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Things Are Fine: While We’re Waiting

In the event you decided to sleep away the last two weeks and just woke up this morning, let me catch you up.

According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in a death spiral and have a rookie who’s not exactly keen on learning how to play at the NBA level.

According to Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, Hue Jackson would set up shop during Todd Haley’s weekly media spot, and then chastise the former offensive coordinator for not towing his company line.

And according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cleveland Indians—rather than, you know, allocating resources to bolster one of the league’s worst outfields—are looking to trade current Cy Young finalist Corey Kluber and a Cy Young hopeful in Carlos Carrasco among others, citing “market conditions.”

For years, we’ve heard about the benefits and luxuries of cost-controlled pitching. In 2016, despite the injuries that occurred, the benefits of such were there for all to see. Now, it’s considered a “position of strength,” the way you or I would deal a fifth running back for an upgrade at receiver in a fantasy football league. Roughly 10 years after the Indians traded back-to-back Cy Young winners (and don’t get me started about Victor Martinez), they’re attempting to counter less-than-stellar attendance by taking a similar path. Necessary or not, good luck selling that one to fans going forward.

And while they’re going to hang on to Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, it’s not an if as much as a when—especially when you factor in this recent news about Bryce Harper.

Are you in the Tribe?

In short: You may as well be, because the other options aren’t looking too good. The Klemko report isn’t surprising as much as it is more details about what others—Jason La Canfora and Ian Rapoport, for example—have been saying. While the picture is painted in a way to show Baker Mayfield as being a player who can rise above the dysfunction, its more of the same in the way of yet another season of someone new. I hadn’t realized until Joe Posnanski wrote it a few weeks back, but the Cleveland Browns have hired a new GM, new head coach or new coordinator every year since they were resurrected in 1999. This is remarkable.

The firing of Jackson and Haley guarantees at least one new person will be added to the fray. Assuming that individual is brought on for their offensive mind, perhaps they save Jimmy Haslam from paying two offensive coordinators, but is Gregg Williams safe? Oh, and speaking of, this nugget from Klemko will be sure to make you feel better about everything:

According to two sources with knowledge of former GM Sashi Brown’s tenure, the choice of Jackson was not unanimous. Jackson was Haslam’s man, while Sean McDermott and Matt Patricia had support from those running football operations. Several members of that staff, including an analytics department led by Paul DePodesta, remain in Berea, reporting directly to Haslam—notably, not Dorsey. Haslam, who directed both the Jackson hire and the drafting of Manziel, has given Dorsey no assurances he’ll go with the new GM’s recommendation, according to the two league sources.

Which all ties back to the Cavaliers, who after two weeks of operating without a head coach, have finally agreed to terms with Larry Drew. His new contract comes with a partial guarantee for next season, so even if he is not retained beyond this year—he is a bit older after all—he will be compensated. But now, said head coach is benching his lottery pick point guard to improve the team’s likelihood of winning.

Spoiler: They didn’t win.

And now Sam Dekker, who had been getting playing time in the wake of Kevin Love’s toe surgery, is out at least a month with an ankle injury. The Cavs play Oklahoma City (5-4) Wednesday night, and then get two days to prepare for the 3-8 Chicago Bulls. If they don’t win Saturday, who knows when the next chance will be.

If you’re keeping score, the 1-9 Cavs have fired two coaches, have been served a lawsuit, have mixed messages around competing and development (who saw that coming?), have a rookie who was the prize of the Kyrie Irving trade and can’t be played in games within reach, and have already dealt with a player looking to be traded.

Remember all those folks who said they couldn’t wait for LeBron to leave because it would be “less drama?” How’s that working out?

This Week in #ActualSportswriting:

Is Baker Mayfield the Quarterback Cleveland Has Waited For?” by Kevin Van Valkenberg (ESPN)1

This Week in #ActualNonsportswriting:

This Week in Cool Videos Featuring Kevin Love:

(( Side story: I was invited to watch these interviews take place, but real life has taken over as of late. This is going to be an ongoing “Movember” series where Kevin interviews folks about the trials and tribulations that come with the pressures of being a professional athlete. I’ll be including each episode in this space as they release. Enjoy. ))

Enjoy your Wednesday, kids.

  1. Honored to have been a part of this one. []
  2. And here I thought streaming would provide a bit of a meritocracy… []