship aspirations. Just take a look:

OFFENSE

WR LT LG C RG RT TE WR Mark
Nate Skeegs Kevin Rich McPat Grant Matt
Watson Berry Sullivan Bowers Stopniski Coyne Savelli Matteucci
Jason Sean
Timothy Saari
QB
Jeff
Brunner

FB
Josh Pearce/Dave Cvelbar

HB
Justin Scholes

3rd Down Back
Ryan Plungas



DEFENSE


LE NT RE
McPat Skeegs Nate
Coyne Sullivan Berry

OLB ILB ILB OLB
Grant Savelli Justin Scholes Mike Gibbons Josh Pearce

CB CB
Sean Saari Ryan Plungas
SS
NICKLE Rey DIME
Mike Catania FS Mark Bernot Todd Watson
Runyon


5th LB would be MIKE TENNYSON (can't depend on hm to start, for obvious legal dependecies).

Good depth at DB. And I didn't even mention Todd Hall, who would be 8th on the Depth chart.

This team was loaded with talent...if we stuck with it, and worked our asses off in the program, we coulda been something special.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 Year Reunion

Ahh yes..how quickly time flies. Ten years huh? Goord Lord, ten years ago this fall embarked the beginning of the most over hyped freshman class in LCHS history. This 300 plus class was not only the biggest to step thru the doors, but also had some lofty expectations to live up to. (Holy shit, I can't believe VA Tech just lost this game, how did they lose this? What happened? Rolling left and throws across his body/field for a game winning touchdown? Sweet Jesus)



Ugh....Anyways, the local CYO scene was just stacked with talent. Too bad this team turned out to be full of busts. The highly recruited Jeff out of Madison (where did Soria find this kid?) never lived up...The smashmouth offense football led by the running game of Scholes/Sierleja/ and that other big kid who soon transferred to north never could get the tough yards when we needed them. This team lacked the change of pace 3rd down back to catch the defense off guard and out putrid 4-6 record was one of the biggest disappointments in history.



Amongst the other BUSTS of this class was big John K. Good God was he a monster, 6'8, 320 lbs and couldnt even see a down on the JV level. Coulda had every big 10 school knockin at his door but spurned the NFL to work at a local auto body shop in Willoughby. Another bust I thought was the tough, gritty, and absolutely dirty Mikey T. I projected him as a Big East Strong Safety with his good size and speed. Could have probably moved into a Mike Linebacker if he chose to go D2, but nonetheless had the ability...Too bad he got in the wrong crowd and spent more time behind bars than he did on the field. As mentioned before, the 3 headed monster at RB never produced. Everyone thought this team was gonna grind it out week in and week out but nothing ever happened. Scholes was the only one to make it out of the high school ranks which led him to a disappointing 1AA career. OLB Savelli made the most of his size, nobody even knew this silent asassin was on the field but yet he was all over the ball all the time. My dad always said this kid had the instincts needed, but the 5'11 frame only game him a short lived career at Mount Union.



It was a tough coaching staff that year. Franky S. tried to keep the fun atmosphere alive but was over taken by Caldwell who somehow got confused and thought he was coaching at the Naval Academy and not freshman football. This egotistical coach single handedly was responsible for half of the team quitting folliwng freshman year. Also on the staff was Coach Massey who still to this day has never spoken a word. Our bonding on the B-team game though really brought us together. Then there was crazy Kucsma (more to come on him later) who had to balance his football coaching gig btw is shady insurance company and the demise of the LCHS softball team. And you can't forget the fiery Sammy DeVito (also more to come) who never let anyone sleep without having nightmares.



Practice was brutal this year...you could never really get comforable because every day betweein 4:05 and 4:15 everyone just waited for the lanky Joe Varanase to come stumbling out of detention and give us the opportunitiy to do about 100 "up-downs"..Or maybe if we were lucky, we would get to do about a half hour of dive bombers...(good lord, im going to have nightmares tongiht)...Then there was always the fun blocking drills where I would spend the entire time in line kissing Gruber and Lytles ass in hopes of not getting my ass kicked on the field....this never worked. If I got lucky, I would get to go one on one with the great wall of china, big john Krepenia. It literally was like trying to push a bus over, it was impossible. I hated that...I really did.



