Since even before the Indians acquired Ubaldo Jimenez last season, he was already struggling...And so far during his time in Cleveland, his delivery has constantly been changing...
Repeatedly the Indians staff have talked about Jimenez's mechanics being all mixed up...Everyone knows he has the ability to be an elite pitcher...He showed the potential in Colorado...If a pitcher can make it there, he can make it anywhere...
So why is he struggling in Cleveland...
Clearly the Indians staff isn't working with him enough, or the right way...It's time for the Tribe to look into their past, to help their future...
In 2007 Indians starter Cliff Lee started the year on the DL...When he returned, he struggled...And struggled...Finally the Indians made a bold move...They sent him down to the minors to work out his problems, and get his mechanics together, and consistent...Even after putting it all together, and looking great, the Indians didn't bring him up for the playoff roster...Lee has said it was the toughest season of his career, and going down was hard to swallow...But he will also tell you, it was the best thing that happened to his career...
What happened next...2008 Lee was lights-out, and won the AL Cy Young Award...And even though he's no longer with the Indians, every year he's on the short list of Cy Young candidates...
The Indians need to remember this, and consider sending Jimenez down...Work out the kinks...Build up his confidence..Get him back on track...
I was talking with my Dad today about the Cleveland Indians...As a lifelong Clevelander, he's a huge Tribe fan...He taught me all about Baseball, and I'm now trying to pass that on to my son...One thing the boy and I are going to have to talk about, is not making stupid trades...I love the Tribe, but they have made some bone-head moves over the last 5 years or so...
Today my Dad and I were talking about the Cliff Lee deal...It wasn't actually where it all went wrong...The C.C. Sabathia trade may have got it all rolling...We'll get to that one another day...
The Indians still had another year on Lee's contract, when they had decided to trade the Cy Young winner in 2009...To me, it was way too soon to pull the trigger, especially since they had another year...But GM Mark Shapiro thought that he was getting a major haul...But really, as he has before, he got pushed around in the deal...He wanted top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, and outfielder Domonic Brown...The Phillies said no, no, no, no!
After some haggling, The Indians landed three AAA players...SS Jason Donald, C Lou Marson, and SP Carlos Carrasco...And a 19 year old Rookie Ball pitcher named Jason Knapp...
Carrasco was pretty much major league ready...In his first year he looked like a young stud, and was one of the most consistent arms on the staff...Then elbow issues slowed him down...Surgery has followed, and the Tribe will be without for all of this year...
Jason Donald, has become a good glove, light hitting utility infielder...This Spring he's also working in Center and Left field as the Indians try to find their every day man in Left since Michael Brantley has moved to center after another Grady Sizemore injury...
Then there is Lou Marson...Boy did they really try to sell what a solid defensive Catcher Marson is...This was partly because they were also moving Catcher Victor Martinez, who also still had another year on his contract...(another day for that trade as well)...Sadly, while Marson may have a good relationship with pitchers, he also was good at letting balls go right past him, and through his legs...There are still people who say he's really good defensively...They're blind! He's a below average Catcher, who can't hit righties even if his life depended on it...
Then there was Jason Knapp...When the Indians acquired Knapp, the hard throwing 19 year old, had already had a shoulder surgery...NOT A GOOD SIGN! Since he's been with the Indians organization, he's had two more shoulder surgeries...I'm guessing he'll never make the majors...
So let's recap...Cy Young winning, All-Star, Work-horse, Left-handed, pitching stud Cliff Lee was traded for a stiff Catcher, a utility fielder, a good pitcher with a bad elbow, and pitcher who has seen the operating room more then the baseball field...Phillies win...
I'm not saying the outlook would have been better if the Tribe got Drabek and/or Brown...Brown has had a couple looks with the Phillies, but is still in AAA, and Drabek was traded to Toronto for Roy Halladay, and has been up and down so far...But the Indians may have done better had they waited, and talked to more teams...
