Why this trade is all “right” for the Tribe

   On the eve of the Indians annual winter press tour rumors began swirling that the Tribe was about to trade popular outfielder Coco Crisp to Boston and the immediate reaction was outrage and shock.  Then after a few days rumor spread that the deal was dead because of a failed physical by one of the players coming to Cleveland.  The deal was revived when Boston added a conditional player to be named later and now its time to sort out what happened and why.

   The Indians lose Crisp (starting leftfielder), David Riske (right-handed set-up man), Arthur Rhodes (Left-handed set-up man) and Josh Bard (back-up catcher).  In return they get right-handed hitting Jason Michaels, who will take Crisp’s spot in left.  Guillermo Mota, a right-handed set-up man and Kelly Shoppach who will compete for the back-up catcher spot.

   The key player however is third base prospect Andy Marte.  He came from the Braves farm system which has always been rich in developing position players.  Marte was rated the 9th best prospect in all of baseball and he fills a huge future void for the Tribe at third base.  Aaron Boone is signed through this season with an option for ’07.  The problem the Indians had was looking ahead to free agency they didn’t see anyone available to help and down on the farm they had no one with the ability of Andy Marte.  Plus, the Indians have a number of young outfielders in the system that will be major league ready within 2 years.  Brad Snyder is on the fast track and he’s slated to start the year at AA before quickly moving to AAA Buffalo.  Snyder hit .280 at AA last year with 16 homers and can play all 3 outfield spots.  Andy Marte meanwhile is a right-handed bat with power and he’s already spent time in the big league’s at the age of just 21.

   The Indians have been left-handed "heavy" for the past several years and Marte and Michaels help to solve that problem.  Coco Crisp hit .297 and .300 over the past two seasons but, against left handed pitching he hit just .248 last year with only 5 of his 16 homers coming against southpaws.   His on base percentage of .299 also tells you that he’s a bit of a free swinger and doesn’t draw many walks.  Jason Michaels on the other hand hit .323 against leftys and his OBP was a hundred points higher than Coco’s.

   Guillermo Mota, if healthy, is a big addition to a bullpen that lost Bob Howry to free agency.  He’s a big strong guy who throws hard.  He led the National League in relief innings pitched in ’03 and ’04 but, was hurt in ’05 and only pitched 67 innings.  To ease some of the Tribe’s concerns Boston will send the Indians a player to be named later based on what kind of a year Mota has.

   Losing Arthur Rhodes is no concern if Mota is healthy.  Despite being left-handed he couldn’t get leftys out.  Rhodes allowed left-handed batters to hit 131 points higher than rightys and he really struggled his last two months with the Tribe.  In June and July he pitched in 21 games and allowed 6 earned runs and 15 hits in 18 innings while walking 8 batters.

   David Riske has been a productive pitcher out of the bullpen but, the Indians feel Fernando Cabrera could be ready to take over that role.  Plus they brought in Danny Graves and Steve Karsay to help bolster the middle relief corps.

   Kelly Shoppach is a 25-year old catcher who was Boston’s 2nd round pick in the 2001 draft.  He was named to the post season International League All-Star team last year and he belted 26 homers during the year at AAA.  Unfortunately for Josh Bard he never saw any playing time because Victor Martinez caught 147 games and he really struggled in the back-up role.  He doesn’t figure to see the field in Boston though where incumbent Jason Varitek is the leader of the Red Sox.

   After all of the analysis this is still a hard trade for many fans to swallow.  Coco Crisp became a popular player while the Tribe rebuilt from the ashes and became a legitimate contender last year.  I believe however that Mark Shapiro and his staff are trying to help this team for the ’06 season and beyond.  While many are already saying the Tribe took a step backwards with this deal, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.  Remember the outrage when the Indians didn’t bring back Omar Vizquel?  Turns out the Tribe knew what they were doing with Jhonny Peralta.  Maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt on this one. 


I know the trading of CoCo Crisp is a huge mistake.I don’t have to set in a dugout or sit behind a mic to know what I say is true.I often times listen and smile when you share your thoughts.I also think you sugar coat things.You are my favorite however.
So often we hear rebuilding and how we have to be creative.

To me…those are words that sabatoge.

When our players emerge as good quality players…we don’t make enough effort to give them the money they will bring on the open market.Following the pattern of the 90’s of signing your players to long term…In a few players you might…but players now knowing the tribe’s unwillingness to pay…that now is loud and clear! Why do you think high profile players pass on Cleveland? They are not committed!They are for the most part Farm system rich.It’s nice to see that we are running the farm system for the MLB.Thanks to Montreal leaving we hold that title.

Oh..and Omar even though he was a fan favorite…he was getting long in the tooth and we knew we had players who were looking to be the next SS

Matt no disrespect to you or the front office but this trade can only be described with one word…stupid…and it is going to ruin the ’06 season. The guys they got are ok players but the guys they traded are great players and now their just going to give them up on a stupid trade. This is the tribe’s reputation, they get guys bring them up and just when they get good they let them go and they become big stars. There is many examples like Omar, Manny, Thome, Lofton, Belle, and now Coco i mean when is it going to stop,when are they going to get their stuff together and deside to build a winning team for once. Do they actually wonder why we havent won a world series since ’49? I mean its just stupid now were gonna be just like the reds in last place. I know im not in the front office but I do know that you dont trade away your most consistent player that hit 300 last year and gives you 100% effort every time he steps onto the field. That is just asking to lose. It doesnt make sense to me i really think they have lost their minds. I am the one of the biggest tribe fans out there and i do know a thing or two about the game and i respect this team but when you make stupid front office moves like that it makes it that much harder for others to respect this team.

I don’t like this trade for purely emotional reasons. I enjoy watching Coco Crisp play baseball. I like his hustle. I like his style. and he does produce. The tribe management should not discount this. I support the tribe and watch the games and buy the products for purely emotional reasons too, for now.

This is a good trade for Cleveland. Coco is a great talent but he seldomly walks and has often looked lost in the field. It’s easy to be blinded by some great catches he has been able to make but he has had some problems geting a good jump on balls hit hard. Boston has lost their mind if they think he can play centerfield. And even if this trade doesn’t pay off until next year when Marte is ready for 3B, we still could trade for a LF’er before the trade deadline. It would be NICE to have somebody in LF that could drive in 100 runs.

Personally I feel this was an all around good trade, Granted I am a Red Sox fan. But there is no denying the need the sox had for CF and, they not only addressed that but they got a sound Leadoff hitter in CoCo Crisp. I’m very excited to see him succeed Damon because he is considerably younger and unlike Damon he has his best years ahead of him. For Clevenland I think it was smart, Boone is what seems to be in the twilight of his career, and is streaky at best. Not to mention Marte is a right handed power hitter which is extremely hard to find in a corner infielder, Which is another plus to a heavy Lefty Cleveland Lineup. Marte is young, durable, and has strength I think right now it may not seem right,and I can imagine the waiting game is getting old out there in Cleveland but theres no denying he has a great future ahead of him.

I have a wait and see attitude on this trade. Although I am a big fan of Coco’s, I have been a tribe fan for almost 50 years now and I think Mark is a good GM who knows what he is doing. We may not see the wisdom here, but I think Mark is not quite done and there are other moves to come.