The best 2 weeks was when I completely babied a wrist injury (to this date I think I broke it but never got it checked out), and prohibited me from doing up downs, instead I had to do sit ups in which I did with a huge grin on my face. This worked for about 2 weeks until the fiery Devito finally caught onto me and completely punked me out and made me do up downs...damn, that sucked. I was really starting to get abs of steel too. My favorite Devito moment had to be in the midst of a grueling set of up downs when someone under their breath whispered "Ugh this sucks"..(my money was on Hess, who happened to actually go to practie on this day instead of skipping to go work out)..But Devito heard this comment and flipped a lid...I remember it like it happened this morning ..(with viens popping).."YOU THING THIS SUCKS? YOU SPEND ONE DAY IN MY F'N LIFE. ...YOU SPEND ONE DAY AS A CLEVELAND FIRE FIREGHTER AND SEE THE SHIT I SEE...YOU WOULDNT BE ABLE TO HANDLE THAT FOR A SECOND"...(good god, why am I doing this to myself? theres no way I will sleep tonight)...Or the one time during one on one blocking drills where everone was bitching about about how big Big John was and Sammy got so fired up, he got down in a 3 point chance ready to challenge Big John...I still dont think Big John got those shit stains out of his jock from that day...Kucsma blew the whistle and Devito just straight out pancaked the shit out of Big John....I think Soria immediately cancelled practice after that as nobody could function after seeing a human knock over a freight train....Ricchino, does the CFD test for HGH yet? Will your uncle be next to Travis Hafner once this list is published???

Another Big John moment...(do I have a secret love affair with Big John? Why am i writing so much about him..this is weird)....but nonetheless...Kucsma must have had a client who lost their house to a flood or seomthing, bc he came in very fired up...Big John didnt say one word, and suddenly, Pauly flipped a lid, went bezerk and reached up and got his facemask, brought it down eye to eye with him, and completely tore him apart. I still to this day don't know what was wrong with Paul that day. I am shocked that Big John did not pick him up and eat him.

(This is becoming much longer than I thought, I have no life)

On to the only 2 games i remember..the third one was mentioned today in the emails. Opening day, at the beautiful Perry stadium was great. Everyone had their turf shoes on and butterflies going around like crazy for the first game. I was very happy on the bench knowing I wouldnt see a down all year long but I made my parents happy for playing...The fourth play of the game, Ed Oger O got whistled for his 2nd false start penalty and Caldwell lost it. For some reason, and til today I have no idea why he chose me, he must have been going in reverse alphabetical order, but he told me to get in there. I remember a roiding Scholes screaming "LETS GO MAN, STEP IT UP!!"...he would have said my name but he had no idea who I was so he couldnt...I thought to myself as I got in the huddle, this is it..this is my shot to step it up...This is the break i needed to get coachs attention and begin my career as an anchor on the left tackle position...Actually..no, thats not how it was. I was scared shitless and wished more than anything I was up in the stands with my dad crying on his shoulder. I think I lasted about 3 plays before Caldwell came to his senses and realized that I was actually playing....I never saw a down after that.

UNTIL....the grand daddy of them all, the biggest game of the year...the B team game. ..How embarassing wsa that? To have a game for strictly B teamers and no starters were allowed to play? Ugh, what a kick in the balls....Anyways, I started and played both ways. Me and the 5"11, 110 lbs Chet the Jet Hoynes held down the D-Line and I was accounted for 9 tackles, 4 for loss and 3 QB pressures. Coach Massey kept trying to pull me out, but I kept saying "No, I want this, this is MY game, MY chance"....It was a classic defensive battle, the intensity was up on both sides of the ball...Another time I remember like yesterday was the time that Jeran got the nod at tailback. Massey said "Jeran, get in there"...And I remember a silenece went over the sidelines...Everyone had seen JJ's elusiveness in practice but he never got the shot in the game...Everyone got as close as they could to see this kid get in the lineup. We were all waiting for JJ to break a tackle, make a spin move, and pull off a 40 yard scamper to show the coaching stafff that he needs to be in the lineup and he could change this dismal season around....So JJ gets in....and the snap....and the hand off...and here we gooooo....ohhh shit, no, this didnt happen, no way, this cant be happening, please, please say it aint so!!...ohh, yes it did happen...fumble...no way...jeran fumbled...and that was the last carry Jeran saw in his tenure. I think that play took the heart out of the entire team, and to this day that class has never recovered from that fumble.

