One of the best things one can say about the Mark Shapiro led Cleveland Indians is they didn’t waste downtime.
When the Tribe fell out of contention in a given season, Shapiro didn’t hold on to players who weren’t part of the future in Cleveland, mostly players who were not coming back the following season.
If the player’s contract expired at the end of the season, the then-GM made a move to try to get something for that player.
That’s how the Indians acquired several key players: SS Asdrubal Cabrera came in exchange for Eduardo Perez. Ben Broussard was traded for Shin-Soo Choo, and Mark De Rosa was sent away to get Chris Perez. Carlos Santana was picked up for Casey Blake.
Unfortunately, the current GM, Chris Antonetti forgot the organizational roots.
After an 11 games losing streak and relative inactivity at the trading deadline (getting Brent Lillibridge doesn’t count as doing something), the time to start looking toward 2013 would have been August 1st.
For some reason, the Tribe front office still isn’t looking forward, and that is mind-boggling.
It is apparent that the players currently on the roster who will be free agents don’t have any value to other teams, and certainly aren’t going to bring back another team’s good to very good prospect, like a Choo or Cabrera.
Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t moves that can be made.
People can pretty much be sure that players like Casey Kotchman, Jack Hannahan, and Shelley Duncan will not be wearing a Cleveland uniform when spring training starts next February.
Yet, they are still on the major league roster, and manager Manny Acta continues to give them at bats.
The organization will tell you there aren’t any prospects in Columbus, no one that can help the big league club.
The response to that is how can they be sure? They are the same people who think the three players listed above could be contributors on this season’s team.
Matt LaPorta was just added to the roster last Friday, and right now he needs to play every day, not just against left-handers. A decision must be made on him, and the only way it can be decided he’s not part of the future is by giving him regular and consistent playing time.
He’s probably not the answer, but why not find out for sure?
The same with Russ Canzler. Obviously, Antonetti saw something in him last winter when he claimed the right-handed hitter off waivers from Tampa Bay.
He ranks in the top ten in most slugging categories in the International League, so why isn’t he getting some at bats in the majors to see if those numbers can translate?
We’ve said this before about Canzler…you cannot classify him as a AAAA hitter because he’s had a grand total of three at bats in the big leagues.
You can make the same argument about looking at Jared Goedart and Tim Fedroff.
The Indians had a tremendous opportunity to get at least a few of these players perhaps as many as 200 at bats to find out if any of these guys could help the ’13 version of the Tribe.
Why it hasn’t been done is just one more mystery for the Shapiro/Antonetti leadership, adding to several others that have caused fans to roll their collective eyes this season.
Although all of those guys could get a September look, baseball people understand that you have to look at stats compiled in this month with a jaundiced eye.
This is another reason to be critical of the current administration. Another “could have” moment.