GM for a Day

I have to admit I go from thinking the Indians should be sellers to buyers from day to day. But the trade (non-waiver) deadline is upcoming, and Mark Shapiro has a major decision to make. He has to not only make decisions based on the players involved, he has to consider the PR implications as well, like it or not; if the Indians deal Kevin Millwood or Bob Wickman for guys the average Joe doesn’t know, then the team will take a PR hit. Of course, the team could be absolutely correct in making that move, but that’s the way professional sports seems to be heading. If the Indians land a “name” player for the rest of the season, more fans might start to believe in what the Indians are doing; of course, in doing so, they might have to give up a Brad Snyder or a Jake Dittler in order to do so, which would tick off the die-hards, who would bring up Richie Sexson and Brian Giles. Or they could just stand pat, which would anger a whole other class of fans.

Here’s what I would do if I were GM of the Indians for a day:

(1) Deal Bob Wickman if you can shore up an area of weakness. Since there aren’t that many true sellers out there, see if you can trade Wickman to another buyer for a player that can fill a need. Baltimore could be a possibility, as would Florida, Texas (if they still think they’re in it), or Boston. Since Bob doesn’t know if he’s going to pitch next year, there’s no guarantee that you’d get draft pick compensation, so you might as well deal him now. Wickman for Juan Encarnacion plus a prospect would seem a nice fit, but I’m sure there’s other possible deals out there. Bob Howry would probably move up to closer, and David Riske could take his place as primary set-up man. Once Matt Miller comes back, you’d have a bullpen of:


(2) Keep Kevin Millwood unless you get blown away. Millwood’s been the best pitcher on the staff, and although you figure he’s not going to be back, he’s going to fetch some compensation via the draft. Keep in mind that Jim Thome’s departure to Philadelphia netted the Indians Brad Snyder and Adam Miller, so you can get some pretty good prospects if you draft right. But if a team that loses out on AJ Burnett offers you a great package of players, you jump on it. Possibilities include Texas, both New York teams, Baltimore, and the Cubs. Again, deal Millwood only if someone makes you an offer you can’t refuse.

(3) Get Adam Dunn. I don’t care if he hits left-handed. I don’t care if he strikes out a lot. The guy is one of the best hitters in baseball, and he’s 25 years old. And you can have him under your control through 2007. The Reds are paying Ken Griffey, Jr a lot of money, and Dunn is probably going to get $7M+ in arbitration, so I would think he’s the outfielder the Reds would deal. He isn’t going to come cheap; the Indians would probably have to give up at least two of their better pitching prospects or a major-league pitcher to get him. But if you park him in right field and hit him fifth in the order behind Hafner and Martinez, he consolidates your offense.

(4) Deal Jose Hernandez if you can get a decent return. He can be replaced by either Ryan Garko or Jason Dubois. Again, you deal from your strength in order to shore up an area of weakness.

It is possible for a team to be a buyer and a seller at the same time. In this year’s market, it looks like the only way to fix a hole is to do both; there are a lot of teams still in contention, and the teams that are out it don’t have much that the Indians would want. I do admit that making the above deals is more difficult than I make it seem, but creativity in deals seems to be one way to make both trading parties happy.

I invite you to play GM for a day: what would you do (within reason) between now and the deadline? Oh, please use the comments on the left (Blogger); I’m phasing out HaloScan over the next two weeks.

19 thoughts on “GM for a Day”

  1. You make some really good points. I like the site too. Ill toss you some linkage.

    1. I can’t see any of our bullpen being able to fill the hole Wicky would leave. I think we need to keep Wickman and deal a younger arm. We can’t solve problems in our rotation or our batting order by creating new ones.

    2. Millwood has been very solid this year, I don’t see getting rid of him unless like you said we are dead in the water.

    3. I couldn’t agree more about Dunn. He would hit 30 homeruns by default in the Jake…problem is I think he is going to want a 5 year 50 million dollar type deal after the season. Seeing as our entire payroll is around 47million it may be a tough selll for Larry and the boys.