Fast forward to the 4th quarter...its 0-0 in a battle of who wants it more..No team has shown any signs of life this far but we still had 3 minutes left and 98 yards to go to win this game....I've been pan caking a guy half my size over at RT but the guys in the booth didnt see this. They kept trying to run it to the left behind the gritty Leben but never seemed to get the chains moving...So here we are, 98 yards to go and who do we have for this heroic 2 minute drill in the backfield? None other that Nick "the white Mike Vick" Ricchino. Nick had been dreaming about this chance since the day he was a little boy, just like every other kid tht dreamed about leading him and his scrubby B-teamers to a heroic victory....But alas it all came crashing down...The opposing teams coaches had scouted Nick well. They knew he had a cannon of an arm but once you got him out of the pocket he didnt have what it took. he was very immobile, and the DL had been flushing him out of the pocket all day long and unfortunately Nick wasn't known for his throws on the run across his body...So here we are...I get down in my 3 point stance, ready to maul over this 87 pounder in front of me...About 3 seconds later I look around and theres nobod around me...NOOOOOO, this didnt happen...SAFETY...noooo, ricchino got smacked in the endzone for a safety...How did he not pick up the safety blitz??? Why didnt he audible at the line and make the necessary changes??? Why didnt he call a TO and talk it over???UGHHH Nick, why, why???...After the 9 person pileup, Nick finally got up and limped off the field in defeat...2-0 final score...and a tragic B-team loss...ughhhh what a shame...what a shame...

And here I am...ten years later...a bust in my own sense of the word..Never lived up to the historic Williams football blood and have to sit by myself at all family gatherings as everyone reminicses about their college ball while I am telling my 4 yr old cousin that I once played in a B-team game and lost 2-0 because of the slow footed Ricchino couldnt scramble and get a pass off...thanks Nick.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Random Notes

by Ryan Plungas

Random notes:

I will not be watching the World Series this year.

Do you pick up Byrd's option (my vote is no)? What about JoeBo (At 4 million? Possibly)? Casey Blake is up for arbitration…does this guy even have a contract, or does he just keep showing up to Spring Training every year with a handshake agreement with Wedge that'll he make the team? He's FINALLY up for arbitration, it's been like 7 years. What about Fultz' option (Ha! Um, no)?

Free Agent Position Players

Free agent class is not that strong. Obviously, we're not gonna go after any of the Big guys (ie Andruw Jones, Torri Hunter, etc). But there are some intriguing options out there. Mike Lowell at 3B? Great RBI guy, but most likely out of our price range (plus, he's 32 or 33). And it would be too mmuch of a reminder of what happened.

Aaron Rowand for LF? Good possibility. Perfect Wedge/Shapiro guy…tough, gritty, grinder, white, good clubhouse guy. I, personally, am not a big fan of this guy, but he's someone I could see this organization go after.

A guy under the radar…LF Geoff Jenkins. I know, I know, doesn't sound all that promising. But he's a productive bat vs. Righties, and would be a great platoon guy out in LF. Just take a look at these numbers:

.292 BA, 18 HR/60 RBI, 23 2B, .363 OBP & .503 SLG.

Those are his numbers vs. RHP averaged out over the last 3 years. Those are not bad, at all. If Jhonny Peralta is finally moved to 3B ( a move that should be made), then we can slot Casey Blake in LF and platoon him with Jenkins. It would be a very productive platoon. I do not think Jenkins would break the bank, and in that instance, he would be a good sign. It would be necessary to trade David Dellucci this offseason, for a prospect or two. Or for a subsciption to US weekly. Just get him off the books. J-Mike could roll as our 5th OF. Or trade him as well.

