Tribe rolling the Dice-K with their pitching
First of all, let me just say that I’m as thrilled as anyone to see the Dolan family open their up-until-now hermetically-sealed wallets and acquire some free agent talent for the 2013 Cleveland Indians baseball season.
People wonder what prompted them to spend so "un-Dolan-like" this year, given that prior to this past winter, the Indians courted – and actually signed – free agents with about the same frequency of a papal resignation. I suggest that if you could have persuaded Mark Shapiro to divulge the projected 2013 Tribe attendance figures late last year, anticipated attendance numbers would have rivaled those of the official Mike Lombardi Fan Club.
Thus, painted into the proverbial corner, the Dolans really had no choice BUT to spend, or watch their approval rating sink to something about the same as that of your favorite member of Congress. Additionally, if the rumors about them wanting to sell the team are true, it would sure enhance their sales pitch if there were bona fide major leaguers on the roster.
Based upon the buzz generated by local sports talk shows and the media in general, there are some who fully expect the Indians to be serious contenders – if not actually run away with the division title – this year. Fans got caught up in the hoopla, too, witnessed by selling out the home opener against the Yankees in six – count ‘em, SIX – minutes. (Are those Cleveland minutes or, ahem, New York minutes)?
Now, far be it for me to rain on your parade, gang, but let’s think about this for a microsecond or two. On second thought, I have a better idea: Pop Quiz!
Everyone grab a sharp No. 2 pencil, and prepare to answer the following question: How many Indians pitchers – expected to contend for jobs in the STARTING rotation in 2013 - had winning major league records in 2012? Take all the time you need.
Oops, I lied, because… time’s up! Pencils down, calculators away, please. Let’s peruse the records of the projected starters up and see how many we get, okay?
Justin Masterson was recently named the opening day starter, and should have been, as he was the best starter the Indians had last year, even with an 11-15 record. Next, take Ubaldo Jimenez (please). Hmm…It appears our projected No. 2 starter went 9-17 last year. Ouch.
Brett Myers, signed as a free agent over the winter, went 3-8 as a reliever. Let’s hope they’re careful with him, or his arm will be in a sling by mid-June. Carlos Carrasco (rhymes with Tabasco) was injured and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011. Doesn’t the fact that the Indians are counting heavily on a guy who hasn’t pitched in almost two years make you a tad uneasy? If nothing else, I guess at least you can argue that Carrasco is "fresh."
Trevor Bauer, regarded as a head case the Arizona Diamondbacks couldn’t unload fast enough after only one year, went 1-2 in a brief stint with the big club. The Indians claim they can straighten him out. Given the tremendous "success" they had with their resident cuckoos-nest members of last year, Ubaldo Jimenez and Roberto (don't call me Fausto) Hernandez, wouldn't that be kind of like me thinking I’m going to ride this column to a Pulitzer?
Finally, add Daisuke (pronounced Dice-K) Matsuzaka to the mix as "insurance" – as the Indians put it - in case Bauer flops. Insurance against WHAT? Certainly not against whiplash incurred by Tribe fans watching ball after ball sail out of the park, as last year Dice-K posted a 1-8 record with a mind-numbing era of 8.28.
Gee – I think that gives us a grand total of zero guys who had winning records in the majors last year. NOW I understand all the optimism.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!