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While We’re Waiting… for a hero

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“While We’re Waiting” serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“The Cleveland Indians, for instance, are a heavily flawed team succeeding on the back of perhaps one of the best offseasons in the free agent market we’ve seen in recent memory. Not only have the Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Mark Reynolds signings looked anywhere from solid (Reynolds) to brilliant (Bourn), but the team also has gotten 60.2 innings of 4.30 ERA starting pitching from non-roster invitee and recent disaster Scott Kazmir, whose major league career was supposed to be more or less over. A 4.30 ERA is nothing to brag about for an ace, but that’s not what Kazmir has to be; he has to be the guy that gives Cleveland credible innings at the back of their rotation, because when the year began, the team didn’t look like it even had five real starting pitchers. While Justin Masterson and Zach McAllister started the year strong, June’s heroes in the rotation were actually Ubaldo Jimenez (3.09 ERA in 32 IP) and the improbable Corey Kluber (3.90 ERA in 32.1 IP). On the other side of the ball, second baseman Jason Kipnis turned into the best hitter in baseball for June, hitting .411/.509/.667 for the entire month. The only guys who walked more than Kipnis (19) were David Ortiz (20) and Adam Dunn (21), and those two guys were intentionally walked eight and three times, respectively, to Kipnis’s zero. No one doubled more than Kipnis did (12), though both Yadier Molina and Manny Machado matched his number.” [Bernhardt/Sports on Earth]

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An interview with John Oliver- “Sheffield should be twinned with Cleveland — cities of sadness. When England played Germany in the last World Cup, I said to my wife before the game, “If and when we lose this game, I’m not gonna be good. Nothing fun’s gonna happen.” So she watches the game with me, and the game is awful. It goes very badly for England. Then, in the most loving possible way, after the final whistle, she sat there in silence for a minute and said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Everything’s going to be okay.” I said, “I have to go for a walk.” I went to Central Park and I walked around the park four or five times, took hours just to try and get that feeling out of my system.” [Raab/Esquire]

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“For Cleveland, the problem is even more basic. Their Top-4 picks may not be able to play together. In the backcourt, Irving and Waiters need the ball in their hands and neither has the size to match-up with bigger shooting guards. In the frontcourt, Thompson and Bennett are natural power forwards. At 6’9 230, Thompson doesn’t have the size to be a center. Bennett’s game, meanwhile, is based around beating slower players off the dribble as a 4, not posting up smaller players as a 3.

Down the road, neither team has an answer in the middle. Washington used their top-3 picks on a PG, a SG and a SF while Cleveland went with two guards and two combo forwards. In the modern NBA, unless you have an owner like Mikhail Prokhorov, you cannot have highly-paid players at all five positions on the floor. The Wizards and the Cavs both made their picks under the assumption that you don’t need a high-level C to win.” [Tjarks/Real GM]

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“In the days of the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff runs, this could have been called the “Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble” clause, but the idea still holds true. You can’t trade guys you no longer want, yet bring back players who make a substantial difference in a pennant race.

Examples include Chris Perez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Hagadone. Perez still has some value on the trade market, but the two-time All-Star closer likely was shopped last winter with no takers meeting the Indians’ price. Young teams out of contention don’t need or want a closer who has a contract that expires at the end of 2014 (nor do they want to pay him the $8 to 8.5 million he could land in arbitration this winter). Certainly a team in contention might have some interest in Perez, but trades between contenders are even more difficult to swing.

Chisenhall and Hagadone once were considered prospects, but really no longer meet the definition. Just because you haven’t established yourself as a full-time major leaguer, doesn’t necessarily mean you still are bursting with upside. Both still could emerge as valuable members of the Indians or another team, but each also has had several opportunities to shine in the big leagues and not taken advantage of them. If you are a team looking to trade off your best player, trading for players who have proven to not put it all together with several big league chances is not exactly what you want in return. Most teams looking to rebuild would rather receive younger players who aren’t MLB ready, don’t have their service time clock already running and have a higher potential at this point.” [Brandyberry/DTTWLN]

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Mark Reynolds lands on the list of the week’s wildest swings- “Now this is what this series is all about. The wildest swings don’t always look that wild, but this is the definition of flailing. Mark Reynolds didn’t just strike out — he struck out against a Twin, which is worthy of note. Perhaps equally remarkable is that Reynolds managed to keep both his hands on the bat while he swung all the way around, even though usually you’ll see one hand come off when the swing is sufficiently ill-advised. After striking out, Reynolds looks at his bat, wondering why it couldn’t hit the baseball. The answer, of course, is that the ball was too far away, and no bat could’ve hit that baseball. The pitch shouldn’t have been swung at. The only reason, then, for Reynolds to look at his bat is if the bat suggested to Reynolds that it was going to do the job. Which means the bat lied to Reynolds, which means Reynolds thinks the bat is capable of communication. Sometimes we describe these people as “quirky” or “idiosyncratic.” What we mean to say is ‘ill.'” [Sullivan/FanGraphs]

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“It’s very cool that the Cavs have interest in Pekovic. Heck, Pekovic might even have interest in the Cavs. But none of that matters because Pekovic is a restricted free agent. Whatever the Cavaliers offer him, the Timberwolves can match. Multiple reliable sources indicate that the Wolves intend to do just that. No backloaded contract or max offer will deter them. Pekovic was very very productive for them this past season and they would like to keep him. So they will.

