Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 5-17

I know Tribe fans are getting impatient and panicking, calling for every young prospect from AAA to be brought up, but ITS NOT WORKING.

These guys are not helping us win games and many of them haven't had enough time in AAA to have any business being up here in the first place.

Crowe was outmatched at the plate (and is still in AAA, batting under .200), Francisco has been outperforming LaPorta (ditto when Laporta plays 1B over Garko or DeRosa), Carroll is a better option than Valbuena (also putrid at the plate), and at this point I'd take Sowers or Zach Jackson as the 5th starter over what we saw from Huff today (not enough time at Columbus!). Bringing up Hector Rondon would be another mistake!

The veterans are going to need to turn it around to save this team. I have faith in Francisco, Peralta, even DeRosa and Carmona to help turn things around over the youngsters who aren't ready!

On the injury front, Hafner coming back will bump LaPorta back to AAA (unless Dellucci's .270 average plummets in that time), Westbrook will eventually bump out the #5 starter (I want Jackson, Sowers or Tomo Ohka right now), and Joe Smith will bump out one of the over-the-hill pen arms (Herges, Vizcaino).

Right now, I think there are a couple moves that can be made to help the team in the short-run.

Sent Jensen Lewis down to AAA, bring up Rich Rundles
- A lot of Tribe fans are anxious to see flamethrowing Jon Meloan (acquired in the Casey Blake deal) but the fact is that his over-6 ERA and tendency to walk people in AAA make him an unsafe option. Rundles has been pitching well for Columbus and has experience for the Tribe last September where he performed well in a short amount of time. He's also already on the 40-man roster which is a plus. I think everyone agrees that Lewis needs a sabbatical to figure out what is going wrong.

Give Sowers another shot
- I know what he did in his first two starts, but the fact is that there isn't anything left to prove for Sowers in AAA where he has an impressive ERA hovering around 2 and won a 2-1 decision tonight. I'm all for giving him a handful of starts until Westbrook comes back later in the summer and deciding his future at that point. I'm still waiting for the 2006 Sowers to reemerge. I know, though, that even if Sowers will never work out for the Indians, that we can boost his trade value in that time with some more exposure and some good starts. David Huff hasn't been in AAA long enough to be up here in the bigs (3.2 innings and 7 runs today) and Laffey is our best bullpen arm at this point, no sense moving him from that role.

Barfield up, Valbuena down
- Luis Valbuena is a promising young IF but he is just overmatched at the plate, batting around .100 at the time of this post. Josh Barfield was 3-3 with some runs scored in a very brief appearance earlier this month and I'd like to give him another shot as the starting 2B. Valbuena needs more time at AAA (see a pattern?) to work on his bat and Barfield can work at 2B with Peralta at 3rd, Cabrera at short with Garko/DeRosa getting a day off or DH-ing. At the worst, he can provide speed off the bench, something Valbuena does not.

Bringing em back - At some point, Lewis and Perez will need to come back to Cleveland and contribute to the pen. Perez may be ready soon, with an ERA of 0.00 in a handful of appearances, but Lewis would need some time. I'm gonna give Luis Vizcaino a chance to prove himself but if his one pitch walk-off Friday night was any indication, he's just another journeyman stiff. I'd consider removing some of those type of guys in our bullpen with those who have proven themselves for us in the past (Perez, Lewis, even Zach Jackson).

God bless us all

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