Category: MLB


With so much talk about loyalty in sports and players not staying on one team for their entire career nothing is ever said for when teams ship out players like cargo across the pacific.

Well, Jim Thome who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in the off season, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles according to an ESPN report. The Phillies acquire right-hander Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino, while the Orioles hope to obtain a needed jolt to their offense that has been lacking as of late.

Jim Thome who is one who claims he is all about loyalty, was traded from the team he thought he’d end his career with, kind of fitting for a guy who left his initial team the Cleveland Indians after he said he was ‘loyal’ to them.

Assessing how the trade will help the Orioles; he should add a needed power threat, and considering Camden Yards is a hitter friendly park I can see why the Orioles were intrigued. Thome also being a great locker room guy can provide some stability to the locker room and be a big brother type that the younger guys in the locker room can look to. I don’t think it will put them over the top to win the division, however they should have a good shot at the wildcard spot.

As reported by Cleveland.com Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner has been placed on the 15 day disabled list due to an injury to his right knee.

This should come as no surprise as in the last 4 years he’s been on the disabled list 6 times. We should not only be used to him being injured at this point, expect him to be injured. I don’t mean to be a Debbie downer on Hafner; however his production the last few years has been very low to nonexistent. Though his production has provided a nice jolt in the middle of the lineup if you can’t rely on him to play every day what good is he to you?

Related: Josh Beckett Missed Game from Golf Injury

This season he’s hit 6 homeruns and 23 RBI, not bad for the first month of the season, and considering his power numbers has been down in previous season, this would rank as phenomenal for him.

Hopefully it’s nothing more than just a bruise and a after a couple weeks off and rehab he’ll be able to return to play and produce at the rate he was prior to the injury. The only concern I have is, while he is out, the Indians won’t have enough offense to maintain their current position.

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You would think for as many issues the Red Sox players had last year with bad press they would try to keep a low profile. However, that didn’t stop Josh Beckett from playing golf two days before he was to pitch during his next start.

According to an ESPN report Beckett hurt his back during his golf round and was unable to play due to stiffness in his right lat.

Manager Bobby Valentine had this to say about Beckett missing his start;

“I haven’t talked to Josh about this yet, so I’m not sure I can really comment on it other than I can say physical issues, I guess, he had a sore lat, he wasn’t an injured player. I know that. And we’ll take it from there. But I’m sure Josh wouldn’t do anything that’s going to jeopardize his team or his season. I know that.”

Now I’m not one that says players can’t participate in other activities beyond their day job, I only caution that you don’t injure yourself. The backlash from fans and media will be ridiculous. Especially when some are looking for a reason to attack you.

Beckett has enough to deal with, and this just makes him looks bad. This situation combined with their chicken and beer pow wow last year, on to of the push back they’ve given new manager Bobby Valentine makes the Red Sox look like a big blow up waiting to happen.

Remember when the Cleveland Indians were 1-4 to start the season? Remember when half of the city of Cleveland were ready to bury them and give up on the season? No? Well I do, and I also remember saying not to worry. And look at them now, since that 1-4 start they’re 16- 7, sit atop the Central Division and their pitching so far has been as consistent as they thought it would.

However, I won’t bang that drum that they’re a championship contender yet; I’ll still reserve my opinion until the 40 game mark. As things could change in the next two weeks and people will be right back to where they were with their thoughts as they were opening week. But as they roll along, let’s see how they deal with being the hunted compared to last season.

Related: Indians Off to Slow Start

For the majority of last season they were they were in first place, and I don’t think they were used to being the top dog and having all eyes on them. Now with that experience, they should be better equipped to hold off the Tigers and the White Sox who are bound to make a push. The Key is, when the push comes what kind of resistance will the Indians show this summer compared to lasts’?

Cleveland Indians Sign Johnny Damon

Then Indians looking to add a jolt of energy to their lack luster offense have signed free agent Johnny Damon to a one year deal, full of incentives that could bolster his pay from 1.25 to 1.4 million dollars.

Last year with the Tampa Bay Rays Damon played well and provided a veteran bat that helped keep the Rays in playoff contention. Though his batting average was a slender .261 he did hit 16 home runs and 73 runs batted in along with swiping 19 stolen bases last season. The Indians looking to turn around a 1-4 start to the season hope that Damon can match that same production from last season. Damon who is a career .286 batter, has never had an on base percentage lower than .313 which should provide plenty of opportunities for the Tribe to drive in more runs. Also with the health of Grady Sizemore unknown it’s very possible that Damon will get plenty of chances to contribute.

Related: Indians Slow Start Nothing to Panic Over

However, it will be a few weeks before we see Damon join the club, as he will head to the minor leagues to get in ‘game shape’ before he’s with the team. No one knows how long it will before but the speculation is anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks, which would put him on the Indians 25 man roster sometime in May.

Now, though I’m not a fan of this particular move, I don’t blame them for making it. They felt they need to show some urgency and so they made a move. I think they should’ve tried to acquire an offensive threat in the off season, someone younger than Damon who is 38, either a speedster or a power bat. However, it would hypocritical to complain of them making no moves, than whine when they do. I’m willing to give it a chance to see how it goes before I laud or crush it.

For the Indians sake, hopefully it works out.

 

With one week of baseball in the books, the Indians have gotten off to a 1-4 start. Not necessarily the blazing beginning fans were looking for. But let’s keep this in mind, it’s only been five games. FIVE! Are we really going to start stoning the team before they’ve even played a month of baseball? From growing up playing baseball as a kid, to know writing about it on this site, I’ve held true to one standard that was taught to me by my dad. In baseball, you make your first concrete judgment on a team after the first 40 games. Theory, after 40 games you have a big enough sample size to make an estimation of what the team will become is has turned into.

