After a wild week and a half, it's time to talk Tribe (despite the 2-4 start to the road trip). A few thoughts as I've been watching the last few games:
- The Juan Gonzalez thing was a fiasco only in that the media had hyped him up to be the savior of the offense. Had the offense been playing RELATIVELY decently, it would have merely been a blip. It was ridiculous though, to see him pull up lame on his first at-bat! I was watching the game and had just finished saying something to the effect of, "if he could only stay healthy." Manning's reaction was classic with an understated "Oh, no..." as the camera wasn't even on Gonzalez. Manning's always good for an articulation of what Joe Fan is thinking. Even my bride said, "Did that really just happen?"
- It sounds like there's more to this Eddie Murray thing than meets the eye. Ever notice that Easy Eddie NEVER sat with the "Brain Trust" of Wedge, Bell, and Willis (if you can call that triumverate a "Brain Trust")? He was always off near the camera bay with his big head, surly disposition, and great mustache. I don't think he ever got along with Wedge, but was protected by his friendship with Shapiro (Shapiro's father was Murray's long-time agent). The season had reached a breaking point with the offense, though, and changes had to be made. It's not like Luis Isaac (who I think still throws BP) was going to get the blame.
- The loss of Buddy Bell doesn't concern me that much (remember we did OK after he left in the 90's), though I'm still not 100% confident in the Atomic Wedgie as a manager. I understand that the bunt is discouraged in the Moneyball world of the Tribe front office, but NOBODY can execute a simple bunt. One huge difference between the White Sox and the Tribe on offense (both are near the bottom of the AL in team offense) is that the White Sox do the little things to manufacture runs. I know that these are terms heard often, particularly this year, but the series in Chicago could not have made it more obvious.
- I'm becoming more resigned to the fact that the Indians are the 3rd best team in the Central. They were beaten by both the Twins and the White Sox, with a lot at stake this early in the season. All of the games are close, but they don't count ties, close games, or moral victories in the standings.
- I think that changes are still to come. My buddy Dozer thinks that a trade needs to be made to shake things up. But who? Nobody wants Boone or Blake, and I can't see Shapiro trading one of the players who is actually producing (Broussard, Gerut, Belliard), so I don't know what can be done. It's not as if the team is one bat away from ripping through the month of June; the problem is deeper than that. Unless Derek Shelton turns out to be the hitting coach equivalent of Leo Mazzone, I don't see this offense doing a 180 anytime soon.
- To Shapiro's credit, he recognized the need for a RH bat this offseason. Let's go through the checklist and the results: Boone (oops), Gonzalez (ouch), Blake to a long-term deal (oh man). Who's going to be the right handed stick in this lineup? Belliard? Peralta? Everyone is either a lefty or a switch hitter.
That's enough venting for one post, though there's still a lot on the table here. I know that the tone was rather negative, but it's hard not to be when you watch the good ship Wahoo go down like this.