Tribe notes as we head into the weekend

Kendrys MoralesTribe notes heading into the weekend series with the Texas Rangers:

1. It is a good thing that the Indians won’t see the newly acquired Matt Garza over the weekend. Not just because he is pitching well, but because we can be spared from hearing from the “I told you so” crowd if he came into Progressive Field and dominated. I wrote about this earlier in the week, but if the rumors are indeed true, renting Garza – who was 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA with the Cubs before being dealt to Texas – the price tag would have been starting third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.

Yes, Lonnie has been brutal in the field since the All Star break with four errors in four games, but he is still making strides at the plate and looking better. The problems against lefties are a huge issue that needs to be corrected, but he is only 24 years old. You just do not give up a 24 year old, club controlled, prospect for a two and a half month rental of a guy who you know will most likely sign elsewhere this winter. Besides, the Indians still have no other viable option behind Chisenhall for the long term. There is nothing in the pipeline above A ball that could be viewed as a future replacement.

It would certainly help matters if Lonnie was more consistent with the bat and with the glove and became more than just a platoon player.

In return for Garza, the Rangers sent Chicago former top third base prospect Mike Olt, A ball stud pitcher C.J. Edwards, and starting pitcher Justin Grimm, who who immediately go into the Cubs rotation. A player or two to be named later will go as well. Olt was almost on par with Jurickson Profar in terms of being untouchable a year ago in the Texas organization, but has really struggled in AAA in 2013. Consider him their version of Matt LaPorta. The Cubs are actually leaving him in AAA hoping he finds his swing.

Many in baseball circles think the Cubs received a nice haul considering Garza was a rental. The Rangers in the meantime got a front line starter and are in “win now” mode. They also could very easily sign Garza after the season should they choose.

2. Enough about Garza – lets talk about the hottest prospect in the Indians organization. I of course am speaking of Francisco Lindor, who was just moved up to AA Akron. Nobody doubts the kid is ready, but nobody could have expected him to go out and be the best player on the field right away. Essentially, that is what he has done.

The 19 year old has played 10 games with the Aeros and is hitting a whopping .441/.578/.647. In 45 plate appearances, Lindor has reached base 26 times. Worried about his patience and plate discipline? Francisco has 10 walks with just one strikeout. Oh, and did I mention his ridiculous stellar defense at short?

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let the kid finish out the season in Akron and see how he does before you all call for him to take over at short next year. I think the Tribe’s plan of Lindor taking the reigns from Asdrubal Cabrera in 2015 is still the most prudent avenue.

3. Nick Swisher told the media yesterday that part of the reason he is having a tough season is because he is trying so hard to live up to the big contract he signed.

“I’m one of those guys who puts a lot of pressure on themselves,” said Swisher. “You want to live up to that. You don’t want to let anyone down. I think that was probably half my battle. I was worrying so much about that and I forgot about going out there and playing the game you love.”

While I do admire that he wants to do well for the city and I don’t doubt his effort, I think there are two factors at play here. First, he is hurt. He has admitted taking cortisone shorts during the season to help ail his nagging shoulder issue. That is a tough thing to try and play through, just ask our old buddy Travis Hafner.  The hope is that it does not become a chronic problem, like it did with Pronk.

The bigger issue I think is reality. The Indians overpaid for Swisher. Pure and simple. They had to if they wanted to get him here. He had the luxury of spending the last four years playing in that bandbox of new Yankee Stadium where a popup to right field is a homer. When the lineup isn’t counting on you to “be the man” it also is a completely different set of circumstances. Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixiera all were ahead of Swish in the New York pecking order. Whatever they got from him was a bonus. For the first time in his career – he is the supposed centerpiece of an offense.

Maybe he just isn’t that kind of guy. But that is what the Indians are paying for, hence the immense pressure he is putting on himself.

