Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Monday, May 19, 2008


The worst part of the Cavs season ending is that there is nothing left to distract me from the Indians.

The Indians are in big trouble and the worst part is that I can't see a solution this season. While the Indians has enough pitching to contend for the division all season, this team is not good enough to win the World Series.

This team needs more hitting. Ben Francisco is the only one playing at or above his potential. And he has played in only 14 games. While the woes of most of the team have been well documented. Let's shine some light on the two hitters who have escaped most of the fans' ire. Victor Martinez has led the league in hitting most of the season, sure, but he is now down to season low .314. In 130 at-bats, he has just eight extra base hits and none of them are home runs. While he is the only player on the team from opening day hitting over .300, it is unacceptable to have your clean-up to have no homers and just 15 runs batted in. Since the rest of the team is slumping, it is easy to overlook Grady Sizemore. Maybe the kid is overrated. He still strikes out way too much (35 one less then Hafner) and his .267 average only looks good because the rest of the team is worse.

And the Indians have no real way to get more hitting. Their hands are tied and making a trade is not likely. In order to get a middle of the order run producer, they would have to give up their pitching prospects and they can't trade their pitching prospects because they won't trade C.C. Sabathia. Shapiro has a real catch-22 on his hands. He has stated that he can't and won't trade C.C. because of the sign it would send his team. But now he can't trade Laffey, Adam Miller, Chuck Lofgren or Jeremy Sowers because of the real threat of Sabathia leaving. And frankly the rest of the Indians farm system is not at the level has been in past years. While I am sure the Indians are high on the players they have drafted, not everyone else seems to feel the same way. If the Indians want to trade for a bat, they would likely have to surrender Miller and several others.

Frankly, the only solution I can see is an unlikely one. The Indians have to over pay and keep Sabathia off the open market. The window on the World Series is closing fast. Boston and New York have rebuilt their farm systems and while the Yankees are struggling now, both high market teams are now longer just opening check books. They are using their resources to build from within and unlike the Indians they can still overcame their mistakes through free agency. I know Mark Shapiro wants to build a team that contends year in and year out. But winning the division is not enough. If the Indians win a championship another sell-out streak will begin. And the best way to give confidence to the fans, is to bite the bullet and sign C.C. to a record contract. With the security of the front of the rotation established, the Indians can deal some young pitchers and prospects for a big bat.

But not is got going to happen. Instead the Indians will ride out the best starting pitching they have had since the 40s and 50s and most likely win the division with 85 wins or so. Then they will lose in the first round when they can't score any runs.

And that isn't enough.