It is draft day for the Cleveland Indians. It sounds like a good day for the Tribe, but will it be?
Traditionally, The Indians haven't been strong on draft day. CC Sabathia, a 1998 draftee, is the last first rounder to be a major contributor at the major league level.
Since the 1988 selection of Charles Nagy, only Sabathia, Manny Ramirez (1991), Paul Shuey (1992) and Jaret Wright (1994) have made a legitimate impact for the Indians. Jeremy Sowers (2004) went 7-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 14 starts in 2006.
Stephanie Storm writes that this draft will be about pitching. I wonder how many left-handed arms will be in that group?
The Indians have signed some of their better talent as nondrafted free agents: Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Fausto Carmona, Rafael Perez and Hector Rondon.
The rest of the roster has come via trades and free agency. Cleveland Indians general manager Mark Shapiro earns his money by purging other team's minor league talent to supplement his own organization.
By trading Casey Blake and Sabathia last year, Shapiro picked up his best two prospects in the organization in catcher Carlos Santana and outfielder/first baseman Matt LaPorta.
The Club as a whole is still built on the Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew for Lee Stevens, Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips trade, Although Stevens and Phillips are long gone. one of the first trades Shapiro made as GM.
The draft will create some excitement today, but don't plan on it being team altering any time soon.
Kind of odd, but Shapiro extended a helping hand to Pirates GM Neal Huntington this week.
Huntington, a former Indians front office member, is under fire from his players and fans for trading outfielder Nate McLouth for three prospects last week.
"As another general manager in a very similar market with similar challenges, I can say that the move was not only understandable but also wise," Shapiro said. "The greatest challenge in building a sustainable winner in these markets is ensuring that the pitching and position-player talent line up. Sometimes, that involves painful and tough decisions that are not easily understood by fans or players. In this case, it appears to me from the outside that Neal and the Pirates have made a good, tough decision that gives them the potential to have a championship core in place in the not-too-distant future."
"I don't think there are too many happy people around here right now," Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel said that day, sounding strikingly similar to Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche's comment last week to the Post-Gazette that, "There ain't a guy in here who ain't ticked off."