4. The trade deadline is just five days away and so far we haven’t heard much from the Indians. They were named in the Garza sweepstakes, but were said to never be a serious player. Alfonso Soriano, a guy who would have looked great in the Tribe’s DH spot, is reportedly on his way to the Yankees today. The issue with Soriano was always his contract, which still has $18 million for next year on it.

The Indians search should start with a left-handed reliever like Joe Thatcher of the Padres or Oliver Perez of the Mariners, but adding a bat certainly couldn’t hurt. Mark Reynolds continues to be a black hole in the order and while they love Jason Giambi in the clubhouse, he needs to be doing more at the plate in his limited chances. The guy I would love the Indians to grab is someone we just saw in Seattle – DH/1B Kendrys Morales.

Morales (.279/.339/.463) is 30 years old and is a free agent at seasons end, so the going-nowhere Mariners have no real reason to hang onto him. He is a switch hitter with power – his 15 homers would be tied for the Indians team lead with Jason Kipnis and Reynolds – who is hitting well in the clutch. With runners in scoring position, Kendrys is hitting .348/.396/.584 with 42 RBIs in 84 at bats.

He probably wouldn’t cost all that much in terms of top prospects and would be an instant upgrade over Reynolds. If I were Chris Antonetti, I would see what a Morales/Perez combo deal would cost me. You could kill two birds with one stone – add a veteran bat and a left handed reliever.

  • SDA

    We can only hope!

  • Jaker

    1- Don’t compare Olt to LaPorta. At least not yet. And yes, I’m glad Chiz is still here, even with his bad d, his potential is still high. Who knows, maybe we will move him to 1b a year or two down the road and Bulk him up, Thome style(one could dream)

    2- I love the “Lindor: 2015” idea. Cabby walks, and Lindo’s the man, or we trade Cabby(offseason or next year) and have Aviles play interim SS until the future arrives

    3-Swisher is playing hurt, is in a new city, has no protection and yes, is overpaid, but I think its too early to say he can’t be “the guy”… If Santana and ACab become more consistent, it takes plenty off of Swish’s shoulders. That could help!

    4- I would love that two birds deal. Perez has been a solid Lefty and as long as we don;t overuse him, he could be our guy. I’ve always been a Morales fan, and even on a rental, would love to get him. But how much would those two cost? I’m thinking Seattle overvalues them

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The price to rent Garza was to much but the Indians need to make a deal or two IMO. As for Lindor it’s great to see him do well immediately because this should only increase his rise in the ranks. I’m down on Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s not hitting and his defense has been horrendous. It’s no good if for every spectacular play you make that you make 2-3 bonehead ones. Least not to me anyways.

    Btw as far as Soriano goes reportedly the Cubs will be paying almost all of his contract. I believe I heard on MLB Network last night that all the Yankees would be on the hook for is something like $6M. Not sure if that’s $6M overall or $6M this year as well as next. Either way the Indians should have been talking to Chicago about something like this IMO.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If Seattle wants to give them away sure no problem but frankly neither excites me especially Perez. Perez has stunk it up for multiple years on multiple teams until finally someone figured stick him in the bullpen where he only has to face a few hitters at a time. That’s not much of an endorsement if you ask me.

    Swisher is probably hurt but I agree with TD the Indians overpaid and really had to given last years debacles. Quite simply the Indians overpaid so much that no other team was interested. Swisher is what he is and that won’t change. It’s why he was in a perfect spot with the Yankees but sticks out like a sore thumb with the Indians.

    Chris Davis alone has more homeruns then the top two Indians combined. This has been a year in and year out case. It needs to change next year.

  • Jaker

    agreed on Soriano. Yanks gave up a low ball picther for him and are basically paying quarter of his salary. Was Chicago that desperate to get rid of him?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea I don’t know given they got little back and are practically paying Soriano to play for another team I guess they must have been. This would have been a perfect kind of deal for the Indians.