On a side note...The Indians acquired Cliff Lee when they Traded Bartolo Colon to Montreal...The Primary pieces in that trade were Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore...Lee was a throw in...Funny how these Baseball trades work out.
Despite my sound standing as a card-carrying baseball purist, there is one modern rule that I rule that I see as working and that’s the designated hitter rule. My philosophy on the matter is that if a guy doesn’t want to hit and isn’t properly trained to do so at all levels of the game, then he shouldn’t be sent up to the plate. Cut and dry, plain and simple.
If there was ever an argument for why pitchers shouldn’t hit and that the DH is a GOOD thing, this is it.
Now I know Cliff Lee has been in the American League for most of his career, but this is just ridiculous. Sure, it was a routine groundball, but you still have the responsibility to go down the line, even if it’s at just a mild jog.
The fact of the matter is this is a perfect example of the mindset of the hitting pitcher. Very few of them take any pride in the craft at all and either mail in the at-bat with three half-hearted swings or they pretend to know how to bunt properly. Most view the act of hitting as an opportunity for injury or simply don’t want to tire themselves ahead of returning to the mound the following inning.
Does it make any sense that the National League game is built around the concept that every third inning a team gets essentially two outs? Is there any question as to why National League games go faster when there is a built-in rally killer in every starting line-up?
Now, I’m not stating that the Designated Hitter is the end-all, be-all solution here. As I stated, I’m a purist at heart. The DH rule is designed to alleviate the issues caused by pitchers “hitting”. However, it in and of itself creates a similar problem by having another player on the roster who is only playing half of the game. That said the DH isn’t a solution that is going to both please the purists and fix the absolutely gruesome hitting by pitchers.
So the solution is obviously multi-faceted and will require that both leagues buy into it at the same time, both for a training and consistency basis.
1.) Require that pitchers hit at all levels of the minor leagues.
- Ability is derived from repetition and if they aren’t learning the art at the lower levels, then they won’t be able to manage it once they get on the big stage.
2.) Make stipulations in pitcher’s salaries dependent on hitting certain performance metrics at the plate.
- Let’s be honest here; pitchers make an absurd amount of money for only taking the ball every fifth game. Teams should require that they earn it by giving them performance bonuses in their contracts for hitting. Twenty-five percent of their contract value will definitely get them to take it a little more seriously.
3.) Fine pitchers for lack of effort at the plate and on the base paths.
- Come on now, every team has their “Kangaroo Court” in place to keep players honest. Let them police themselves if they can’t give the same effort the rest of their team is in trying to get them a win.
4.) Once everyone is up to speed, then eliminate the DH.
- The DH has served its purpose, but it won’t be needed if that slack if picked up by the pitcher. A consistent approach in both leagues enables trades to be less of a detriment to one side or the other.
So there you have my solution. It’s not fool proof, but it’s not difficult either. It all starts in the minors, where these guys are learning to play the game and play it right.
Then there won’t be any more nevermind waves from Cliff Lee when he grounds out to second.
Did Urban Meyer take the easy way out?? Is God a Bret Favre fan?? Congrats to the Beeze!! Congrats to George Karl! Are Jets Cheaters?? Down with the Dome?? Yankees swing and miss on a nasty curve.
Congratulations go out to Mr and Mrs. Beeze on the birth of their daughter Molly Kathleen.
The Gator nation was jolted last week with the sudden resignation of Urban Meyer. Urban was 64-15 in his 6 seasons in Gainesville. While Meyer’s says its to be with his family, I think it was for another reason. He was sticking up for his offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio. Gator fans were vocal about the crappy offense. They wanted the head of Addazio. Since Steve has taken over the offense has gone south for the winter. It started in Tim Tebow’s last year with the team and has continued this year. Urban has been steadfast that Addazio was going to be his offensive coordinator next year and he would not fire him. I think the only way to save face was to resign.
George Karl got his 1,000 win as coach. He is the 7th coach to reach that milestone. Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, and Larry Brown are the others to reach 1,000 wins. The more amazing thing is that Karl has battled prostate cancer in 2005 and had neck and throat cancer this year.