I will admit I have new concerns about our bullpen, but I beleive last year’s pen over acheived and could not duplicate production even if it remained as it was.

My biggest concern going into spring training is a lack of speed and aggressiveness on the base paths. We need to pressure the opposing pitchers more than we have in the past.

I am going to make a predicition here: I think there is one more big trade or free agent aquisition yet to come before we break spring training. Look for a big bat outfielder or first baseman to arrive via a trade of our surplus bodies after possibly signing a guy like Jeff Weaver.

I’m disappointed. I’m worried. I’d like a World Series championship.

This move will not help us even make the playoffs. We have to compete with the White Sox. The White Sox!!!Not spending money and assembling prospects won’t even get us close to the White Sox.

Alright you say this is a good deal for the tribe…
How is it good for the 2006 season? So Michaels is going to make us forget about Coco.

He couldn’t even start in Phila. ,and it looks to me like he has some kind of authourity problems.

This whole deal looks to me like they’re just trying to save a buck. The Mota part of it baffles me. Last year he misses over a month with Elbow & Shoulder problems while posting a sparkling 4.70 era is a weaker hitting National league. Ok Mota had a good 2004 season, but his 2003 seasons era was over 4.

I guess Boston pretty much paid his salary thought…I guess that makes it ok.

I’m disappointed. I’m worried. I’d like a World Series championship.

This move will not help us even make the playoffs. We have to compete with the White Sox. The White Sox!!!Not spending money and assembling prospects won’t even get us close to the White Sox.

Right now I don’t know what to think of the Coco trade. Obviously Shapiro sees something that the rest of us just don’t. As fans our judgment is clouded with emotion.Sure Coco was a fan favorite, but I think he is a bit overrated. Losing him is still tough, but it is not the end of the world. As tribe fans we should not give up on our team simply because of an unpopular decision.

I do not understand why the majority of Indians fans can not understand the position of the Indians. We are a small market team. We don’t get the gate or the revenue of the Yankees or Red Sox. We don’t have a 3rd basemen in the minors near any quality or potential of Marte. Its not often you can get a guy with 35+ HR potential. We are not the Yankees who can trade for A-Rod and his crazy contract. So we have to be a bit more creative in the way we acquire this type of player. The same fans screaming at this trade were screaming when they did not sign Omar. Or said they wouldn’t go down to the Jake during a playoff race because Larry Dolan doesn’t spend any money. Maybe they were screaming when the Indians traded Chuck Finley to the Cardinals for some guy named Coco Crisp. In order for us to be successful we have to have a continued wave of talent being developed in the minors. In the late 90’s the well was dry, and team was dismantled. All of our current players will not fit into the Indians long term plans. Thats reality in Cleveland, and most other baseball markets. So when a great opportunity slaps you in the face like this one, you have to go for it. Billy Beane probably took a beating in Oakland last year by trading Mulder and Hudson. But they appeared alright. After all, you were probably the same people calling this a team of minor leaugers last year. Have faith in Shapiro.

You know, like most, I was completley outraged at first. Im only 21, but Ive been a Cleveland fan since October of ’84 when I was born. At first, this bothered me more then losing people like Manny, Thome, Bartolo and Omar. But honestly, Ive settled down, and I dont think its as bad as it sounds. I appreiacte your breakdown of the deal, and in someways maybe it does make sense. But mainly, what Ive been telling myself is, even if this doesnt make sense to me, Im hoping its a trade that doesnt make sense in January, but it makes all the sense in the world come October. So hopefully thats how it turns out.

This was a gret trade for the Tribe. Michaels for Crisp is basically a wash. The reason he did not play full time in Philly is because the front office there is terrible (look no further than the contract they gave Thome). Michaels is a better fielder, hits lefties better and gets on base more. Wedge never used Riske in close situations and he never played Bard, so it makes sense to get rid of them.
Coco was a good player, but you have to trade talent to get talent.

All of the fans that do not like this trade are the same fans that would be complaning in 2007 when the Tribe has no starting Third Baseman. As the small market team we have to trust in the ability of young guys to produce.

Also, do not forget that the Tribe has three prospects in Buffalo in the outfield (Guiterriez, Snyder and Fransico) who could make an impact this year. Shapiro knows what he is doing. I know Coco has a cool name, but that does not make in Rocky Colivito

A couple of weeks ago when I first heard the rumor of this trade on the radio, I gave my wife a high-five in the car. I am thrilled it came to pass. Cleveland fans think with their hearts, but don’t often think with their heads. Crisp is a good player, but will never be an all-star. Fans whine and complain that Cleveland didn’t do anything this off-season, but they fail to understand the weak free agent market. It’s a shame that the same people who think free agency is the only way to make a team better apparently think that players like Martinez, Peralta, Hafner, and Sizemore have all peaked and won’t player better this season. This is still a 90+ win team and now they have the “next big thing” for ’07 and beyond. And, really, Marte could step in *today* and player better than 50% of the league’s third basemen! Shapiro has pulled off trade after trade. Everyone said, “Who?” when he signed Howry last year. I think the guy has earned the right to make the deal.

These are the same people who complained when the Indians traded Ryan Drese and Einar Diaz for Travis Hafner. David Justice for Jake Westbrook. Bartolo Colon for Cliff Lee AND Grady Seizmore. And now they’re mad about losing Crisp for Marte? It’s almost comical.

I am not going to lie when I first saw this trade it suprised me. I have been a Tribe fan since the early 1990’s. I miss Manny, Albert, Bartolo, and Brian( Don’t get me started on Jim Thome.) But Shapiro has proven to be a knowledgeable GM fixing things before they ever got broken. Even though Coco was one of my favorites getting Marte was was a coup. Besides we have Brad Snyder and Franklin Guitierrez about to come up and strenghten our outfield in the next couple of seasons. Then the realievers are a wash the onlp part i don’t understand is Bard for Shoppach. I am a little confused by that one.

This is the best trade Cleveland has made since the Bartolo Colon deals. Coco Crisp is a fan favorite and a wonderful talent, but Michaels will earn the respect of the fans very quickly. Michaels will be on base more and provides balance vs. Righty Lefties as well as playing good defense. There is no doubt that Coco is emerging into a star (especially if he can eliminate his free swinging a bit). Unfortunately, this is also a game of economics, so we can’t keep or buy every star with an open wallet. It definitely puts a spin on the game that many fans don’t like. Mr. Shapiro has more than likely just made on of the best trades in 10 years for our team. Quite frankly, I am ecstatic about Andy Marte. He fits the mold of the Indians overall business plan and we have to respect the patience and discipline that the Indians front office maintained throughout the Winter. WAY TO GO FRONT OFFICE! The Indians are in great hands. (Oh, by the way, we also got Shoppach and Mota, UNBELEIVABLE!). You boys better lay low for a while as you might have to do time for this thievery.