I hate to break it to Cavs fans that continuously tell me that we should sign Pek, but we aren’t getting him. This isn’t a matter of the Cavs just needing to offer more money or selling Pekovic on the prospects of playing for the Cavs. This is up to the Timberwolves and unless, for some completely unexpected reason, they choose not to match the offer, Pekovic will not be on the Cavs. Sorry bros. It ain’t happening.” [Kaczmarek/Fear the Sword]

  • humboldt

    Rick, you missed some small but substantial news about Browns uniforms. Purging the “AL” is a giant symbolic albatross off of our city’s back: http://espncleveland.com/common/more.php?m=49&action=blog&r=17&post_id=19501

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    I’d agree more with John Oliver if Sheffield Wednesday hadn’t won the
    League Cup in 1991 and been to both FA Cup and League Cup Finals in
    1993.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    ” In the modern NBA, unless you have an owner like Mikhail Prokhorov, you cannot
    have highly-paid players at all five positions on the floor.”
    If the Cavs are winning with regularity, we can have highly paid players at all five positions on the floor, because Cleveland sells out with regularity when we’re winning. The money comes in. A winning Cavs team will also help support some of Dan’s other investments in the Cleveland area (such as his Casino) as people flying in and staying over to watch the Cavs play will want a place to go to party when they’re done.

  • CB Everett

    It was like we were marked by a scarlet letter of terribleness.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    I worried it’s not the “AL” on the jersey, but the “Cleveland” that is the scarlet letter of terribleness.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    “In the backcourt, Irving and Waiters need the ball in their hands and neither has the size to match-up with bigger shooting guards.”

    Dwyane Wade and Lebron are both players that need the ball in their hands too…yet somehow, they managed 3 straight finals appearances and 2 straight championships.
    While Waiters doesn’t have the prototypical height to matchup against bigger shooting guards, he does have the requisite length. He’s also fairly strong. From a body type, he is built a lot like Wade…who (at one time) was actually a pretty good wing defender. Clearly Waiters has a lot of work to do on his man defense skills to get anything close to what Wade was…but the physical capabilities are there. There’s also a pretty darn good defensive coach manning our bench again.
    I am concerned about the TT/Bennett fit. I was thoroughly against drafting him when I assumed we’d be picking in the 3-5 range. I really don’t like him at #1. If I thought he could play the 3, I’d actually be a little more OK with the pick (though my preferences were Noel, Porter, trade back.)

  • boomhauertjs

    The more free agency unfolds, the more I’m resigned to the fact that the only way the Cavs are going to get better is through a Harden-like trade where a team has to dump a borderline All-Star for salary reasons. In fact, I think that’s Chris Grant’s only plan – accumulate all of these “assets” for such a trade. But what happens when that trade doesn’t become available? You’re stuck with a bunch of incompatible parts and a bunch of late 1st round draft picks (and another trip to the lottery).

  • dwhit110

    Agree. The first step is winning and I think the spending will follow. Gilbert showed a willingness to spend money when LBJ was still here and has spent money in trades to get draft picks (hello Kyrie Irving). I think you’re right, the ROI of having a winning team that’ll fill up the arena with his casino next door will be huge, that’s likely one of the reasons for the playoffs-or-bust mantra.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Who all is incompatible again? The “obvious” choice would be TT and Bennett…but Bennett has yet to play an NBA game…and TT has already shown remarkable growth on the court. He’s also grown a bit physically as there was a picture taken not that long ago where he was a good 2 inches taller than Lebron James (6’8-6’9). So it’s entirely possible that TT becomes big enough to play Center…and that means he and Bennett do fit next to each other.
    You are making long-term assumptions based off of essentially nothing.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    The more Dan Gilbert is around, the more I think of him like an Eastern Conference version of Mark Cuban…and I’m a huge fan of that owner! He only cares about his franchise and reaching out to his fans. The rest of the NBA can kiss his arse! LOL

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m not sold on Gilbert I think he’s great with PR but who couldn’t be when you are making money off those same people? I’m waiting to see when and if Gilbert spends again. Yea he spent when LBJ was here but that was easy because he was making a ton of cash too. Since then Gilbert hasn’t spent at all instead conserving it for some future time. Well the time is getting closer. Very close. Last offseason he didn’t spend much he needs to step that up. Next summer time is up.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This is the problem with trying to build primarily through the draft. First it takes entirely to long. Second you have to hit on every draft pick otherwise you spin your wheels. Third to hit on every pick means you can correctly predict how young, immature first time professionals can work together. The OKC model is the exception not the norm.

    As far as the Harden trade goes I wouldn’t hold that out as an example either but I agree for a team like the Cavaliers trading is the next best option. Ferry used it well unfortunately not well enough and some could argue the players he traded for weren’t exactly stellar. This is probably why those players were available in the first place however.

