Remember back in April when the Cleveland Indians called up rookie right-hander Alex White to make a start against the Detroit Tigers?
It was viewed as a bold step for the organization, a departure from the days when the Tribe erred on the side of caution when it came to bringing up their prospects. Critics of the front office heralded the change.
That seems like a long time ago. The Tribe was winning then.
Now the Indians have lost 16 of their last 22 games and have fallen out of first place in the AL Central, yet they seems unwilling to try to improve the team by replacing some of the people on the roster who are struggling mightily.
Yesterday, Manny Acta was questioned about the lack of moves being made, and he gave the old Cleveland mantra, something along the lines of it’s not like a department where you can just go and exchange players.
Meanwhile, Seattle, which finds itself surprisingly in contention in the AL West brought up their prize prospect, Dustin Ackley, to help them win right now.
Noted baseball writer Christina Kahrl reacted to Ackley’s promotion by saying sometimes you can win with young players, not despite them.
The Indians will likely active DH Travis Hafner in the next couple of days, and with that move coming, GM Chris Antonetti should not stop there.
Hafner’s activation should mean Travis Buck will be sent back to Columbus. In a corresponding move, Cleveland should designate Austin Kearns for assignment and bring back OF/DH Shelley Duncan. Duncan provides power from the right side, and is a better hitter against southpaws than Kearns. It leaves the Tribe short a defensive outfielder, so…
They should designate Adam Everett for assignment and bring up OF Ezequiel Carrera. Carrera might just be the best defensive outfielder in the organization, and could also fill a pinch-running role.
Losing Everett would leave the team an infielder short, so Orlando Cabrera can move into the role as a utility infielder.
Don’t forget that rookie Cord Phelps is on the roster. Critics will point to Phelps 1 for 16 start and question why he should get more playing time, but the way he has been used hasn’t exactly been conducive to a young player’s success.
Playing a day, having two days off, and then playing again might be something a veteran can handle, but it doesn’t help someone who is used to playing everyday.
If they don’t want to play Phelps, then replace him with Jason Kipnis, who is hitting .296 with 7 HR and 39 RBI (874 OPS) at Columbus. By the way, most observers rate Kipnis just a notch below Ackley as a prospect.
The last move to be made is with the starting rotation where it’s time to give Jeanmar Gomez another look-see. Since being sent back to the minors, Gomez has been dominant, compiling a record of 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA.
Gomez can take the roster space of Chad Durbin, he of the 7.39 ERA, with Mitch Talbot or perhaps Fausto Carmona moving to the bullpen.
This may sound radical or even crazy, but remember this. In spite of this horrible stretch of baseball, the Tribe is still just a game out of first place. They owe it to the players to try to stay in this thing as long as they can.
Besides, they wouldn’t be losing anybody who figures into the organization’s long-range plans.
The time to act is now. Here’s hoping the front office doesn’t settle back in to its mode of looking toward next season.