Relievers

Depending on if we pick up JoeBo's 4M option (something I am scared to death to do, but at 4M it's not a bad deal), we are in the market for a (shut-down) Closer. Really, there's only 1 guy out there (my apologies to Eric Gagne & Trevor Hoffman): Francisco Cordero.

There will be a strong market for this guy, but he's a quality Closer who does not scare the bejesus out of you every time he takes the mound. The opposite of the Joe Bo/Bob Wickman School of Closing. He actually can be viewed at as a weapon out of the pen. Someone who wouldn't make us mutter to ourselves in the 8th "Alright, if we can just get 1 to 2 more runs and stretch this out to a 6-2 lead, we won't have to see Borowski in the 9th." Never good when that's the thought process. If Cordero isn't asking for a 4 year contract, I think we should make a run at him.

Still need to add a quality arm that can pitch the 7th & 8th innings, or else we might as well schedule the Raffy's for Tommy John concurrently right now. You could obviously tell that Perez completely died down the stretch and was useless in the Boston series because of his dead arm. At least Raffy Betancourt waited till Game 7 to shut down. We can't have that again. Jensen Lewis will be counted on for a full season, so there's another strong arm. But we need other options (all apologies to Aaron Fultz & Tom Mastny).

One guy is Octavio Dotel. He actually pitched well this season coming of a shoulder injury, outside of a terrible series (2 straight BS) against Colorado late in the season. The Tribe brass has had an on-again off-again affair with Dotel going on 3 seasons now. Why don't they just seal the deal this offseason, and sign him up to lighten the Raffy's workload.

Two other options (although not as enticing) are Rockie FA LaTroy Hawkins and RHP Scott Linebrink. Hawkins was, shall we say, effective as a Reliver this year. Linebrink was once one of the best relievers in the game (and a Fantasy stallwort as a Holds guy), but inexplicably lost it the 2nd half of the year. Both are NL pitchers prone to the long ball, and frankly, that scares me in the AL. They're like a rich man's Rick White.

Trades

Hey, Coco Crisp may be available. I heard, somewhere (not too sure which station, maybe FOX brought this up), that the Red Sox have some up and coming kid who can play Center. Oh, what's his name? Jared, Jacob, Jason…no Jacoby. Jacoby Ellsbury. I think? Anyway, I heard about him.

One can still dream about Carl Crawford roaming Left Field at the Jake. Or Miggy Cabrera eating Cheeseburgers at 3B. But for all intents and purposes, that won't be happening anytime soon.

But these deals could. One of which has specifically been rumored about:

SP Cliff Lee/RP Tom Mastny (or Edward Mujica, or Juan Lara, or any quality Reliever prospect we have not named Jensen Lewis or Raffy Perez)
For
OF Lastings Milledge

Buster Olney may have single-handedly created this rumor, but its been talked about. Jeremy Sowers has been substituted for Lee in some circles, but the belief is that one of these pitchers (along with a young quality reliever) could net us Milledge. The Mets are desperate for pitching, and the Tribe would welcome their potential LF of the Future. I would do this in a heartbeat. Maybe even throw-in a middle tier position prospect ala Brad Snyder.

Another option:
SP Jeremy Sowers/OF Ben Francisco/maybe another pitching prospect
For
OF Jason Bay

The Pirates are in rebuilding mode once again. Jason Bay may not fit into those plans. He is 29, afterall. He struggled last year, but is only 2 years removed from a 30+ HR/100+ RBI season. Call him the Travis Hafner of the NL. The reason the Tribe may be a destination? New GM Neil Huntington, obviously. The former Assistant to Mark Shapiro is very familiar with the Tribe's farm system and may feel most comfortable making his first big deal in his Pirates tenure with the organization he has spent the better part of 10 years with.

One can only hope.

Meanwhile, I'm still dreaming about Carl Crawford & Miggy Cabrera.