People who are ranting about this trade are strictly emotional because they love Coco just like all Tribe fans do, including myself, ( I was an 8 year old Tribe fan when we traded “The Rock” so I know how it can hurt)however Coco is best suited for CF and we have a better one in Grady. Coco is not a typical corner outfielder, as he has limited power and his on-base percentage and lack of walks make him a subpar #2 hitter. His speed hasn’t translated to being a base stealing threat. We have some of our best minor league talent at this position as well with Snyder, Guiterrez, Francisco, Cooper, Mulhern and others coming soon. I’ll bet a box of Coco Crispies that those complaining about this trade will be singing a different tune come October.

If Andy Marte is such a magnificent prospect, why are his minor league numbers so middling? They’re good numbers, every season in the minors he’s looked good, but he’s not breaking through the wall and destroying anyone. His best season in the minors would give the Indians an average around .280 and 20 HR. And if we’re banking on him to match his minor league numbers anytime soon, that’s a stretch even for an optimist.

So the questions I have: Why did he wash out when the Braves brought him up last season? Why is he going to break over the wall once he gets to the majors?

It seems that Theo Epstein won a World Series and John Schuerholz keeps his team in the playoffs year after year, so maybe they deserve a little deference for dumping Marte. It’s not like the Braves really missed on bringing up prospects last year, considering Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur had both been in AA when they got called up. Pete Orr, Ryan Langerhans, and to some extent Kelly Johnson, all looked like they were capable major league role players. Every rookie the Braves touched turned to gold — except this eternal third base prospect that they seemed awfully eager to ship off.

I think a lot of Jason Michaels, and Arthur Rhodes obviously has issues none of us understand, and fair or not, it’s better to have those issues out of Cleveland. But it could have stopped there, instead of having the Indians acquire two eternal prospects who have never cracked the lineups for teams who seem to be exceptional at gauging talent and a reliever who has demonstrated serious injury problems in 2005.

Frankly, I’m tired of the articles saying we should trust Shapiro. You lose trust by making deals that fail the stink test, whether it was John Hart dumping Burnitz for Seitzer or Giles for Rincon or Shapiro giving away Jody Gerut for someone who was replaced in the Indians plans after about twenty minutes and is certainly not mentioned as a replacement for Crisp. Even if Gerut never comes back to form, he’ll have a longer opportunity in the majors than Jason DuBois.

As a Cleveland fan living in Boston I believe Cleveland fans stop obsessing over individual players…the “team” over-achieved in 2005 and Coco was
instrumental in its success. That being said the Red Sox must not have seen Coco play in centerfield..I remember his

arm (a la Johnny Damon) and his speed will not be as great in center. Obviously, Cleveland has targeted Marte since his days in Atlanta and here’s hoping Shapiro & company promote the great outfielders in their system soon..(Franklin Gutierrezwas unbelievable last…great instincts in right as well as

Snyder) along with Garko in the infield. We have had the best prospects in the past 2 years and now is the time to give them a shot!!GO TRIBE!!!

Commenting on tsk25’s post: I certainly believe that Marte is the key player for Cleveland. Let us remember that Andy Marte is 22 years old this year and will be 23 in November. You place a lot of emphasis on minor league statistics as a rule of talent evaluation. I am sure it is a nice guideline, however it is not the number one criteria used in evaluating talent. Tools are very important in evaluating possible future talent, not statistics. But you make an interesting point regarding Marte’s statistics. Instead of predicting what Marte is going to do, I thought it would be interesting to compare the minor league stats of 2 modern day hall of famers to see where Marte compares with them. Mike Schmidt and George Brett are 2 that come to mind. Schmidt didn’t hit 20 homers in professional baseball until the age of 23 while Marte has (3) 20+ homer seasons and a 16 and he just turned 22. Schmidt’s high homer total in college was 4. George Brett averaged .281 in his 4 year minor league career, while Marte has hit .274 in his 5 year minor league career. Brett hit 25 homers in 318 at bats while Marte hit 82 homers in 512 ab’s. Brett had a cup of coffee in the majors at 20 years of age and Marte at 21 (with a world class Atlanta Braves team). Considering Marte has outperformed or equaled Brett & Schmidt at younger ages, I guess you could say that Brett and Schmidt had “middling” or sub-par minor league statistics. You also appear to look at it like the Red Sox and Indians were getting the least desirable prospect from the former team, but maybe they were “requiring” Marte to be in the deal or no deal would happen at all. The Braves needed Renteria and the Red Sox needed Crisp, so they had to part with a great prospect, not one on the scrap pile. Schuerholz traded Millwood to Philadelphia for Johnny Estrada because he wanted a great defensive catcher, but that does not mean Millwood is a bad pitcher. Also, while calling this trade a failure of the stink test for Shapiro, your example of Gerut and DuBois is just a prediction and you also are comparing talent only and not evaluating the economics of the trade. We cannot forget that we have a budget to deal with. I don’t believe that Shapiro ever said DuBois was a better player that Gerut. If fans want to send a bunch of excess cash to the Indians, I am sure that they would more than happy to assemble an all-star team like the Yankees with an all-star payroll. I enjoyed reading your post, but I have to stand by the fact that Andy Marte is farther ahead of pace than George Brett and Mike Schmidt at similar ages (based on statistics), so I cannot believe that fans are not extremely excited to have a 22 year old kid who has the “potential” to have a hall of fame career in the majors. GREAT TRADE MR. SHAPIRO!!!!

I meant games, not at bats for Brett and Marte’s home run totals.

What makes everybody so sure that Andy Marte is going to be a Superstar. He didnt exactly tear up the International league .275 ba 20 hr 75 rbi. not eye popping stats. Shure Coco’s not going to hit 30+ hr’s & knock in 120 rbi’s, but he can hit .320’s steal some bases & cover some ground in the outfield.
Marte hasnt proven he can hit AAA ball yet. Why did Atlanta give up on him? He hit .140 in his brief stint with Atlanta & hit .230’s in winter ball. Not exactly tearing it up.

Last year when they let Omar go it was sad, but he was 37 & Jhonny Peralta had just finished 2 exceptional seasons at Buffalo…Coco is 26 not 37 & Andy Marte hasn’t had a exceptional season yet.

The bottom line is Marte may not be ready till 2007 or 2008

if he’s ever ready….remember Alex Escobar how he was a “5 tool player” & were still waiting for Brandon Phillips to show up. Right now I dont see how the 2006 team is going to be better than the 2005 team. Our outfield consists of Grady Sizemore & a bunch of guy’s nobody else wanted.

Mr. Shapiro I hope you have something else up your sleeve, because right now it looks like you gave up on the 2006 season…..Im tired of waiting till next season

I am 39 years old. I have follow the Indians from the very first game that I can recall at the old stadium. Watching guys like Boog Powell, seeing Frank Robinson first game. And one thing has always remain the same. As soon as a player gets good and the team knows that they are going be paying a high salary they are gone. Since the 2005 season didn’t pain out like they expected , guess it time to plain for the 2010 season.

Trading is part of the overall way Teams develop. If you recall chasing the elusive final piece lost the Indians several quality players in the late 90’s. Indians fans should not expect their team to wait until July and see how things go. Trades are tough when they involve everyday players and Coco was easy and fun to watch. To get you’ve got to be willing to give. Losing Howry forced Shapiro’s hand. I believe that he’s earned the benefit of taking ‘a chance’. Crisp is not a left fielder and he wants to play center. Would you rather have seen Sizemore go? To compete with Chicago you need set-up men and they aint cheap.

