This post is going to be a: figure it out on your own terms kind-of-post.
Cleveland Indians – The Glory Years, and, 2007
1994 2nd 66 47 .584
1995 1st 100 44 .694
1996 1st 99 62 .615
1997 1st 86 75 .534
1998 1st 89 73 .549
1999 1st 97 65 .599
2000 2nd 90 72 .556
2001 1st 91 71 .562
(5 seasons out of it)
2007 1st 96 66 .593
(3 seasons out of it)
2007 Cleveland Indians – starters
C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
2B Josh Barfield
SS Jhonny Peralta
3B Casey Blake
LF Jason Michaels
CF Grady Sizemore
8 Franklin Gutierrez
DH Travis Hafner
also on team
Sox See What May have Been (Boston herald, Tuesday, May 24)
CLEVELAND — When last night’s game finally got started, it was hard not to notice who was there.
And who wasn’t.
Justin Masterson was highly visible, throwing the first pitch for the Indians to his former teammates.
Victor Martinez, the player responsible for Masterson’s presence, was 169 miles away serving as the Detroit Tigers designated hitter.
The story of how Masterson became a reliable, effective starter for the major leagues’ best and most surprising team began July 31, 2009. That’s when he was traded by the Sox, along with left-hander Nick Hagadone (who recently was promoted to Triple A after posting excellent relief numbers in Double A) and right-hander Bryan Price, to the Indians for Martinez, who still had an affordable 2010 option on his deal before becoming eligible for free agency.
The Red Sox [team stats] never were willing to ink Martinez to the four-year deal he wanted, opting to use some of the dollars they saved on him and Adrian Beltre for even bigger contracts for Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Considering the Sox also will have the 19th pick in the first round of next month’s draft, and a supplemental pick, as compensation from the Tigers, it’s not fair to say they got nothing out of the Martinez deal. Don’t forget, Martinez hit .313 with a .865 OPS, 28 home runs and 120 RBI in 183 games with the Sox.
Still, last night the Sox came face to face with Masterson, who is 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA after tossing 72?3 strong innings in the Tribe’s 3-2 win. Martinez, with his .303 average, four homers and 25 RBI, was nowhere to be found.
“At this juncture in time, it looks as if the trade accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, but examining a trade at any static moment is difficult to really do,” said Mark Shapiro, currently the president of the Indians who dealt with Sox general manager Theo Epstein in the Martinez deal. “In the end, one thing we accomplished with that trade is that you want trades to be a win-win because you want them to be a platform for the next trade. So, Victor did exactly what we told Theo he would do. And, Masterson is developing into the pitcher that we hoped he could develop into. There was some uncertainty there. And Hagadone looks to be the guy we thought he would be.”
If the Masterson-Martinez trade stood out like a sore thumb to Sox followers last night, imagine how the game must have appeared to Seattle fans. The Mariners likely do not feel as if they are in a win-win situation after dealing with the Indians, who sent Ben Broussard and cash to Seattle for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in one deal and Eduardo Perez for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in another in the span of a month in the summer of 2006.
The small-market Indians and Shapiro have had to make other deals, of course: Bartolo Colon had to go, which brought in Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. CC Sabathia was dealt for first baseman Matt LaPorta and center fielder Michael Brantley, Casey Blake for catcher Carlos Santana and Mark DeRosa for closer Chris Perez.
11-2 against Seattle and Kansas City, the Tribe is 19-13 against everybody else so far.
Baseball is my first sportsbo passion, ever since I was a kid. I could go into this but suffice to say it has a pace like that of my personality, and, similarly, weird and wonderful stuff happens in baseball on a regular basis.
By opening day, I had put in the hour of talent analysis, and, figuring Sizemore and Hafner were unlikely to have a career year ever again, and figuring the bullpen was mostly an X factor, and writing Fausto Carmona down for no more than ten wins, and, ignoring spring training, I came up with an “informed” estimate of the team’s potential: 65-75 wins.
I’m not sticking to this estimate anymore; 80-90 wins.
It’s been amusing to hear the homers call into the post game radio sports shows to highlight the spooky accuracy of their pre-season prognostications.
I told my freeplay pal and baseball elder Tom that there was one factor above all the rest I was most blown away with, in the revitalization of the Cleveland Indians. Manny Acta. He agreed. I highly recommend fans visit his Wikipedia page for the background.
Baseball, globally speaking, seems to be trending to 1968, with the advantage tipped toward the throwers. This is dandy as far as I am concerned. This also meshes with the Tribe’s main strength, pitching on both the major league roster and throughout the minor league system.
The Indians are really fun to watch. More fun than the 2007 team that scored a lot of runs, almost got back to the world series, and featured musical chairs in the bullpen. They are embarking on a very challenging part of the schedule without Sizemore and Haffner, so, even with another win against the Bosox in the pockets, the next three weeks will really show us what this team is made of.