  • Steve

    The Indians are 4th in the league in wRC+, so Swisher can’t blame his struggles on the rest of the team. Also, as far as being overpaid, welcome to the FA market. He’s been a 3 WAR player, on pace for a 3 WAR year. This is what slightly above average players get. Indians fans want the team to spend on the FA market, but don’t want them to pay the going rate.

  • Steve

    .287 OBP is enough said. He’s not an improvement to this lineup, even at zero cost.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    17 homeruns, 51 RBI, 47 R and 10 SB as well. That would lead the Indians in HRs, be tied for second in RBI, second in Rs and tied for third in SB.

    That’s an improvement at virtually zero cost.

  • Steve

    Home runs in Wrigley? I’m shocked to hear. Next you’ll tell me that RHHs do well at Fenway and LHHs do well in Yankee Stadium.

    Get him out of that park and he has 6 HRs in 190 ABs, which is a rate lower than seven guys currently on our roster.

    RBI and R? Congratulations that he gets to hit in the middle of the order in a bandbox.

    5 CS with those 10 SB, so wash those out. He’s a net zero baserunner.

    He is 142nd out of 155 qualifiers in OBP, again in that bandbox, adds nothing on the bases, and is a negative in the field.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s always a pleasure Steven. Have a nice day!

  • mgbode

    yeah, I’m not so sure Morales would be worth giving anything decent up to acquire. Then again, I’m banking on one more 4week hot stretch from Reynolds.

  • Harv 21

    – Your analysis is same as mine, TD. His value to the team increases when you realize the sins of the farm system leave no real alternatives. And he’s two years younger than Cord Phelps, if that makes anyone feel better.

    – Re Swisher feeling pressure, even if it’s true I don’t want to hear about it. If you demand and receive the money don’t immediately whine about its burden. I don’t care that you care, I assume you should care. You’ve been in the majors 10 years. You’ve got teammates looking up to you. Demonstrate some grace under pressure, and if you can’t at least cut it with the lonely-up-here excuses.

  • ToxicToast

    I’m also a fan of acquiring Morales. I’m interested to see how the roster is restructured if one or two players are brought in this week. Particularly, if a LOOGY is brought in, does Rich Hill stay around too or does someone else lose their spot on the roster?

  • Jason Hurley

    Except that Soriano had a list of teams he wouldn’t go to. You think Cleveland was on it?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I suppose it’s a possibility I think the better explanation is probably NY making the best deal. For all we know the Indians were probably never interested in Soriano and even if they had been I’m sure they never imagined him being given away.

  • woofersus

    I wouldn’t give up anything substantial for Morales either, but if he were the right kind of bargain I could see him being a help. I have some hope left for Reynolds to get hot again as well, but the more time goes by, the more it dwindles. He has a pattern, but it seems like the slump is deeper and longer this year, and without the sporadic home runs.

  • woofersus

    I suspect they’d initially send CC Lee back down, but their dedication to “getting Hill going” would be diminished, and by late August if he hadn’t gotten substantially hot, he’d probably be gone in favor of bringing Lee back up. They’d like to have a pair of lefties, but once you hit the home stretch I think you just go with your best guys. I guess in September they can expand the bullpen anyway, and we’ll probably see both Lee and Guilmet regardless.

  • Steve

    Athletes – damned if you don’t speak to the media, damned if you actually open up a little bit.

    The only choice

  • mgbode

    if I was the agent for any Indians player, then I would have them memorize all of the quotes from Major League and use them for every answer to every reporter during their entire tenure with the team.

    and we’d eat it up 🙂

  • Harv 21

    wait, who wants athletes to open up? Hey … I think you’re Roy Firestone.

    [I’m lazy, somebody hit me up with some Rod Tidwell interview action]

  • Steve

    Easiest way to become known as a pain in the ass, clubhouse cancer, etc is to make the media’s job harder for them. The media writes that you’re a jerk, and the fans eat it up, and it snowballs.

    I think mgbode’s suggestion would work perfectly for the Indians though.

  • nj0

    What about from Back to the Minors?