In reference to Mr. McCulloch’s response, my big question still remains…why did he wash out when all the less impressive prospects took charge in Atlanta? I’ll admit, having grown up in minor league country, that minor league statistics are an inexact indicator of future performance, but they are more likely to be a ceiling than a floor. If it weren’t for the teams involved, maybe I wouldn’t assume the worst, but the Braves have done an extraordinary job developing players, and they deemed him expendable.

He is still young, but I’m always sickened by the acquisition of eternal prospects, because it so rarely works out. There was some buzz about Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee, but the Colon deal was supposed to be about Phillips, who has proven to be less esteemed than Ramon Vazquez at this point. Getting Jody Gerut and Josh Bard for Jacob Cruz was a masterwork. But Alex Escobar and Brandon Phillips were can’t miss prospects too, without the scary factors I’ve already noted about Marte.

And I’d be erroneous to focus entirely on Marte for Crisp. If it comes to that, we’ll be lucky. If Mota is completely healthy, then the Indians will probably have made out well on that score, because Mota at his best was lethal. The player to be named later addition makes the trade look a little less potentially disastrous, but it doesn’t really serve as a cushion for now. If Mota’s arm isn’t ready to go, a minor league pitcher won’t be an adequate replacement.

As for Bard, I liked him, but he wasn’t going to be a major contributor. Why the Indians bothered to get Shoppach instead of another prospect in return puzzles me some, given the signings of Laker and Diaz, as well as the possibility of Garko playing some behind the plate, but so long as Shoppach wins the backup job outright and gets some time in the majors or Garko becomes a full-time 1B in Buffalo, it won’t seem silly.

Does anyone remember Ted Cox and Bo Diaz? That was a trade that looked promising with a can’t miss 3rd base prospect. “Tribe nation” had to watch a former player (Dennis Echersley) go on to stardom while bemoaned the what if’s. I hope Coco does well cause he’s well liked, but it’ll be excrutiating if it doesn’t pan out.. Still, we have to give Shapiro a chance….

I agree with you on the Phillips deal, the media made it very clear that Phillips was a budding superstar. In fact, when Montreal’s minor league team would visit our city, their staff used to rant and rave about Phillips. While the possibility of Marte not panning out exists, my debate is that his statistics are equal to or better than other hall of fame 3rd baseman. The glass is half full or it is half empty. I really believe that neither the Renteria or the Crisp trade would not have been made were it for the latter teams demanding Marte be part of the deal. I do not know this for a fact, but am optimistic that I am. I understand your skepticism because we have to respect Schuerholz & Epstein. I also have to assume that the tribe thinks Shoppach’s ability to throw out potential base stealers is better than Bard’s, although Shoppach may not hit for average, we will not be taken advantage on the basepaths on Martinez days off. It amazes me on how many posts complain about this trade without mentioning the financials as it is a large part of this game (unfortunately). My bottom line is this: I don’t believe that we hurt our team on the field since Crisp wasn’t a prototype left fielder anyway. I would be disappointed if we had traded Sizemore. So we lost a little (unknown until we see how Michaels performs)and have the opportunity to fill our 3rd base position with a potential top tier player without paying millions for one out of desperation next year. I say the glass is half full and am excited to see how this trade pans out.

You should objectively point out that the Tribe now can no longer chide the fans for lack of attendance after trading their seond most popular player. Doaln and Shapiro just don’t care about the fans.

Tim: Comparing Andy Marte to Mike Schmidt is laughable.
I remember when I looked at every trade blindly, but throught the years I’ve seen to many trades that reasemble

the latest one. I think Shapiro is getting a little too much credit for his trades. The Almomar trade is largely considered a great trade, but what do we really have to show for it…Billy Traber & now Michaels(from Philly) for a Future Hall of famer who still appeared to be in this prime. Alex Escobar was a “5 tool cant miss player”

Brandon Phillips, Milton Bradely. The Colon trade was great but Grady Sizemore was pretty much a throw in…One of the other guys we gave up was Ryan Church he was having a pretty good season for Washington last year. I hope this Marte turns out to be a H.O.F. player, but through the years I’ve seen too many

can’t miss prospects miss.

jls_38: If you read closely to my comments on Marte vs. Schmidt and Brett, you will find the word “potential” and not guaranteed. I was just comparing the minor league statistics at the same ages to give some validity to the level they were at at the ages of 19-22. Also, I noted that statistics were just a small portion of the report card when it comes to talent evaluation. I am just defending the trade because I personally like it and if you looked at statistics alone, you would take Marte over Brett and Schmidt at this stage of their career. To say that Marte will be as good as or better than Schmidt would be wrong as Marte still has to perform at a high level for many years to deserve that. But saying that Marte is a bad player when his statistics are better than Schmidt and Brett at this age is predicting that Schmidt and Brett would be bad players. GIVE IT A CHANCE and maybe Marte could be as good as Schmidt and Brett, as by his minor league numbers, he is a step ahead. We can debate the trade all day long, and I think we should as it makes being a fan enjoyable. The only 100% satisfaction and control we can have is to named the general manager of the Cleveland Indians, which is probably out of reach for most of us. So we get to debate whether each trade is good for the team and is part of being a fan and having fun. I am not privy to the inside information, so I try to make the best of the situation and also try to walk in someone else’s shoes (e.g. Mr. Shapiro). I have a hard time believing Mr. Shapiro is trying to sabotage the Indians and have got to believe that he is working as hard as or harder than the big market clubs to figure out a way to beat the system. If this trade works to my optimism, we will have one of the better 3rd baseman in the league for the next 5 or 6 years for under a million dollars while having Michaels in left instead of Crisp. If Marte flops, I guess we got Michaels, Shoppach & Mota for Crisp. I don’t don’t see the risk/reward factor as being crucial when you factor in the finances and potential.

Tim, bottom line do U believe that the Tribe is better now for the 2006 season. Michaels is better than Crisp? Is Boston better? they are one of the teams that we could be competing with for a playoff spot. Over the years I’ve seen alot of good talent leave Cleveland for prospects, and to many times that “prospect” didnt work out, or if it did then he would get traded away for more prospects. I just dont want to see those days come back…Cleveland has waited too long for a Championship.

I believe the Indians organization as a whole is better today than they were before the Crisp trade. Do I believe Michaels is a better player than Crisp? Absolutely not. Quite frankly, I am more concerned about losing Millwood, but I understand the economics of it and also respect the fact that the Indians front office stuck to their game plan. They knew that if Millwood was successful that he would price himself out of our budget, but what a great job on getting Millwood within our constraints last year and giving us a chance to make the playoffs. I am now hoping that Lee & Sabathia will continue progressing forward and that the 3 finesse starters can keep us in the games. Plus we have some pretty nice starters in the minors! I think we are all on the same page when it comes to seeing the Indians win. We just have to deal with the amount of money we have to spend and the days of guys playing in the same city for 15 years are more than likely over. I think that the faster that the Indians adjust to that, the faster our club can compete for the pennant year in and year out. Back to Michaels, he is definetly not the player that Crisp was, but he brings a higher on base percentage and a more versatile approach versus lefties and righties. I also have read that he is a better defender. I guess I have just answered my own questions regarding why alot of fans do not like this trade as I was typing. The average fan probably does not care about righty/lefty matchups, on base percentage, defense and baseball finances. They want home runs, stolen bases and their favorite players never to leave at any cost (I like this too!). I loved to root for Coco and I believe his tools are much more exciting than Michaels. What I am hoping for is the gap in talent between Michaels and Crisp is not a large as we all fear while we groom this potentially great 3rd baseman on the farm. Is Boston better? Yes, because they didn’t have a center fielder and now they have a darn good one. This amounts to a good trade for both teams, in my opinion.