    There has to be a blend between drafting, trading and spending. Grant has been drafting and he made one trade last year (did it help, what did it really achieve?) but really hasn’t made any long lasting deals other then those for the draft. By long lasting I mean for players who remained with the team for more then a season. Most of if not all of Grant’s trades have been with the luxury tax in mind. Great job. Now start using that flexibility and assets to make a difference. Tick tock, tick tock.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    So Thompson has not only figuratively but literally grown up before our eyes?

    This is the problem with drafting. You select kids basically who come out of college completely underdeveloped unprepared both physically and mentally for the professionals. The best thing the NBA did was institute a minimum age. It needed to be even more stringent IMO.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Um you cannot compare a second year player and a rookie to Wade and James. I think I need to pull you aside because your starting to post like a rookie. Stay within yourself grasshopper…paint da fence, wax da floor…

  • Ben Frambaugh

    He’s growing…not grown up. Distinct difference. Grown up implies he’s done. I doubt that he’s done growing (either as a basketball player or as a human.)
    To me, the age restriction thing needs to be all or none…not this 1 year crap. Either go back to something like a 3-year deal…or go back to allowing high-school grads. What they’ve done is basically a sham.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I’m not saying Kyrie and Dion are the next Lebron/Wade. I thought that point was obvious. I was referring to James (a guy who needs the ball in his hands to be at his most effective) and Wade (a guy who needs the ball in his hands to be at his most effective) have found a way to co-exist…and that should suggest that Kyrie (a guy who needs the ball in his hands to be at his most effective) and Dion (a guy who needs the ball in his hands to be at his most effective) can also find a way to co-exist.
    At this point, you are picking nits.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    The question is why isn’t he spending these last few seasons? Because the GM was (to me) tanking.)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t think they had to try hard to lose unfortunately but I’m sure they were cautious with guys returning from injuries. I’m also sure they’d say they didn’t spend because there weren’t players who could make that much of a difference so why overspend. I think.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    LeBron and Wade were already established veterans if those two superstars couldn’t work together I’d have been shocked. Irving and Waiters are kids not only are you expecting them to be able to work together but you are using LeBron and Wade as a benchmark. Those, rook, are some very lofty expectations.

  • Steve

    It’s a cold day somewhere as we strongly agree (both here and above).

    Now is when Gilbert has to prove himself. Spending when Lebron is on your roster and well underpaid is easy for every NBA owner, so is gutting the roster and not spending a dime.

    And Irving and Waiters have a lot to prove in the league still. Comparing them to Lebron/Wade is laughable.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If we don’t find common ground sometime that says more about us as individuals then anything. In the end it’s all good. It’s just a blog. We’re just blogging giving our own opinions. I let it get to me sometimes what can you do. In the end, as far as WFNY and Cleveland sports go, all I want is a championship. People can converse, debate and spin until their hearts are content. I just want that one undeniable sentence ending period known as a championship!

  • Natedawg86

    I believe that AL stood for Always Last

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I am using play style as a benchmark…not their ceilings. I don’t expect Waiters to ever become Wade in his prime…and I don’t exepct anyone to ever become Lebron in his. You are making assumptions by reading entirely too much into what I’m typing here. Stylistically is all I am implying.
    Why is it so shocking to think that two established stars (potentially set in their ways) would struggle to find a way to fit in together?
    Why is it so shocking to think that two young guards can grow together as they learn how to play off of each other long before they’ve developed NBA habits as “the man” on a team. Kyrie had one locked-out (and injury shortened) season with the Cavs before Waiters came along. Then the two played dueling injuries so that they didn’t get a lot of time together to work on how to play their respective brand of basketball together. I expect better play this upcoming season out of them than I did last year. Just like the expectation for Wade and James to co-exist was higher in year two of their union than it was in year one.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    It’s like you people are deliberately misreading what I wrote.
    Stylistically (ball-dominant wing players) there are similarities. If you can’t see that, then what is laughable is your opinion. I have never said that Kyrie is the next Lebron (or will be anything close.) I have never said that Waiters is the next Wade.
    I made very specific comparisons (whether it was a body type in regards to Wade and Waiters…which is completely true, they have a very similar body type) or a specific component of play style (a guy whose strength is at its best with the ball in their hands having to learn to play alongside a guy whose strength is at its best with the ball in his hands.)
    Don’t read anything further into it than that. It goes no further. At all.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Ultiamately, I think that they were deliberately tanking so that they could build through the draft. Now, they are at the point that they need to see progress. They can claim that they were trying to use the OKC model…but if that’s true, then the Cavs need to see a big jump in victories this season. Even if it only nets them a 7th or 8th seed, that’s OK…because that’s what OKC did.
    Of course, an easy argument could be made that OKC had/has better talent, and only got an 8th seed because they play(ed) in a much tougher Western Conference.
    If the Cavs aren’t in serious contention for a playoff spot, then it’s clear there have been some serious failures…even if the failure is nothing more than a lack of player health.

  • That’s what the ‘tips’ email is for btw…

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    “… Kyrie is the next LeBron … Waiters is the next Wade.”
    -Ben Frambaugh