Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ken Rosenthal Likes the Indians Now....FireJay Author Refuses to Make Bad Pun on Name "Bourn"

Boy, did the Cleveland Indians suck last year.  They were 68-94, and Pythag suggests they were even worse.  But now they've signed a decent complimentary cog and a pretty good CF and they're relevant again!  Or, at least, Ken Rosenthal says they are.  So uh....there's that.

My initial knee-jerk reaction: Terry Francona's new team, the Cleveland Indians, might be better than his old one, the Boston Red Sox.

My initial knee-jerk reaction:  Terry Francona's new team, the Cleveland Indians, might be the 4th best team in the AL Central.

That probably (likely?) is overstating it, but say this for the Indians:

They suddenly are relevant again.

You're really stretching the definition of that word.  Relevant?  Relevant how?  Playoff contender?  Team that people are sort of talking about when discussing recent baseball news?  I'm obviously commenting here with the benefit of hindsight because I already read your shit article and know that it doesn't actually have a point, but I'd really like to know what you're getting at here.

Relevant because of Francona.


Relevant because of Nick Swisher.

Swisher's a nice player.  Really, he is.  But the Indians won 68 games last year.  68.  Nick Swisher on a good year gives you 3-4 wins, or basically what the Indians could have expected from that South Korean guy they traded out of town.

And relevant because of their latest stunning addition, free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn.

Still no.  But maybe I can't say that for sure since "relevant" remains pretty damn undefined.  Rosenthal makes no progress towards that goal and instead goes on to explain a bunch of tangents about the national TV deal (that affects all teams, not just the Indians) and that the Indians got good value for Bourn (they did) due to comparable free agent contracts and the fact that draft pick compensation wouldn't hurt them as much as a team that was, you know, good last year.  So I'm going to cut out a chunk of this that does nothing to explain why the Indians are relevant.

Bourn’s problem in the market wasn’t just draft-pick compensation; Upton faced the same hindrance. The Braves and other clubs thought Bourn’s agent, Scott Boras, was unrealistic in his expectations. And Bourn, let’s face it, is not without flaws.

His value is dependent almost entirely on his speed. He strikes out too much, his on-base percentage is just OK for a leadoff hitter and he declined markedly after the All-Star break last season.

All pretty concerning issues for a guy turning 30 this year.  But at least his making-teams-relevant quotient hasn't been hurt too badly!

Well, the Indians will take him — take his base-stealing ability, his elite defense in center field, his average of 153 games played over the past four seasons.  The Cleveland rotation probably won’t be good enough for the team to compete with the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. But offensively, Francona’s new club sure is interesting.

Boy howdy is it.  They've got a bunch of new guys that aren't the same as the old guys.  Sure they won't compete for a division title, but Ken Rosenthal finds them interesting.  You should too!

If Drew Stubb hits, the Indians can go with an outfield of Bourn in center, Stubbs in right and Michael Brantley in left — second, perhaps, only to the Braves’ in defensive ability.

Somewhere the Angels' outfield is crying.  Also: nice editing.

Swisher would play first base and Mark Reynolds would be the DH in that scenario.

If Stubbs falters, Swisher can play right and Reynolds first; Jason Giambi, a non-roster invitee to spring training, represents an intriguing option at DH. The Indians also can try to acquire more pitching by trading Stubbs or — if they want a bigger return — Brantley.

Which they'd better try soon, because.....

As it stands, their rotation will be led by Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and free-agent signee Brett Myers, with Carlos Carrasco the likely No. 4. Newcomers Trevor Bauer, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Scott Kazmir also are options, along with holdovers Zach McAllister and Corey Kluber.

And THERE's the meat of my beef with this whole damn piece.  Except for Bauer (who isn't a proven commodity yet), these pitchers are all terrible.  Jimenez is damaged goods, Masterson has put together one respectable season in his last 4, Myers' strikeout rate went down as a reliever last year, so go ahead and let me know how that's going to work in the rotation, Carrasco was interesting a few years ago but is coming off Tommy John and never really developed a good MLB track record, and Dice-K and Kazmir are all but washed up.  The guy who had the most success in this group last year was McAllister, and he weighed in at -0.5 WAR.  This rotation is not only "not good enough for the team to compete with the Detroit Tigers".  It's straight up putrid.  Relevance!  

It’s not an inspiring group, and actually could prove to be quite a mess if Masterson and Jimenez don’t improve upon their 2012 performances.
Projecting something better than a dead cat bounce for those two guys would be a mistake.
But the improved outfield defense should enhance the pitching, and a better offense should help, too.
What the hell does having a better offense do to fix Ubaldo Jimenez?  I'll buy the outfield defense helping, but seriously, we're talking about one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball here.
I’ll be watching. We’ll all be watching.
If that ain't a hyperbola, I don't know what is.
The Indians suddenly are a must-see team.
And by extension, so are 12 other AL teams.  Tell you what.  You go ahead and keep your eye on the Indians for me and let me know how that's going in August.  It's clear you don't think that swapping out Choo for Bourn, Swisher, Reynolds, and Francona (heh) makes the Indians a contender, so why are you trying to make a point that they're now a "must-see" team?  This article was a total waste of time.  I expect better from someone writing for foxspor....nevermind.


Gulag said...

My rebuttal to this article:

jacktotherack said...

Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and a big pile of shit for a starting rotation...sounds like a must see squad to me.

Chris W said...

The Indians are like Must See Tv...when it was The Single Guy and Caroline in the City