Going into the offseason the Tribe needed to do upgrade 3 positions 1st,rf & back up catcher. what did we do we took a step down with Byrd from Millwood. Johnson instead of Elerton thats a wash, sign some guys nobody else wanted then trade away a strenght & weaken the bull pen, but hey, our AAA team is going to kick butt. If our “prospect” who hit .140 in Atl. last year pans out for Buffalo. Ok, we may haved helped out our back up catcher spot. I feel much better now.

All these whiners are simply comical. Thats the only way to describe them. Yeah, the loss of Coco Crisp definitly spells our demise in 2006. Give me a break. They act like he’s the 2nd coming of Babe Ruth all the sudden. He is a CORNER OUTFIELDER who hit just 16 HR’s and 69 RBI’s. That is not good for a corner outfielder and those numbers are not hard to face. GET A GRIP PEOPLE. Mark Shapiro has built this team on finding good young players through trades. This trade is no different. Mark Shapiro is not here to appease the yuppie fans who only look to complain about anything and everything. He did the thing that he felt was best for the Indians. And you know what, thats good enough for me. It wasn’t a fluke that he won the Executive of the Year award. He did it by making tough decisions but making the right moves for the Cleveland Indians..not what some whiney fans who don’t really know anything about baseball want to see. These are the same fans who complained about losing Scott Elarton, and will be the same fans in a year or two who are saying “Oh I knew that was a good move to trade Coco”.

Now, people are complaing about Jason Michaels and how he is no good. Well, he has hit .300 in a limited role and appears to be a player who just needs a chance to play. Lets say hypothetically Coco was to go down with an injury in April and we were to THEN trade for Michaels but not get Marte, Mota, etc. These same fans complaining about this trade would be quick to applaud Shapiro for finding a quick and adequate replacement, but since he wasn’t injured, this trade kills us in 2006. Some of these fans need to seriously just get a clue and back off Shapiro. The man CLEARLY knows what he is doing.

jls_38: I have really enjoyed our debate so far, but I am confused on your analysis. You seem to be all over the place. You finally admitted that Shapiro did something right. You seem to be saying that we improved our backup catcher position with Shoppach (which I agree with), however, I am baffled that you would analyze the talent of Andy Marte (a 22 year old kid) by his 57 ab’s with a .140 average on a world class team. You don’t like Marte’s .140 average but you feel we improved at catcher with Shoppach as he hit a collective .000 last year with the Red Sox, a world class team. Marte has hit 82 homers before the age of 22, more than Mike Schmidt and George Brett “combined” by a long shot before the age of 22. Also, some scouts say he already plays defense at a major league level. Does he need to improve his batting average? yes. Doesn’t every minor leaguer need to improve their plate discipline? Yes, that is why they are there. And I agree with nsv714, when did Coco Crisp become Babe Ruth all of a sudden!

Tim: I have no problem with Shaperio, I think he has made some great moves. However not all his moves have been great. His latest move’s I do not agree with. I belive with these moves we have weakened our bullpen by losing Rhodes & Riske , and replacing them with a guy coming off a bad season and his health is a ?
We replace Coco with Michaels.

Michaels has always been a back-up. On the Shoppach for Bard deal, it wont take much to improve on what Bard did last season, and the whole comment was meant sarcastically. We are talking about a guy who will get about 100 ab’s. My whole point is that this trade did nothing to improve the team for this season. We could have made this move in July if we weren’t in contention.

Marte may be a great player in 2008. That doesnt do us much good for this year.

How many Hr’s did Russ Branyan hit as a 3rd base prospect?

I never compared Coco to Babe Ruth. Shure everybody loves the long ball, but the game does not revolve around the long ball. If a guy doesnt project out to be a 40 HR guy then U should dump him for a prospect. Shure we can hypothetically imagine that Coco was to go down with an injury in April and we were to THEN trade for Michaels but not get Marte, but to hypothesize like that would be silly . After all Coco’s only a CORNER OUTFIELDER… but our other CORNER OUTFIELDER is Casey Blake.

jl, you can complain all you want, that is your right. Obviously, until the season is played out, we cannot say if it did or did not improve our team. But the numbers in the deal say this trade did not seriously downgrade us. Also, you know how Charlie manages, he likes veteran guys, so yes he would play Lofton more often (his guy from Cle minor leagues). And no way Michaels starts over Burrell or Abreu, he ain’t that good.

Michaels at his worst will be a slight downgrade to Crisp. Plus he bats RH. Which means our top of the lineup is more balanced (he also outhit LH pitching way better than Crisp and we see a lot of LH starters in our division).

Shoppach, if he is better than Bard (I think he is) will allow Wedge to rest V-Mart more often so he won’t be exhausted in Sept. Not to mention V-Mart can then play 1B and get Broussard out of the line-up against LH pitching.

Riske was not going to be used in pressure situation by Wedge and he makes a lot of money for a 6th inning pitcher. Rhodes had a great year, but it is doubtful he will repeat that (he is 37) and most relievers vary from year to year. Mota is coming off an injury yes, but he has closed and if Wickman goes into the tank, we do not need to rely on Cabrera yet. I wouldn’t trust Rhodes as a closer anyway.

Marte – even if he isnt a superstar, he more than adequately will replace Boone next year (maybe even by midseason). And he bats RH which our lineup really needs. So our lineup is now:

Sizemore CF (L), Michaels LF (R), Peralta SS (R), Hafner DH (L), V-Mart C (S), Belliard 2B (R), Broussard 1B (L), Boone 3B (R), Blake RF (R);

–and against LH starters it could like like this:
–Sizemore CF (L), Michaels LF (R), Peralta SS (R), Hafner DH (L), V-Mart 1B (S), Belliard 2B (R), Shoppach C (R), Boone 3B (R), Blake RF (R). And if Marte is the real deal, put him in the 6 hole and drop Belliard to 9 with Boone on the bench.

–Not to mention these deals give us financial flexibility this year (another $3-5 mil for a midseason pickup if need be) and in the future (Crisp will make $20+ mil the next 4 years, Marte will be minimum, Michaels and Blake will be replaced eventually by Snyder, Gutierrez)

–Coco was a good player, playing out of position on our team (he is a CF, not a corner). He also is nowhere as good as Sizemore, Peralta, Hafner or V-Mart. So we traded our 5th best hitter (with little power and replaced by a similar player-Michaels) for a 3B who could outpower him easily and a C that also could outpower him easily). That is a risk I would take any day.

