Thursday, February 21, 2008

Depth: The strength of our team (part one: catcher and first base)

Let me clarify. By "team depth," I mean players that can contribute in 08. I don't mean "organizational depth," players that could contribute at the major league level.

Now while, anything is possible; we want to explore to plausible here. Here are plausible candidates for first base in 08.

Again, there is a huge difference between injury risks and failure risks: injuries can happen in an instant, but failure takes time

First Base: One place where we lack our depth is "the slugger," and first base is a traditional place to put a slugger.

We have Garko here. I like Garko and think that he hasn't had his career year yet. Still I don't think that he will ever hit 40+ homers. If you lookup league average first baseman in Webster's, Ryan face will be smiling at you. He is a good player but can't replace Hafner. I think it is 50/50 whether he is a injury or failure risk. That is, I think that he is as likely to .450 OBS as he is to have a serious injury.

If Garko goes down, the options are limitless. First, V-Mart is going to get some ABs at first, healthy Garko or no. Blake can play first. In fact, if Garko goes down, my bet is Blake moves over and takes first. Marte is practicing at the position. And we will save Hafner......for the interleague games. My basic position here , in case of injury, is that the major league team could absorb these ABs.

I don't think we have a clear "first baseman in waiting," but I think that we get equal ABs with various combinations present major leaguers.

On the farm: Ryan Mulhern. Scouts aren't high on him, but he hits homers at ever level that he has played. Think Jeff Manto. You only want him when he is hot and that won't last long. No real depth here.

Next: Michael "Always Injured" Aubrey. What do we get here? Did you see the nickname? Once upon a time, people thought he had talent. He is in the last of his option years. Don't be surprised to see him at some point. Be surprised by any results. Really, he has been injured that often. He had a nice spring, but . . .

Next: Jordan Brown. Brown is not major league ready. He enters the season post-knife. But if he develops, he could be a possible second half replacement. I think that he hopes for Garko's career. Good but not great.

Other: Matt Whitney. A rule 5 pick by the Nats. ttfc will be following the situation.

About the name

"That team from Cleveland," it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. However, I want my first entry and the official statement of my site to be clear. The Cleveland Indians should change their name. The rest of this site and my entries will be dedicated to baseball analysis, but I don't want anyone to ever forget that I think the name must be changed.

Look I am not going to get into a "who is the biggest fan" debate. Let me concede; I am not number one. But I have followed the Cleveland baseball team (get used to ttfc-that team from Cleveland) all of my life. I was born in 1971. So, I haven't suffered as much as some of you. But I do remember Jerry Dybzinski, and damn it if I can't help but remember the season of Super Joe and smile. I believed the Sports Illustrated cover. I have seen the hard times, and I have never left my team.

This is why I can't leave my team. Yes, I hate our name. I am embarrassed by our name. But just like you can't disown your drunken uncle, I am with the team until I die.

I know this is not a new topic for Cleveland fans. So, let me get to the meat of my argument. This is not some politically correct mantra. I have two simple points that I think should appeal to all rational people. One, if you are a classy organization, you shouldn't have a tacky name. Two, I live by some rules. Among my rules is: Don't associate with racists.

I am proud of ttfc (that team from Cleveland-get used to it) for being the first American League team to have a black ballplayer. I think every fan should be proud of this. I think the Tris Speaker story is a great story of redemption. But isn't ironic to celebrate Dolby with Chief Wahoo on our caps? Can anyone possibly argue Chief Wahoo is classy? Let me answer this one for you. No. If you don't agree with me that our name is full on racist, don't you at least agree that it isn't classy?

I think very highly of the present management of ttfc. They say that they want a thorough and professional approach to every detail of the game. How is it, then, that Chief Wahoo fits into this approach? And can we ever separate the name "Cleveland Indians" with Chief Wahoo? They both must go.

I don't want to associate with racists. Plain and simple. But this is my team. The team of my childhood. I am conflicted. There should be no crying in baseball, and there should be no moral conflicts in baseball either.

Some will say that the name is a tribute to the first native American to play professional baseball. Here a picture is worth a thousand words. You think the present depiction of Chief Wahoo is offensive? Take a look at his predecessors.

We know black face is racist. We know this is racist.

Please change the name of my beloved team. Not because, I am some screaming liberal. Because I am an adult, and this is offensive.