Thursday, November 06, 2008


As the Dawn of the Brady Quinn Era bears a striking resemblance to the Dusk of the Derek Anderson Era, let us think of Spring days and baseball, if just to take our minds off of football.

Oh yeah, and let’s release some Tomahawks:

Since the local media reports from the GM meetings has amounted to recapping things that were known in September or earlier (maybe Casey Blake will come back to fill the infield hole…the Indians will try to find a closer in a limited FA market for them…CC will be out of their price range) with little new insight, let’s go to some other sources to perhaps glean some information that may pertain to a situation facing the Indians this off-season.

This one comes by way of the Dallas Morning News, regarding how the Rangers are looking to move some of their catching depth for high-quality pitching.
That sounds just like another team I happen to know.
Not even getting into how we have to go deep into the heart of Texas for information that may give a glimpse into both how the Indians are going to find the market for Kelly Shoppach and what teams may be a match for young pitching, here’s the text from the story:
“At the GM meetings, the Rangers focused mostly on trying to get a better understanding of the pitching that could be available in a deal for their catching depth. It appears Boston, Florida and Detroit constitute the heart of the market.

On Wednesday, the Rangers were scheduled to meet with Florida officials. The Marlins, in perpetual payroll cutback mode, would like to move starter Scott Olsen. The Rangers are more focused on cheaper pitchers with higher ceilings, such as Ricky Nolasco or Anibal Sanchez.

The Florida conversation came a day after Daniels had a brief talk with Boston counterpart Theo Epstein about potential deals. Boston likes Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Rangers, in turn, have interest in pitchers Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Justin Masterson. Detroit, thin on young pitching, remains something of a fallback option.”

“Boston, Florida, and Detroit”, eh?
Let’s rule out Detroit as a trade between divisional rivals is unlikely (though not unheard of), but more because the Tigers emptied out their young, quality pitchers in their acquisitions of Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera last year.

It’s interesting that the Red Sox (who do have some young, quality pitching in the names noted above) and the Marlins (who have the same, with Nolasco and Sanchez being MUCH more attractive than Olsen) are the two teams that keep coming up and that both have somewhat of a surplus of young, From the perspective of teams looking for a catchers, the Texas surplus and Shoppach look to be the available players who represent a legitimate upgrade (and by that I mean, more than just a Gregg Zaun of Sal Fasano signing), with Shoppach as the most established player in terms of MLB production.

However, Shoppach is now arbitration eligible and will not be under club control as long as Teagarden and Salty would, so the teams will have to determine whether Shoppach (at a higher price and for fewer years) is more attractive than the less-proven commodities that the Rangers possess.

Our guest this week on “Smoke Signals” was the Indians’ top pitching prospect LHP Dave (and, yes, it is Dave) Huff, who was gracious enough to join us on Wednesday night.

The interview is both informative and insightful (I think)…that is, of course, once the usual “technical issues” (accompanied by some “More Than a Feeling”) that accompanied the start were ironed out.

It’s a bit of a rough patch at the start, if you’ll allow me to set the scene:
The problems started as neither my co-host Tony Lastoria nor I were able to log on to host the show at 9:30 PM for a solid 25 minutes as we sat and waited for word that the phone lines had been prepared for us to start by the company that hosts the show for us. Once I was able to log in, Tony was not – which led to the muffled start as I waited for Tony to call in. Once the first call came in around 10 PM, I simply asked the caller if it was Tony, to see if he had finally succeeded in getting on to co-host the show.

My assumption that Tony had joined in was met by the caller identifying himself as “Dave” (as in Dave Huff…oh, snap), who was right on time with his call into the show to be our guest a little after 10 PM. What ensued thereafter, were a wild couple of minutes in which my attempts to multi-task (work the switchboard, read texts from the still-trying-to-call-in Tony on my cell phone, AND begin the interview) make for some high comedy if only for the bewilderment being obvious in my voice.

Once things settled down (and papers stopped flying around my head when the interview started), I thought that Huff was both candid and insightful in getting into his phenomenal 2008 season and how he approaches what he takes very seriously as a job, with the support staff of his family (and notably his brother, a former college player) backing him up. Obviously, if you listen, it’s nice that Huff joined us right away in the (now) 30-minute show and talked through the whole show about his development as a pitcher, his repertoire, his injury from 2007 related to his mechanics, his approach (even getting into some pitch sequence strategy), and what 2009 may hold for him.

If you do take the time to listen, make sure not to bail out too early (or just fast-forward to the end if you’re pressed for time) as the technical difficulties continued right until the final moments as I couldn’t log off, leading to me not knowing that I was still on the air and summating my thoughts on the night with at “what a debacle.”

Not the Huff Stuff (ba-dum-bum)…just the absurdity of flying blind while trying to talk to one of the Indians who could figure very prominently into the Cleveland rotation in 2009.

Finally, here are a few more links to add to your daily visits in terms of Hot Stove Rumors, from and their stable of writers.
As an addendum to that, for Indians-only rumors, here’s the link provided from CastroTurf.

For something that does deserve it - Thursday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium…“what a debacle”.


G'son said...

The Huff interview was an interesting listen. He seems like a well grounded player that knows he's got the talent and ability to play at the highest level of baseball. He also sounded the need for continuing to improve.. afterall, it's been said, the second hardest thing for a young player to do is make it to the major leagues.. the hardest thing is to stay there..

What say you?

Paul Cousineau said...

I thought both Stevens and Huff were insightful in their thoughts on STAYING in MLB being much more important than just BEING in MLB. I'm sure it's an obvious thing for anyone to think about, but these 2 are certainly under the belief that they'll get there - so that's not their concern. They want to make sure that they don't have to leave when they get there.

Probably what every minor-leaguer hopes, but interesting nonetheless to hear it validated.