This is a great trade for the Indians. The fact is this is a mid-market team that needs to get creative with their assets in order to consistently compete. Coco had more value to other teams then he did for us because of his ability to play center field (we obviously have one in Grady). We leveraged that value to get a power hitting third baseman with strong defensive skills. This is more valuable than a left fielder, even a really good one like Coco.

Underwood is a schill for the front office. This is a step back to the future. Keep waiting for next year. Next year never comes.

How do we know Andy Marte can hit Major League Pitching.
In limited play last year he hit .140, his Minor League stats were not eye popping

.275 20 74. Grady Sizemore & Jhonny Peralta both tore up the International League.

Alex Escobar & Brandon Phillips were supposed to be can’t miss.

Boston needed Coco more than we needed Marte, we could have held out for more.
Where else could Boston find a .300 hitting leadoff hitter.

Crisp is a popular player, and that makes this an emotional issue. However, let’s look at the facts. How many outfielders in the majors last year equalled or beat Coco’s numbers? The answer, quite a few. Will Jason Michaels be the answer? No. But that’s not the plan. The plan is to move Brad Snyder into Cleveland in 2007. And trust me, he WILL make you forget about Coco in a hurry. Snyder has all 5 tools. He will be a major impact player along the lines of Sizemore, Martinez, and Hafner. I’ve watched Snyder play in 16 games already. (He’s hit .357 in those games, and driven in 14 runs.) The opportunity to get a 3rd baseman with the skill level of Marte does not come along often. To be able to deal an outfielder (albeit a starter) whose stats are fairly common at that position away for a 3rd baseman who is capable of putting up stats which will rank in the top 5 at his position is just too good to pass up. In my opinion, I think the Red Sox gave up a bit too much. I think the day will come when they will regret passing on Marte. But, time will tell.

With the Indians being a small market team, trades like this will continue to happen. Not all the time, but they won’t completely stop. Any time a small market team has the chance to get more value for a player than what he’s really worth, they have to jump on it. Remember, Coco will be making $5-6 Mil a year here in another year or two. Brad Snyder will make less than $500 grand his first two years, and will put up comparable stats as he matures. The $4-5 Mil saved each year can buy you an awfully nice medium priced free agent to help really fill a need. Also remember, that Belliard can (and most likely will) leave after this year, to get his $5 Mil a year for three or four years. This is nothing more than a giant jigsaw puzzle. The GM’s role is to put together the best team he can with the money he has available.

I have a good freind who was really stewed about the tribe not spending $150 mil a year to compete with the Yanks and Sox. I gave him some freindly advice. If you want to cheer for a team who will go out and buy players every year, you’ll need to change teams. That isn’t going to happen in places like Cleveland, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh. Smaller midwestern markets simply don’t have the TV revenue that the coastal teams or Atlanta has. and, they never will. It’s a fact of life in all business, not just baseball. He decided to follow the Red Sox for a season. He came back to the Tribe. His reason…… Spending big bucks doesn’t guarentee a championship. So, why not follow the team you love, and help support it. He attended 19 games last year, and has to drive 110 miles to attend each game. He now understands. It’s about the team, not about the players. These young players still have a zest for the game. It’s thrilling to watch them develop and grow into stars. Treat them right, and the ones who have the character will stay longer and sign that “hometown discount contract” once or twice. C.C. did it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Victor and Hafner do it too. Ultimately, they will leave. Every star wants that one $12-15 mil contract for three or four years. These guys are no different. But, as the Twins have already proved, keep a core together for three or four years, and you can bring home a championship once every 5 years or so. That would be just fine with me. My last Cleveland championship occured when I was 4, and that was the Browns in 1964. So, I’ll take a championship every 5-6 years, and be just thrilled.

One other point. If we fans increase the attendance just up to 25,000 per game, the Indians will be able to afford that $65 mil salary level that seems to be the trigger for constant success. We don’t need 455 straight sellouts. We just need to get to 25,000 per game. I drive 130 miles and attend 5-7 games per year. I have to save all year to do it, but it’s worth it. I love this team. I love the way Shapiro is building it for longer term success. and, I love the energy that the current crop of younger players brings to this team. These guys care about winning, and they don’t give up. What a great run in September. I have to visit Chicago every omnth for business, and I’ll tell you, the White Sox fans and players were going nuts in September. It was fun to be an Indians fan, even though it didn’t work out. I’m really looking forward to this year. I don’t expect to win the Central. However, don’t just hand this to the Sox. They don’t have much depth in the farm system, and an injury or two, and they will have problems. Go tribe.

Ok, 2007 we’ll have Marte at 3rd,Garko at 1st,Snyder at Left or Right,Sowers moving into the starting rotation.
With our existing positional players it looks great for 2008…..Problem is this is 2006. How many contending teams trade away one of their top positional players for a future starter. I can’t think of any.

Is anybody out there tired of the “small market excuse”
Didn’t they just double their TV revenue this year? Pre-season ticket sales were up from the previous season. Weren’t they asking for higher attendances…they got it. Is Cleveland really a small market team? or is it that we have a small market owner? Tribe’s fan base is not limited to the city of Cleveland, they’re allot of tribe fans in Columbus, basically everything North of I-70 is Tribe country.

I realize we cant compete with the New York’s, Boston

& LA’s teams financially, but we should be able to compete with all thr other teams.

It’s hard not to look at this last trade as them cutting payroll wich it did by at least 3.3 mil. we went with Byrd over Millwood because of $$$ we lost Howry $$$$.

I know we offered more money to a few F.a.’s …did anyone really think Hoffman was going to leave San Diego?

Again, we traded our fifth best positional player for a chance to improve our future at a position we are in dire need of. And although Coco was popular (and a fine player), he wasn’t indespensible. Michaels “should” be able to come close to duplicating his numbers.

I am glad we didn’t overpay for Howry, he wanted closer $$ to be a set-up guy. As for Millwood, it wasn’t the $$ that scared off the FO, it was the length of the contract, 5 years (look at Kevin Brown’s deal). If he got injured in year 3, we still pay $12 mil each for years 4 and 5.

I like Hoffman, but I am glad he didnt get a 3 year deal from us, again, age and $$ work against us.

Let’s assume we signed Millwood, Howry and Hoffman. That would have been about $24 mil a year for the next 3 years minimum. Then we would for sure lose players our younger players as they come up for their deals because our money is already tied up.

And yes we cut payroll. Why is that bad? We can afford a midseason trade if someone gets hurt or Blake continues to bite, and also we can sign Sizemore, Peralta, Lee, etc. to long term deals before arbitration hits. I’d much rather have them signed than Millwood or Howry.

who were the 4 positional players that were better?

Still left field has been weakened, and the bull pen has been weakened.

And there’s no proof that Marte can hit a Major League curve ball

The four better positional players are Victor, Sizemore, Peralta, and Hafner (yes DH is a position on our team). I’d also add that three of our SPs are also more valuable than Crisp (Sabathia, Lee, and Westbrook). So then I would have ranked Crisp #8 or so (I also like Belliard more than Crisp, but Crisp is younger).