    4. I am not a big Hernandez fan by any means. I think I would rather see Ry-Gar or Dubios eat up Jose’s at bats anyway…(most would be strikeouts anyway…so what does it hurt?)

  2. Deezo,
    “unless we are dead in the water”? How dead do you need to be to know you are dead? Do you think we will outdistance all of the teams we are chasing to take the wild card? And we have shown very little life since the all star break. We are, by all means, sellers now. It’s only a matter of exercising prudence while pressing the trigger on a deal. I don’t pretend to know all the details of who will earn how much in the coming years or which teams would part with whom, but I trust Shapiro and his judgement. And I believe there are no sacred cows on our team. If Shaprio thinks he can help us without creating other unmanageable issues, I think he should do it whether or not he takes a PR hit.

  3. 1. I can’t see any of our bullpen being able to fill the hole Wicky would leave. I think we need to keep Wickman and deal a younger arm. We can’t solve problems in our rotation or our batting order by creating new ones.

    The problem is that Florida (or whoever) isn’t going to take prospects for help; they want to make the playoffs, too. My point is that I do believe Wickman is replaceable if you can bring in someone that can help shore up the offense. Wickman’s value is probably never going to be higher, and you don’t know when he’s going to fall off the tightrope he’s been walking all year.

    If Florida came up to me and offered Juan Encarnacion (hitting .290/.359/.490 in a pitcher’s park) and a prospect, I’d do the deal.

  4. Vernon Wells for 3 pitchers:
    Traber or Tallet
    Guthrie or Cruceta

    Lineup becomes:

    Blake is 4-corner sub. Dubois rides pine, goes to Buffalo, or is a throw-in in the Wells deal as we get a minor leaguer back.

    Then, only if a contender gets extremely desparate and offers a ton for Howry OR Wickman. Like a Hanley Ramirez or a Jeremy Hermida. Only one of those guys gets traded (if any), and I think Riske stays mainly because the Indians control his rights for next year. If they dealt Riske, next year Howry and Wickman could leave and the pen would suddenly have 3 holes.

  5. I think they have to sell. Millwood, Wickman, Hernandez, Elarton whoever is soon to be too expensive to keep/won’t be around anyway. Trade them for anything, even if it’s a cardboard cutout of Manny Ramirez to put into right field instead of watching the daily debacle that is Casey Blake. Get us a real third baseman (or a potentially real 3B). Hopefully some upper-level prospects.

    Sure they’d take a PR hit, but it’s not like they’re winning the PR war as it is.

  6. No reason why they can’t be modified sellers; recognize that they’re a long shot, but not quite as long as slim to none (thereby keeping Millwood).

    The place to deal is the bullpen. Any two of Wickman, Howry, or Rhodes should be dealt. Bullpens are historically volatile. You have guys ready to step in in Cabrera and Brown (or even a Jose Diaz). You’re going to lose Howry and Wickman anyway after the season.

    Shapiro has to keep doing a stellar job of mining the scrap heap for bullpen help and then flipping them at their highest value for major league ready prospects with upside who we control.

    Or take a guy like Jody Gerut who seemingly has tapped out as a .355/.390/.745 type player. Now he’s still stagnating and arbitration eligible, flip him for a guy who can contribute in the future with bigger upside who is a better complement to Crisp and Sizemore in Jason Dubois. It’s got to be a relentless improve or die player cycle.

    Now if they freefall, lose all 3 to Oakland, 2 of 3 to Seattle, they can change and go to full out sellers if they choose.

  7. Juan Encarnacion?
    He’s having the best year of his life, and his OPS is just .009 higher than Blake’s 2004.
    And he makes twice as much. Maybe Encarnacion has finally “got it”, but odds are his
    2005 is a fluke.

