A rundown of the contenders for the two open Indians rotation slots. Thurston or Cora: who's the man at second? This could be a big season for Ichiro! on the Mariners' career lists. All this and more news and notes from Seattle, Los Angeles, and Cleveland in today's Triple Play.
Milton Bradley was among the best CFs in the league this season, despite persistent rumors about his bad attitude. The Dodgers finally are let loose from coporate ownership. And the Mariners are just beginning their search for a new GM. All this and much more news from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Tuesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Exeunt: With their season done, the Indians can now focus on more esoteric matters, such as the status of coaches Eddie Murray and Buddy Bell. Both will likely be candidates or at least short-listers for the managerial openings in Baltimore and Chicago. Murray will, of course, be a strong contender in Baltimore, where Peter Angelos is attempting to rebuild the 1982 Orioles, this time in the front office. Ultimately, as much as no one wants to say this out loud, it doesn't really matter to the Indians if either one stays. That's an odd thing about the syndrome that causes bad teams to latch on to recent retirees for public relations or "feel good" reasons. If it turns out that the addition of these guys is either harmful or ineffectual, you can end up with a bit of an albatross. In this case, the Indians don't have that problem, and are largely tangential to the story line that'll become extant when Bell or Murray is hired to manage.
Casey Blake isn't quite as good as the Indian front office thinks he is; Paul Lo Duca has hit the wall; and the Mariners and the A's share similar schedules down the stretch. All this and much more news from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
AVG OBP SLG
Pre All-Star .221 .289 .423
Post All-Star .292 .364 .521
Unfortunately for the Indians, Milton Bradley's out until at least mid-September with a nasty back bruise. There may be some sort of Ohio statute that prohibits the Indians from fielding a lineup with more than one hitter that actually worries opposing teams. If Hafner gets hurt just before Bradley gets back from the DL, it's probably a States' Rights conflict of some sort.
Grady Sizemore has usurped Victor Martinez as Impressive Indian of the Future; Hideo Nomo likes his time away from home; and Jeff Nelson gets dealt just days after criticizing the M's front office. All this and much more news from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Neap:Grady Sizemore has usurped Victor Martinez's mantle as Impressive Indian of the Future. Sizemore's holding his own at Double-A Akron, hitting .305/.364/.474 with 63 Ks in 463 PA; very good numbers for a player during his age 20 season in the Eastern League. (Sizemore turned 21 last week.) Michael Aubrey's been dropped in at 1B in the Sally League, and is rapidly adjusting to his new surroundings. Look for one or both to get a cup of coffee next September and to compete for playing time in Cleveland in the Spring of 2005.
The Indians front office is taking management advice from Charles Nagy. Guillermo Mota has been outstanding for the Dodgers. And any way you slice it, Jeff Cirillo has been a bust in the truest sense of the word. All this and much more news from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
First-Half Top Performers:Milton Bradley, C.C. Sabathia, Jody Gerut, David Riske. In reality, the first half report for the Indians should really be written in the 2004 off-season, as Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, and the rest of Indian front office is working on a longer time horizon, much to their credit. Milton Bradley has turned into the player once promised by some gaudy and memorable minor league numbers. He's looking like a younger and hopefully more durable Ellis Burks, and he'll be manning center at Jacobs Field for the forseeable future.
Milton Bradley is turning into a legitimate superstar for the Indians; Eric Gagne is on pace to have perhaps the greatest season ever for a reliever; and the Mariners' bench is made up of a number of soon-to-be Tigers. All this and much more news from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
AVG OBP SLG EqA VORP
Bradley .336 .440 .518 .342 38.3
Baldelli .309 .335 .446 .278 16.8
It's something we've said before, but it's worth pointing out again; major-league baseball players are the best in the world at playing baseball. They're not necessaily the best in the world at evaluating baseball players. They'll continue to be a part of the All-Star process, but it's not necessarily an improvement over the old way of doing things. Any electorate that would submit more votes for Rocco Baldelli than for Bradley deserves to have its judgment questioned.
Milton Bradley is flourishing in obscurity; the Dodgers offense is bad--and we mean bad; and manager Bob Melvin is not getting the most out of Arthur Rhodes. All this and much more from Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Breakin' the Rules: Jackie Robinson gets more press, but Larry Doby's courage and perseverance are no less deserving of attention and respect. Doby passed away this week at the age of 79, and he'll be remembered (and rightfully so) for breaking the color barrier in the American League. Kind of lost in the shuffle is what a truly great player Doby was. Click on that link above and review his performance record. Doby could do it all, and did so despite a lack of support from his teammates, receiving constant verbal assaults from fans at each ballpark, and under persistent social pressure the likes of which we can't fully understand. Our condolences go out to the Doby family, and our gratitude goes out to Mr. Doby for the effort he put into the best game ever created.
The Indians sort through tall pitching prospects as the Quest For 2005 continues. The Dodgers offense is bad--like historically bad. The Mariners' insane love affair with Dan Wilson rolls on. Plus other news and notes out of Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
Noteworthy Prospect:Jason Bere's on the DL after coming off the DL, and it looks like he'll be there for a while. To cover, the Indians have called up LHP Brian Tallet from Triple-A Buffalo. Tallet's a big dude with a not particularly impressive fastball, complemented by a nice breaking pitch and changeup. We gave him a nice write-up, and John Sickels had him at No. 14 on his Top 50 pitchers list in the Baseball Prospects Book 2003. To date in Triple-A, he's pitched 59 innings, giving up 51 H, 7 HR, 26 BB, and 50 K. It's a credit to the Indians that they're willing to give him a shot, rather than carping endlessly about how he should throw harder, given how tall he is.
Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard return to first base musical chairs. Adrian Beltre carries the banner of the BP Curse. Jeff Cirillo may still have a pulse. Plus other news and notes on the Indians, Dodgers, and Mariners.
Swappin' Out:Travis Hafner's broken toe landed him on the 15-day DL, and Shapiro et al. called up Ben Broussard to take over the roster spot. Hafner's shown the occasional sign of breaking out of his persistent funk, but there's definitely an opportunity for Broussard (who wasn't hitting at triple-A Buffalo) to get hot and make a decision difficult for the front office when Hafner comes off the DL. But he'll have to get very hot.
Major League Baseball's governing documents aren't intended for public consumption..
Major League Baseball's governing documents aren't intended for public consumption. But when I recently spent two quality hours with a 1999 edition of the Major League Agreement and Major League Rules, I took detailed notes of certain key provisions. I don't think any of these sections have been amended since then.
Orioles' owner Peter Angelos has repeatedly warned MLB against moving the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C. or northern Virginia. But can he stop the move? That may depend on where the club would play.
Lost between the Mike Hampton and Alex Rodriguez signings
was Monday's annual Rule 5 draft. The major-league portion allows teams to
select players left off 40-man rosters for $50,000, with the caveat that
the player must be kept on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back
to his original team for $25,000. The minor-league portions work similarly,
but without the mandatory roster provision.