The bullpen would have been weakened anyway. No way we would have repeated the numbers from last year with the same guys. In fact, the only key guy we lost was Howry. Riske was nothing more than a mop up pitcher (Wedge doesn’t trust him). Rhodes didn’t pitch down the stretch either (family issues). Not to mention Rhodes is not that dominant against LH batters anyway (he was better vs RH last year). And Howry, as his deal showed, is too pricey for us. If we had offered him the CL job, maybe we could have gotten him, but I don’t think Wedge wanted him as a closer anyways.

Michaels hits LH better than Crisp (.853 OPS vs. .696). He may have lesser overall BA, but will definitely have a higher OPS than Crisp (which is what we need in the #2 spot).

And yes, Marte may not pan out, I’ll grant you that. But his numbers at his age (21) in AAA are better than almost anyone else I’ve heard of.

Just FYI, AAA stats


Marte: 275/878/20/74/389/21


Peralta: 323/871/15/86/560/22

Crisp: 360/945/1/24/225/23


Hafner: 342/1022/21/77/401/25 (PCL)

I’d say his stats look very similar to our other players and he is playing at a level far above his age.

One overlooked aspect of this deal is the Yankees. They got Johnny Damon for 4 years @ 13 mm per! This may give them more of a replacement for Williams than they planned for in a couple of years. Boston got Crisp, a .345 obp lead off man, with virtually the same OPS as Damon, almost a duplicate in the field as Damon, good coverage, no arm, 6 years younger, and a lot healthier.

Jason Michaels projects from his existing Major League stats as a better offensive player than Crisp, especially against left handers, albeit without a full-time player history. He can play all 3 outfield positons, and is little or no downgrade from Crisp at the corner.

Getting Marte and Shoppach are a good bet, yes bet!

The most problematic part of the deal for 2006 are Wickham and Mota. IF Wicky is healthy AND Mota can return to somewhere near his 2003-2004 form, our bullpen will be fine. If he has a year like those, expect to lose HIM next year, not because we are a small market team, but because someone is always willing to overpay on short-term success.

Relievers, with rare exceptions like Rivera and Hoffman, are not projectible. Check out Rhodes and Riske’s histories.

The reason Millwood is gone is the 5 years, not the annual salary. It is a poor percentage-play.The scary part for the Rangers is he has had an injury history, and is their first foray into a 5-year starter deal since Chan Ho Park!

I believe that Shapiro is building a track record that is as good as any GM in the game, with the exception of Scheurholz in Atlanta, who stands heads and shoulders above any other GM.

One overlooked aspect of this deal is the Yankees. They got Johnny Damon for 4 years @ 13 mm per! This may give them more of a replacement for Williams than they planned for in a couple of years. Boston got Crisp, a .345 obp lead off man, with virtually the same OPS as Damon, almost a duplicate in the field as Damon, good coverage, no arm, 6 years younger, and a lot healthier.

Jason Michaels projects from his existing Major League stats as a better offensive player than Crisp, especially against left handers, albeit without a full-time player history. He can play all 3 outfield positons, and is little or no downgrade from Crisp at the corner.

Getting Marte and Shoppach are a good bet, yes bet!

The most problematic part of the deal for 2006 are Wickham and Mota. IF Wicky is healthy AND Mota can return to somewhere near his 2003-2004 form, our bullpen will be fine. If he has a year like those, expect to lose HIM next year, not because we are a small market team, but because someone is always willing to overpay on short-term success.

Relievers, with rare exceptions like Rivera and Hoffman, are not projectible. Check out Rhodes and Riske’s histories.

The reason Millwood is gone is the 5 years, not the annual salary. It is a poor percentage-play.The scary part for the Rangers is he has had an injury history, and is their first foray into a 5-year starter deal since Chan Ho Park!

I believe that Shapiro is building a track record that is as good as any GM in the game, with the exception of Scheurholz in Atlanta, who stands heads and shoulders above any other GM.

i cannot believe how much negativity there is about the coco trade. i truly believe the tribe tried the free agency route, but did it in a smart manor. some would like us to overpay for anybody who has put up good numbers, as many teams foolishly do.
i can’t blame brian giles (i really was crossing my fingers that he would come back) or trevor hoffman for declining equal or more money from the tribe to end their careers near there hometowns.

who was there to sign in free agency that would have been an improvement over ben broussard? i admit, pittsburgh did seem to get sean casey cheap (player return wise). i do wish we could have gotten in the running to return him to cleveland.

anyways, i did love coco’s attitude and energy, but that only goes so far. coco doesn’t walk, can’t hit lefties, has a somewhat weak arm, and has not yet utilized his full potential on the basepaths. everyone seems to assume jason michaels, who from what i heard, plays outfield with an almost eric byrnes type intensity, will be a full time starter. i do believe if he platoons with a lefty, the combined production of such platoon could easily surpass coco’s full time production, both offensively and defensively.

mota will be a free gaent after the season. typically players in this situation always seem to have big seasons. if healthy, he is a dominant eighth inning man.

i did like riske. i still remember his first major league appearance in which he struck out albert belle. but i was surprised to hear after the trade that he did not have one hold all season. he did also like to give up gopherballs. so, i can’t loose any sleep over him being gone, especially if wedge had lost confidence in him.

i also liked bard, but shoppach supposedly is the favorite to win the back up catchers spot. he has a strong arm, and he has shown power in the minors. i know a boston fan who was most upset about loosing shoppach in the trade. i have heard he is a hot commodity.

the thing about marte, he IS young. supposedly, he is awesome defensively. defense is one thing that doesn’t typically fade in the majors. brandon phillips is proof of this. so, just like phillips, marte is already halfway there. does anyone out there remember jhonny peralta’s first big league action? how did he do when replacing omar in 2003? terrible, offensively. jhonny was very young, just like marte. but after seasoning in the minors, he now is one of the best, young shortstops in the game. and to claim marte’s numbers in the minors are only average, therefore how could he possibly become a star, well, my thoughts are you don’t really know much about player development. so, if the aging boone gets hurt or has a terrible start again this season, we now have a viable replacement.

so it seems to me this trade is an upgrade all the way around, for this season, and for beyond.

Marte’s stats are not average. He has hit .275 in the minors and 80+ homers all before the age of 22. His stats are as good as anyone’s at the age of 21.

Bottom line, Tribe swapped Coco for Michaels. Michaels has been a career back up player he has never had more than 300 ab’s a season. Can he play a full season? He doesnt appear to have allot of power or speed. Maybe there’s a reason he’s been a career back-up.
The 2nd part of the trade

Rhodes & Riske for Mota

true Rhodes is old,over paid

& did not show up last Sept.

Riske gave up to many Hr’s & he fell into Wedgies dog house. Mota on the other hand has been awful since he left the Dodgers, can he regain his form from 2003?. Kind of riske moves for a team that’s supposed to contend in the 2006 season.

I know I am late coming into this, but I still would like to put my 2 cents in. I hope you are right about this trade and it makes sense someday down the road.
However, as the parent of a 7-year-old who was just beginning to really get into baseball – this is the same thing I believe that is keeping youngsters from getting interested. Coco was a favorite. She had the bobblehead and his baseball card. When the trade was announced she cried herself to sleep for more than an hour clutching that card. She has vowed that no one in the family can go to a game this year. Last year she could not wait to go and we got seats down the left field line so she could watch Coco in action. It was the first time she ever sat on the edge of her seat and paid attention to the game.