  8. is jeff liefer the modern day jeff manto? 30 years old, parts of 6 seasons in the show, etc, etc.

    therefore, i just got motivated to go to the bible ( coming into tonight…

    jeff “super” manto
    [parts of] 9 mlb seasons
    most games in a season? 89 with BAL in ’95
    289 games
    713 at bats
    164 hits
    35 doubles
    31 homers
    97 rbi

    jeff “maple” liefer
    [parts of] 6 mlb seasons
    83 with CHW in ’01
    269 games
    723 at bats
    168 hits
    34 doubles
    30 homers
    105 rbi

    YOU make the call!

    tim b

  9. Anonymous,

    Encarnacion is a free agent at the end of the year, so he’s just a rental. I’m not banking he’ll keep it up in 2006, I’m banking he keeps it up in August and September.


    I was always under the impression that it was Jeff “Mickey” Manto.

  10. Anybody else hate Casey Blake?

    To what do we attribute his continued presence in the line-up? Lack of other viable options? Wedge/Shapiro unable to admit the mistake they made in signing him? An unholy alliance with the Prince of Darkness?

  11. tribe needs help at three positions (assuming belliard’s option gets picked up)- 1B, 3B, RF. i’m for plugging in garko at 1B. i’m for dealing a bullpen arm or two (say, howry and rhodes) to boston for youkilis. that saves millwood or CC (trade one, not both, and if you trade CC you have to sign millwood)for a trade with cincy for dunn. i like this lineup a lot:


  12. Roger,
    I’m with you. I wonder what Blake’s average is in the 7th inning and beyond with RISP? Whenever you put the least little pressure on this guy, he folds like a cheap tent. And I don’t think that stat would be new to 2005 for him. I think it’s a constant for Blake. But, I almost hate Broussard as much, despite his occasional hot streaks. This is the grade lineup you get when you are limited to spending less than the avg MLB team’s payroll.

  13. Just a couple of thoughts…

    1. Trading Wickman seems like a good idea, if for no other reason than the demand is so high. The only thing keeping Shapiro from pulling the trigger has to be the gory bullpen of death from early 2004. Still, you have to do it.

    2. It seems like Cincy should be begging to get Westbrook. 18 out of 21 groundball outs is exactly the guy they want. Milton should have taught them that. So Westbrook plus pitching prospect should get close to Dunn (when Cincy comes back to earth on their demands). Gotta give something to get something, and we can’t keep all of these pitchers in the minors.

    3. Here’s a fun one: three way deal. Marlins get Wicky + Tribe minor league bullpen arm. Rangers get Burnett and Belliard and Tribe pitching prospect. Tribe gets Soriano.

    I do not think that one is far off, although you might need to take another arm from the Tribe. Fish were asking for a reliever (Julio), a backup OF (Bigbie) and a pitching prospect (Penn). I might think the Rangers need another long term arm. But someone like Davis or Tallet might do there.

    So imagine this lineup:


    I’ve given up one good pitcher, a free agent closer, an above average 2B, and 3 arms. three pretty good arms, but there are so many of them right now. Where do I sign up for the assistant GM job?

  14. I forgot payroll considerations.

    Adding Dunn & Soriano adds $20 million a year in salary, give or take. But losing Wickman, Westbrook, Belliard and Millwood (who we will not sign) next year chops off about $9-11 million of of this year’s payroll. So for an increase of roughly $10 million a year, you get this killer line-up.

    You’d knock off another $3 million if we outrighted Boone before his option vested. I could fill in at 3B.

  15. I’de love to have Dunn, but I would think that the price tag would be extraordinary. Maybe we could do a deal with Boston for Youkelis. They need pitching bad, and for the first time in years we’ve got an excess. It makes perfect sense, so it probably isn’t going to happen. Of coarse if it did, you know Casey Blake would play, and the new guy would ride the pines. I wonder where Blake got the photo’s from?

  16. I’m all for dealing Milwood and Wickman. We can probably get some steals with them. First of all, Wickman is not “my kind of closer”. I like the dominant and intimidating kind of closer. I think Milwood is a good pitcher, but he is injury prone and not affordable next year. I think we have some talent in the minors that can take his spot(Not Jason Davis). Wickman’s spot can be filled also through the minors or Howry. Yes we will lose some “now” talent, but we will gain in the long run.

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