The original rules of the NBA, a 119 year old document written by James Naismith, was sold for $4.3 million dollars. Naismith wrote the 13 rules, the original rules of basketball, as a sport for boys of a YMCA in Massachusetts. The money was raised for the Naismith Foundation, a charity which promotes sportsmanship and provides services to underprivileged children around the world.
God has to be a Bret Favre fan as the Minnesota Vikings game against the New York Giants was moved from the Metrodome to Detroit’s Ford Field due to the collapse of the Dome. It looked as if Bret was going to snap his consecutive games played streak by sitting out because of shoulder problems. Now it looks like he will play because of an additional 36 hours of rest.
But wait. Stop the presses!! Could this be the blessing in disguise that the Vikings are looking for to get a new Stadium?? Divine intervention?? Who knows.
Just when you think you have seen it all in the NFL, out comes the Jets Sal Alosi, the strength and conditioning coach. Apparently Alosi tripped, with his knee, Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll as he ran out of bound during a punt coverage. Maybe Sal was doing knee exercises. For those that don’t know Nolan Carroll is the son of future Lieutenant Governor elect for the state of Florida.
Nice curve ball thrown by Cliff Lee. His signing to the Phillies makes them the frontrunner to the National League Pennant and possible World Series. Its not the end of the world for the Yankees. There are other options. They can get a free agent pitcher like Bonderman or via trades for, Josh Johnson, Grienke, or Felix Hernandez.
For all you non-Yankee fans they still will make the playoffs.
Pictures by: NBA Rules - AP/Babeto Matthews, Brett Favre - eworldpost.com, Urban Meyer - kaboommagazine.com, George Karl - sandiegonewsnet.org, Cliff Lee - waitingfornextyear.com
The scouting reports for Cliff Lee say he throws a solid curve-ball.
Before last night, I just didn’t know he could disguise it that well.
Lee helped pull perhaps the biggest free agent shocker of the winter when he turned away contracts from both the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees to take less money from the Philadelphia Phillies. Most fans didn’t know that Philadelphia was even in the mix until rumors started circulating late Monday night.
Lee’s new contract with Philadelphia is for 5-years, $120 million, far less that the rumored 7-year, $150 million plus that the Yankees were offering and certainly less than the smorgasbord of offers that the Texas Rangers had put into play. It just goes to show you, on rare occasions players will go with their hearts, not their wallets.
The move is certainly a coup for Philadelphia, who now sports a front four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, to form what is undoubtedly the best rotation in baseball. It’s also a big financial commitment for the Phillies, who had traded Lee a year earlier to shed salary and make room for Halladay.
Lee’s decision is also a big gain for the Boston Red Sox and the rest of the American League, as Lee stays out of pinstripes, spurning the Yankees when they badly needed the pitching.
New York is still left with some options, although a return engagement with Carl Pavano is unlikely. The Yankees can still look to deal prospects for Zack Grienke from Kansas City, but that package would ultimately have to include 3-4 high level prospects, including Jesus Montero, who is slated to be in New York’s line-up next season.
Texas on the other hand wanted in on Lee, but already had a plan in play as an alternative. They will now likely look to make a bold move on Adrian Beltre and then trade Michael Young for some pitching help. No doubt the team is disappointed in having to resort to plan B, but they also didn’t want to handcuff themselves in a similar fashion to the way they did with Alex Rodriguez. Texas will also check in on Grienke.
Just where is Philadelphia coming up with these funds? After locking up Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay last season and adding Roy Oswalt to the mix at the deadline, the Phillies finished 2010 with the fourth highest payroll in baseball at $142 million plus. Adding another $24 million will undoubtedly require the team to get creative next off-season in terms of moving salaries or raising ticket prices. However, a fervent fan base and a team that is showing dedication to keep winning should help ease that stress.
In the end, the Phillies continue to build off of their success and are now the clear favorites in the National League, maybe in all of baseball.