Monday, February 25, 2013

Two roads diverge in a yellow wood (NSFW)

Sure, Robert Frost's poem is easily the most over-quoted poem in human history.  But fuck, if it isn't pretty.  I reread it today as prep for the post.  If you haven't read it in awhile, do so.  I tend to like things dark, abstract, absurd, or ironic.  But there is value in occasionally pausing and glimpsing the earnest beautiful.

....Anyway...Two roads diverged for Cleveland this off season...And I'll go from beauty to vulgarity.....

They were coming off a terrible season.  Let's not relive it, but the god damned plane has crashed into the mountain.  The toe was in the envelope, they didn't make the hand-off, and they're gonna to kill that poor woman.  It was bad. 

Cleveland was a crossroad.  They could tear it down and rebuild.  This is a well worn path.  We have been down it a time or twenty.  Houston and Miami are going down that path this year.  The Cubs, Pirates, and Padres have worn their souls bare traveling down that road. 

Cleveland came close to going down rebuild road.   Francona did not start us down the road of contention.   Terry Francona signed to the Tribe out of friendship.  He has an out-clause in his contract, if his friends, Shapiro and Antonetti, are fired.  If you needed one more reason to love Terry Francona, he was on board when rebuilding was a real possibility. 

The path diverged with Arizona trade.  Arizona needed a shortstop.  They had soured on Bauer, and we really liked him.  Asbrubal is approaching free agency.  The fit was there.  We signed Mike Aviles, giving us a major league replacement.  The Cleveland brass was readying for the rebuild.

It didn't happen.   

But go back to that moment.  Look down that path.  Asdrubal Cabrera for Trevor Bauer.  Mike Aviles is a major league short stop but he isn't Asdrubal.  So, we were downgrading a 94 loss team.  Do we sign Swisher?  Not likely, right?  But we do trade Choo.  Boras is his agent and wants him to test the free agent market.  Cleveland had to move him now if they hoped to get any value him.  And Bourn?  Forget about it. 

The path most traveled was question marks in left, right, and DH.  Want to look down that path?  See Ben Francisco and Chris McGuiness. 

Not to belabor the point, but Francona signed on to a 94 loss team that might lose both Choo and Cabrera.  (Francona showed us Kosar love.)

Instead Cleveland is trying to thread the needle.  Be competitive now and try to build for the future.  That is the path less traveled.  Maybe there is a reason for that.  This might not work.  But for a moment look down the well worn path and be glad for the road less taken.   

Saturday, February 23, 2013

AMC presents their hit series CLE LF 2012

I'm a fan of AMC's Walking Dead

Yep, it's zombies.  But my interest stems from the real human responses to catastrophe.  For example, multiple characters lock away zombie, former-loved ones, hoping for a cure.  They know better.  But human nature, what it is, they hold out hope.  Maybe the walking dead can live again.  Ultimately, this proves tragically pointless. 

You want to know the difference between being a Cleveland fan now and last year?  Last year, we prayed that zombies could live.  

Last spring, we had an open competition for the left field spot.  Everyone failed.   Failed bad.  Duncan .759 OPS.  Cunningham .544 OPS.  Spilborghs .472 OPS.  Canzler .626 OPS.  ... There were more and all failed to mimic a MLB left fielder.  They say don't trust spring statistics.  But common sense said, rub your eyes and look at the corpses.    

Just like characters in the Walking Dead, former major leaguers were stored in our left field.  There is nothing dignified by pretending the dead will live again.  The climatic end of this charade was when we had to put down zombie Johnny Damon. 

No one wanted to see that. 

This year, we are not praying on zombies.  Dice-K, Kazmir, Giambi, and Raburn aren't going to win spots on a farce.

2013 differs from 2012, because only the living need apply. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

PECOTA projected lineup

BP had Ben Francisco and Chris McGuinness as those most likely to take ABs in the 8th and 9th spots in our batting order, respectively.

The Bourn signing ends that. 

This is a much improved team

Let's see-

-Better team spead
-Power at 1B
-Better OF def
-Versatile lineups
-No glaring weakness against lefthanded pitching
-Many veteran and rookie competition of rotation spots.

Can you think of any??