So why are so many people losing their minds after the first two series, when we’ve gotten relatively good starting pitching? Yes, I know the offense has struggled and ranks in the bottom 20 in runs scored (25th) batting average (30th) on base percentage (21st) and slugging percentage (26th). And this should be a concern… just not today and five games doesn’t make or break a team, especially the first five of the season.

Too many times we rush to judgment and want a team to look like world beaters for the entire season. Slumps happen, and yes considering the Indians offensive woes last season this slow definitely doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, however, I’m just not down with saying this team sucks and they’ll never hit when the sample size we have is so small.

Now if this trend continues through the beginning of June and middle of May, then yes, be concerned all you like. But for now, at least let them play more games than you can count on your hands before we’re ready to trade everybody away and bring up 15 players from minor leagues.

Indians Must Weigh their Options

After the end of the World Series the Indians will have 3 days to decide whether they’ll pick up the option of two players that they once considered a big piece of their core. Centerfielder Grady Sizemore and pitcher Fausto Carmona both have options the team has to decide to pick up or not. Fausto is due $7 million and in a game where pitching is premium you may just want to hold on to him. Yes he’s been inconsistent and has not turned out the production you’ve wanted. However, you’d hate to give him away and then he blossoms and you have nothing left to show. Fausto when he’s on has the ability to be a top of the rotation guy and can make an impact. For the salary he’s due to make, it’s worth bringing him back and maybe offering him some incentives that would put a little more dough in his pocket. Since his hang up seems to be focus why not try to motivate him with money. If he can’t harness his emotions with extra money on the line then you may have your answer on his future with the team. As for Grady, the circumstances get more complicated. When he’s healthy he has All-Star capabilities and a potential 20 homerun, 20 steals kind of player. Only thing is the last 3 years he’s been hampered by injuries. I would say bring him back as well, because if you let him go then who would you bring in to replace him? You never quit a job before you have another one, and you don’t fire someone until you have your replacement. So before you get all prepared to kick him to the curb you might want to consider that at $8 million a year if you can get just average production from him, he’ll be worth the money. Now with all that said, if they see something they don’t like with his health, then let him walk. But I don’t think it would be a bad move to keep him and Fausto, considering their salaries, the production they can provide and the fact that you may not be able to find legitimate replacements.

Tribe & Jim Thome Come Full Circle

They say you can never go home again… That seems not to be true for Jim Thome as he comes back to Cleveland where his career started. The Indians claimed him off waivers and completed a trade with the Minnesota Twins sending a player to be named later to the twin cities. Now, this wasn’t the bat I thought the Tribe needed, however, with Travis Hafner out for who knows how long you need somebody that could provide some pop. Thome will help, but is it too late, you’re 6 games out of first place, the ace you traded for hasn’t performed to expectations and you’ve had the worst week of the season at the wrong time. Hopefully Thome can bring back some of that late 90’s magic win he steps into the box at Progressive Field. Now, how will fans receive Thome in his first game back, he unlike other Indian greats didn’t leave on the best of terms, and the quote  “my wife is my rock” still resonates on fans minds when thinking of Thome. I believe for the most part Thome will be cheered, considering we need him to play well and he’s one of ours again the fans won’t bash him, however I think the ratio of fans cheering to jeering will be 60-65% to 40-35%. Hopefully this works out, because up until two weeks ago the Indians season had been very exciting and I would hate to see it all go to waste.

Indians Stock Falling

With 4 losses in a row, tied for second place, and 5 and a half games out of first place the Indians look to be falling out of the playoff. I say there’s no need to panic, you still have a month and a half of the season to go, and 14 games with the White Sox (8 games) and Tigers ( 6 games) so if the Indians can just pull it together they can still end up on top of the division. Now it does seem like the deck is stacked against them with Travis Hafner going to the disabled list and Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching like a 5th starter instead of an ace, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t win. This is where you find out if your team has what it takes to be a champion, if they continue to fight when the chips are down. I won’t allow this team to rely on the excuse of being young, having a coach who is in their first pennant race, at the end of the day the name of the game is to win baseball games, and though the stakes are higher and pressure is more intense, the approach should stay the same. Too many times in Cleveland we’re just happy to be in the race because so often we’ve been bad. At some point you have to hold teams accountable and expect more from them. This team has for the most part performed pretty well, and though it was a surprise to many, that doesn’t mean we should just be happy with being surprisingly good. When circumstances change so should expectations. So me, I’m not giving up on the Tribe yet and hopefully you aren’t either, vote below on what you think.

 

 

Thome Gets 600 HR

Jim Thome has joined the 600 homerun club and now talk of his hall of fame status will increase. Some will argue for saying to get to 600 homeruns you must’ve been consistently good to put up those kinds of numbers. I’ll argue that he’s borderline out. Never have you thought of Jim Thome as one the elite players in the league, just a very good player. Yes you feared him because with one swing he could change a ball game, but he was also prone to strike outs as well. He’s only led the league once in homeruns, but has hit 40 or more homeruns 6 times. All good stats but this doesn’t mean that he belongs in the hall with the best of the best. I get the feeling with Thome that because he’s never been associated with steroids or performance enhancing drugs that he gets a boost. Thome over his entire career has been a very good player, but the hall of fame is reserved for all time greats, game changers, and Thome isn’t that. He’s a very good player that was blessed with good health, and developed to be one of the most statistical consistent players in the league. However, in my book that doesn’t justify hall of fame status. He’ll probably get in because it’ll be hard to deny a guy who will eventually end his career with over 600 homeruns, close to 2300 hits, and an on base percentage close to .400. Hopefully the writers understand that Cooperstown is home of the hall of fame not to be treated as the walk of fame.

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