Hey Matt, this has absolutely nothing to do with the “Coco trade post.” I am a huge Indians fan, went to several games last year and will again this year. I have to say I am one if not the biggest Indians fan on the face of this earth. Anyway, the reason for my comment is because I had gone to the Indians press tour in Mansfield when you guys came there, and I must say it was a pleasure getting to meet you. You were very willing to sign autographs for fans and get your picture taken with us, thank you! It was nice to see you back in your hometown too, to see that you still have some HS spirit. Thanks again. Go Tribe!

If the Coco trade had nothing to do with money. Why didnt we
work out a deal for Manny instead of Marte? Can you imagine what Manny could do for the tribe in 2006.

Manny was on the trade block

Cleveland was one of the places he was willing to go to. Boston probably would have thrown in a few mil. for the 2006 salary, yes we would have had to give up a few other prospects also, but with

Manny in the lineup we could compete with anyone.

Fact of the matter is we definitely made Boston a stronger team. People can diminish Coco’s value all they want and augment Michaels value. If Coco was not ideal for left field because of low power numbers, why did we put a guy who only hit a home run in every 75+ AB’s to replace him. Michaels couldnt even displace a shadow of his former self Kenny Lofton to take CF for himself. Coco also had 60+ extra base hits. Coco was also a better defensive outfielder, neither player has a good arm.

I also want to make some other stuff clear here. Shapiro is not the best evaluator of top talent. His victories? Hafner who he got for Drese and Diaz from none other than Hart. However, the centerpieces of these other deals have all been busts. Escobar (if Alomar didnt tank upon going to NY this would look bad)…Phillips was the key part of this deal, Lee was the middle prospect and Sizemore was nothing but a throw-in. Everyone knows Minaya here in NY as having a severe affinity for Latino players, not to mention he gutted their farm system completely upon taking over as GM (he then got nothing in return for Colon the next year.) Crisp he got for Finley, a shrewd move but nothing really for the Cards who had Edmonds entrenched in CF. His other moves didnt pan out – Cruceta, Rodriguez all not with the organization anymore. Traber is done basically. Howry supposedly signed for closer money? Not exactly! He actually signed for what is now a under market value deal and would have been a complete steal at that price. We just didnt want to make that kind of commitment when we have cheaper players who MIGHT be able to fill the role. This trade is going to make or break Shapiro and Dolan with the fans. If it pans out and we make the playoffs, Marte contributes even a little and Michaels plays solidly (Even .280 10-70 .370 would be amazing I think) we are fine. However, worst case, Boone goes down, Marte tanks, we dont make the playoffs, Michaels cant handle a full time role and Coco has a great year in Boston beating us out for the wildcard? It would be a shame to be saying at the end of the summer what might have been had that trade never been made. I think this might have been a clear case of a bird in hand (with Coco) is worth 2 in the bush (Michaels+Marte) because I can see the worst case scenario happening more than I can see the former with Coco gone.

Why did we have to throw Riske in the deal? Wasn’t Coco good enough considering were only getting one player who will likely pan out to be a decent ball player (Marte). Mota will probably spend most of the time injured, and Shoppach must not be that great if he has to “compete” with Einar Diaz for a backup spot. What a Joke. I thought we were done “rebuilding” and now we were supposed to reap the benifits, not trade them away.Jacobs field should hoist a sign “Welcome to the Yankee/Redsox minor leagues”

It’s the same old tired story, “Cleveland is a mid-size market, we don’t have that kind of money”. If I’m not mistaken, the Dolans are billionaires. They have more money than Steinbrenner. The problem in Cleveland is that the owners all try to run the Indians like a business. If you own a pro sports franchise, you cannot run it like a business. You can’t own it and expect to make a profit. It is something you own for fun. You spend whatever you have to to win a World Series or Super Bowl or whatever the championship is. After you win the championship, or at least play in the championship, then the money rolls in. You sell more season tickets, clothing, souvenirs, etc. I’m so tired of hearing about how the owners of all the Cleveland pro sports teams “don’t have that kind of money to spend”. Cleveland will NEVER sign a big-time star player, that is unless he is in the final years of his career. Cleveland is and always will be the farm team for the championship teams.

Now, for the players. I don’t know why everyone is lying to themselves about Peralta. He will never be more than an “average” shortstop at best. We all know that Belliard is being kept season to season because there are no good prospects in the farm system. And don’t even mention Brandon Phillips to me, he will never be any better than he is now. Casey Blake couldn’t play on some high school teams. You’ve seen the best from Broussard, that’s all you’re going to get from him. Bob Wickman’s career now is built on a house of cards. He’s already on borrowed time. C.C. is probably one of the most overrated pitchers in the majors. What has he really shown us? He never takes the game seriously, shows up every spring training overweight and out of shape. You can’t play major league baseball at 300 pounds or more. No one can. I don’t think last season was a fluke for Aaron Boone. This season’s numbers won’t be much better. And that is if he doesn’t get injured at some point. So, right now the Tribe has no real first baseman, a stopgap second baseman, an average shortstop, a washed-up third baseman, two big holes at the corners of the outfield, a grade “D” starting pitching staff and a “cross all your fingers and toes and pray” bullpen. What do they really have? Martinez, Sizemore, and Hafner and that’s about it. Not much else worth getting excited about. The American League Central need not fear this year’s Indians. How long will the fans support THIS team?

I think the problem since about 2002 was Indians were pretty much told just wait till 2005, then we’ll contend. Which we were close. I think as a fan base were just tired of waiting, and when something like this goes down, it really doesn’t make sense. Sure its good to plan for the future, but we’ve been planning for the future for the past 4 years. I guess as Tribe fans we just need to think positivley and think “At least i’m not a Royals Fan”. Or “We’ll be good…..someday”.

I have faith in Shapiro, and his ability to make the Indians not only competitive, but a serious contendor in the American League. I, too, was surprised when I heard about the Coco trade, but I like what we’re getting in return. The reality we have to accept here in Cleveland is that we are a small market team with limited financial resources. Even when we sold out 455 games in a row in the 90’s, we didn’t have the financial resources to re-sign Manny, or Belle, and later Thome and Omar. I should point out that while we must concede that Manny continues to be a hall of fame candidate, and that we couldn’t have forseen the health problems Belle had, Thome’s back problems – one of the reasons Shapiro wouldn’t give him that sixth year – kept him on the bench in Philly, and got him traded to the White Sox, and right now, he has to be considered suspect. Omar will be in the hall of fame, but he’s pushing 40, and how long could we rely on him to make those dazzling plays? So while Coco isn’t a player of that stature yet, I think we should realize that as long as major league baseball has the financial structure that it does, the small market teams – even those with high fallutin stadiums like the Jake – will have to keep a revolving door swinging continuously, and so far, Shapirpo has continued to bring in outstanding young talent. So let’s see what happens with this trade. The Tribe has always had a unique chemistry, and that is one of the things that will help them succeed this year.

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