Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 6-5 loss Thursday, played four hours after the Indians made another trade just before Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline, sending shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Washington Nationals for infield prospect Zach Walters.
1) A majority of Indians fans acted as if they were about to jump off the 480 Bridge when the Indians followed the trade of Justin Masterson Wednesday with one that sent Cabrera to the Nationals for another prospect. I get the anger. It’s just directed at the wrong thing.
2) Fans shouldn’t be mad that the team got rid of the struggling Masterson or the slumping Cabrera. The pair was likely going to walk away after the season once they became free agents anyway because neither were performing well enough for the Indians to extend them qualifying offers to stay.
3) So rather than get nothing for either of them, including an extra draft compensation pick, the Indians added more depth in the minors with two prospects they sent to Triple-A Columbus in outfielder James Ramsey from the Cardinals in the Masterson trade) and infielder Walters from the Nationals. I have no problem with that line of thinking. None what so ever.
4) What I have a problem with is the team insisting they’re not raising the white flag on this season with two months to go. Sorry, but you can’t get rid of two major league starters and replace them with reserves or call up minor leaguers and expect fans to believe it’s not directed at having an eye on the future.
5) It was great to see Nick Swisher stand up for the organization that has stuck by him through his awful season this year, but he too, is missing the point.
“(Giving up on the season) wouldn’t even cross my mind,” Swisher said. “That’s not how we do things around here. It may have been in the past and that why people are saying that, but this is a different era.
“It should be the last thing people think. This is a new era of Indians baseball. However much people want to live in the past, they can. But this is not that type of organization. There’s no white flags in (the club house) - I can promise you that.”
6) Again, nice impassioned speech, but Cleveland fans are smarter than that - especially those who’ve been through this sell-not-buy pattern more times than they can count.
7) You want to convince fans otherwise? Do what Detroit did and go out and land one of the best pitchers on the trading block this year like the Detroit Tigers did in getting David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays. Or how about just land somebody in the big leagues that can the club RIGHT NOW.
Asked about the division rival Tigers hitting a home run by acquiring Price and Tribe General Manager Chris Antonetti had this to say: “They were a really good team two days ago and they're certainly a really good team right now. We know we have our work cut out for us.”
8) That might be the understatement of the season right there. As good as the division-leading Tigers are, they got even better. They’re not looking at winning the division, they’re aiming for another World Series title.
“(Price) is going to help them try to win some ballgames and go deep in the postseason,” Indians closer Cody Allen told reporters after the game. “But, we’re going to do our part to stay in this thing and hopefully meet up with them.”
9) I’d love to be wrong, but it’s not going to happen. Not with right-hander Zach McAllister in the starting rotation. McAllister (3-6, 5.91 ERA) turned in another brief outing Thursday, lasting a mere 3 1/3 innings while giving up four runs on eight hits in a lucky no decision.
10) After the game, Francona was asked how much longer the club could allow McAllister to continue working on finding his secondary pitches at the big league level. Understand, I believe Francona is one of the best managers in the game. But his response was as much of a fib as was him insisting Wednesday that his club would never throw in the towel.
“I didn’t even think of that,” Francona said of the possibility of McAllister being demoted to the minor leagues.
Yeah, and I’ll bet it’s no big deal that Price has just joined a rotation that already was one of the best in the division before his arrival.
11) Look, I get that the economics of the Tribe and that of the Tigers are on very different levels. I grew up in Cleveland. Truest me, I. Get. It.
I just don’t think it’s good practice to insult those following your club – whether it be fans or media - by insisting that what’s happening with the Tribe at the trading deadline this season is just being misunderstood.
The Indians are sellers. This year, they need to be. Given the makeup of this team and its struggles right now, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be. There are too many holes to fill for one player to make up for. So sell away, and admit you’re loading up for next season.