The one thing we have learned from following baseball for many years is that the management of a major league baseball team have to have an extreme amount of patience.
We like to think we are more patient than the normal fan, who wants to bench people, trade people, and sent players to the minor leagues after a bad week.
We lobbied for the Indians to deal or release Ubaldo Jimenez at this point last season, only to have the right-hander earn a huge free agent deal by helping the Tribe get into the post-season in 2013.
However, you have to wonder just how much more patience Terry Francona and GM Chris Antonetti will have with the under performing players currently on the Cleveland roster, namely starting pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, and third baseman Carlos Santana.
Last year, when Jimenez struggled, at least the other members of the starting rotation (Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zack McAllister, and Scott Kazmir) were giving Francona mostly solid efforts. You can kind of live with one guy in the rotation having problems.
When two starters are having problems, that’s a problem, because it puts pressure on everyone else to be good every time out.
The simple solution would be to send Salazar back to Columbus to rediscover himself and put Carrasco in the bullpen, because as we all know by now, he’s gone 16 consecutive starts without a victory. That’s a half season of turns in the rotation.
The moves make particular sense because of the performance of both Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin at AAA.
Bauer has made four starts so far this season, three at Columbus and one with the Tribe, pitching 24-2/3 innings and allowing 4 runs, striking out 29 batters and walking just four. Why wouldn’t it be time to give him a three or four start stint in the majors while he is pitching well?
As for Tomlin, he’s made four starts in AAA, compiling a 1-1 record with a 2.77 ERA. In 26 frames, he’s allowed 19 hits, walking nine and striking out 18 batters. And we know from Tomlin’s work in Cleveland that most nights he will keep his team in the game.
As for Santana, the switch hitter is now batting under .130 and yet is still in the clean up spot for a team struggling to score runs, getting three or less in 13 of the 24 games played. He is still drawing a lot of walks (still a .316 OBP), but maybe he should get a couple of days off, or least drop down in the batting order until he gets it going.
Understand, the Tribe probably isn’t going anywhere without a productive Carlos Santana, but right now leaving him in the #4 hole isn’t helping the Indians get on the scoreboard.
Really, when you think of the problems of this trio, and you add in the horrible defensive play from the Tribe on a night to night basis, it’s kind of miraculous they are only two games below the .500 mark at 11-13.
This bodes well for the rest of the season, because when the defense improves, or the bats start heating up, or the rotation starts performing on a night in, night out basis, Francona’s team should start reeling off some wins.
Nobody is saying to give up on anyone, but perhaps making a couple of tweaks to the make up of the roster after almost 1/6th of the campaign might be in order.
After all, the changes can’t be any worse than what has transpired thus far.