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.

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