I’ve been hammered with projects and papers recently, but the end is in sight! Well, at least I can see a speck of light in the tunnel I’m currently in.
- Even with the six runs off Jeremy Bonderman in the first inning today, the Indians’ bats have really been quiet. The team is ranked near the bottom in several offensive categories, including batting average (13th), OBP (13th), Slugging percentage (14th), and hits (14th). The defense has been even worse than the offense; the team is ranked last in fielding percentage.
So how did the Indians go 3-3 on the road trip? This may come as a shock to most of you, but it’s mainly because of the bullpen. The bullpen’s ERA the first week of the season was 2.63, good for 3rd in the league. Tribe relievers are holding opposing batters to a .516 OPS, and they sport a very good K/BB ratio of 4.00.
Of course all of these numbers are subject to the sample size rule, and things can (and probably will) change drastically in the next couple of weeks. Bob Wickman bounced back from his horrendous outing against the White Sox to save two games this weekend. Jake Westbrook will probably bounce back after laying an egg this past Saturday. Jhonny Peralta will settle down in the field. Making too much of one week’s worth of games is a very easy trap to fall into, especially since that one week is the only piece of evidence you can relate to. Terry Pluto, as usual, is the voice of reason, commenting on Peralta’s early defensive struggles.
- Sheldon Ocker is out with a Dolan is Cheap!TM column, calling out ownership for possibly letting CC Sabathia walk two years from now. These two paragraphs taken together are quite humorous:
With insurers limiting coverage of players’ contracts to no more than three years, and pitchers being more vulnerable to serious injury than position players, the wisest course might be to limit a proposed contract for Sabathia to three seasons, maybe with a fourth-year club option.
But Sabathia is 24. He would be only 29 after the option season ended, and Shapiro would have to start all over again — and next time he would be forced to offer stratospheric money.
So which is it? Should they only give him a short-term deal because of health concerns, or should they try to lock him up for longer? The rest of the article goes back and forth in the same fashion. Here’s my take: now is the time to get an extension in place, probably an extra two years would be the best they could do. Use the recenet extensions of Freddy Garcia and Johan Santana as templates. If he wants to test the free agent market, then there isn’t much you can do; if he wants to pitch in the Bay Area, there isn’t much you can do. I do think it’s very possible to get an extension done through 2008; the team is heading in the right direction, several similar deals have been signed, and the team and Sabathia has gotten along well. Beyond that, you just have to see how things work out. Cleveland isn’t a market where you can pay many players top dollar; that’s just part of the current financial status of baseball.
- There’s good news and bad news from Extended Spring Training. Jody Gerut has been cleared for game situations, but 2004 draft pick Scott Lewis is on the shelf with shoulder soreness. Lewis, who underwent shoulder surgery while at Ohio State, is on a “non-throwing” program, so hopefully simple rest will be enough.