This is what I would do. I know its early, but 10 games into the season I have already seen a few weaknesses that need to be addressed. These are my observations so far 10 games in:
- Kelly Shoppach - The guy is an absolute MONSTER behind the plate. He needs to get more work as our starting catcher, even if he isn't that great of a threat at the plate. He single handidly won the 1st game in Milwaukee against the Angels.
- Ryan Garko - He is a beast at the plate, but I see why the Indians were conserned with his fielding. He won't challange anybody for a gold glove this season.
- Casey Blake - My god, what the heck can you even say about him. He is god awful. He is a good BACKUP because of his posistion versitality, but this guy does not need to be starting, let alone hitting 5th.
- Andy Marte - Wasn't this guy susposed to have an awesome glove? Where is it at? He looks like A-Rod in the field. Unfortently, he dosn't look like A-Rod at the plate.
- Jhonny Peralta - Improved from 2006, but not quite at 2005 form. Still has some issues in the field, seems to be fine at the plate.
- David Dellucci - He isn't helping us one bit really. If Dellucci was the answer, I don't want to know what the hell the qustion was.
- Jason Michaels - Plesently surprised with his defense and discipline at the plate. Would like to see his PT increased.
- Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, Josh Barfield, Grady Sizemore, Trot Nixon ect. - Right exactly where I expected them to be as far as performance goes. Pronk and Barfield are starting slow, but I'm not worried one bit.
- The bullpen - Plesently surprised as well. Roberto Hernandez looks like garbage most days, but the bullpen has, knock on wood, been one of the best in baseball.
Ok, So here is what I would do if I was the Cleveland Indians GM.
#1. I know you guys are going to hate my guts for saying this, but Atlanta despretly needs a 1st basemen, as the Craig Wilson/Scott Thorman combo is hitting a combined .182 with 1 home run this season. Now, don't look up my adress and come hunt me down yet, but I would send the Braves Ryan Garko in exchange for either Mike Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano. Both have a future in this game as dominant closers, and Gonzalez showed that last year. This puts Victor Martinez at 1B & Kelly Shoppach behind the plate full time, as well as adding one of the best relief pitchers in baseball to a already vastly improved bullpen.
#2. The Chicago Cubs have a few outfielders on their roster, but none of them are really living up to expectations. Alfonso Soriano, who could possibly move back into the infield if he defense isn't up to par, is hitting .245 with 0 HR and 1 RBI. Jacque Jones has the exact same stats. Matt Mourton is hitting .286 but with 0 home runs and 2 RBI. Cliff Floyd will miss the DL soon enough and go back home. What they might be able to use is a good left handed bat (especially when and if Floyd injures himself.) David Dellucci isn't a bad player by any means, he is an above average outfielder, he just dosn't fit into the Tribes plans too well IMO. Therefore, we trade David Dellucci for Cesar Izturis. Why Izturis? Because he is the second comming of Omar Vizquel with the glove, maybe even a tad bit better dare I say. Izturis plays 3B & SS, and the way our third basemen are playing now, Izturis could see a great amout of PT.
#3. If the Houston Astros want to compete this year, and in the future, they need to upgrade on a few posistions. They lack a CF, a MIF (for when Biggio allows the Astros to rid themselves of him) and a C. Package together Franklin Gutierrez (simply not enough room for him in our long term plans) Hector Luna (some clubs still see him as valuable, and his #'s are actually decent) Max Ramirez ( a top prospect & would be their catcher of the future) and since we would be getting a reliver in return, Jason Davis (he would be out of options) over to Houston for their ex-closer Brad Lidge. Lidge is still young, and I am not convinced he has lost it yet. This guy was a dominant closer for a few years in a row, a change of sceniory could really help him. The package above is more than enough, Davis is having a good year, Ramirez is who we traded our closer for in the 1st place last year, Luna is a fine MIF and Gutierrez is a top prospect.
#4. The Brewers are trying to make the playoffs and win themselves a world series NOW, not three years down the road. They've got a lot of the puzzle pieces together, but their their outfielders also arn't off to the best start (Bill Hall .180 AVG, Corey Hart .194) neither are their MIFs (Counsell .250, Graffino .217, Hardy .277.) We send them Joe Inglett who could help out at either MIF or OF. Also we send over promising prospect Brian Sikorski in exchange for Derrick Turnbow. Turnbow is just another reliver in their stacked pen, and be it a small sample size he looks back to 2005 form IMO. He could do wonders for our pen, and they despretly need a guy like Joe Inglett, so this deal couldn't be too hard to pull off. We even send another low-tier prospect if need be.
#5. The Devil Rays are growing very impatient with 1B-OF Jonny Gomes. He is about to be sent back down to the minor leagues, and rumor has it they want to rid theirselves of him while he still has some name value. Just to have a little extra power on the bench, we give away Roberto Hernandez and a very, very low tier prospect in exchange for Gomes. The D-Rays despretly need some bullpen arms, and Hernandez has 311 career saves and is coming off 2 impressive years with the Mets and Pirates prior to 2007.
These deals would be done around the AS break. So the 2007 Indians in the second half of the season:
Grady Sizemore, CF
Jason Michaels, LF
Travis Hafner, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Trot Nixon, RF
Andy Marte, 3B
Kelly Shoppach, C
Josh Barfield, 2B
Cesar Izturis (2b-3b-ss)
Johnny Gomes (1b-lf)
Casey Blake (1b-3b-rf)
Shin-Soo Choo (lf-rf)
Aaron Fultz/Tom Mastny