Tribe Talk

Some organizations just get it. By no means am I trying to disparage other organizations, but the Cleveland Indians just know how to do things the right way these days.

Case in point: the Coco Crisp deal (we won’t go into the terrific Arthur Rhodes for Jason Michaels trade in this forum). Don’t get me wrong, Coco Crisp is a nice little player and he had a breakout in 2005. And he’s young. Will he continue to evolve and be a good leadoff hitter for the Red Sox? Who knows. But after assuring they had Michaels’ bat in the Rhodes deal, the Indians were able to turn Crisp into one of the best prospects in baseball — and arguably the best third base prospect (one of the few positions where the Indians have no depth in their system) in Andy Marte, a pretty darned good catching prospect in Kelly Shoppach, who was stuck behind Jason Varitek AND a legitimate setup man in Guillermo Mota.

But that may not be all. It sounds like they got Shoppach included perhaps because of Mota’s injury possibilities. In addition, depending on the report, they’ll also get a PTBN (Player to be Named). It may be a player they get only if Mota ends up on the DL, but even so…getting three players who could contribute in 2006 (though Marte, it seems, will really contribute starting in 2007), addressing an organizational need at third, building out a bullpen that was an achilles heel in 2006 and getting a very solid catcher who could backup Victor Martinez this year and is more than ready to catch every day should something happen to Martinez (or if/when he’s ready to change positions) — can you think of another organization who would get all that, then be able to hedge their bets on Mota with a PTBN? At the very least, they’ve got some more chips for trades (especially Shoppach) if they compete in the AL Central as I fully expect them to.

So kudos to the Indians. I know folks in Cleveland didn’t want to see Coco go. He’s a fun player. But trust me on this one, they continue to set themselves up for success in the short-term and for years to come.


Great posting! I largely agree with everything you said. I also think that getting Coco was a good thing for the Red Sox. I think that he can be a very solid CF replacement for Johnny Damon. What little you lose offensively, you gain with Crisp’s defense and arm. I also think that within two years, Crisp will be better than Damon will be.

The only question about your posting is this… didn’t the Indians have the best bullpen in the league in 2005?

That said, Marte is great for the Indians. They need a 3B, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he is contributing by the 2nd half of the season for the team. I’ve read that Shoppach could move Victor Martinez to 1B from time to time. However, I don’t see that happening until 2007 when the platoon of Broussard and Perez should be gone. I admittedly don’t know a lot about Shoppach, but have read that he’s got great power but won’t hit for much average.

Honestly, this might be a deal that ends up being very good for both teams. For 2006, Crisp and Riske will likely contribute more to the Red Sox than Mota, Shoppach and Marte will to the Indians. However, if you end up looking over the next 5 years, this is a wonderful deal for the Indians future.

Seth, you and your need for accurate details. Shows I should stick to the Minors…yes, the Indians had the best bullpen ERA in the AL in 2005. But looking at who got the job done, Howry’s gone and a lot of the other guys don’t exactly fill me with confidence. Or maybe I’m just trying to cover my own you-know-where…

Jonathan, I think is a good deal for the Tribe’s Minor league system, but not so good for the Major league team. They just weakened their left field position & their relief core.
I thought before they could challenge the White Sox for the division or challenge for the wild card….now im not so sure

The Indians did great, but why get Shoppach unless….

I wrote a long post over at

First, let me say I love to see the string of comments flowing…keep ’em coming.

Second, I’m not so sure they weakened their team. The bullpen certainly isn’t any worse. Yes, Arthur Rhodes was good last year, but he’s getting long in the tooth. David Riske? You really trust him? Fernando Cabrera is better than either of them IMO. As far as the outfield, there a lot of people out there who think Jason Michaels will put up some nice numbers in a full-time gig and Franklin Gutierrez has barely scratched the surface of his ability, which will push Casey Blake to a backup role.

And thirdly (is that a word), I read your post, ephinz, about the possibility of flipping Shoppach. While I think that’s highly possible, I don’t see them trading for a 1B. If they feel they need a corner OF, ok, but they’ve got more than enough at first/DH, what with Broussard, Hafner and Ryan Garko, who needs to play now. Worst-case, they upgraded seriously at backup catcher, which would enable them to let VMartinez out from behind the plate more often. Try this one on for size…maybe they move someone like Broussard, slide VMartinez to first and use a three-person rotation w/him, Garko and Hafner at 1B and DH. Then Shoppach becomes your starter, which he’s more than ready for defensively.

As long as Shoppach is considered a decent prospect, the Tribe should do everyhting they can to get that perceived value.

Shoppach hasn’t hit well for AVG. I am not convinced he will start to do so while learning major league pitching.

Garko, unfortunately, seems to be the off man out. Hafner just mashes at DH, and there are very few ABs there.

Garko defense, to date, does not allow him to play 1B.

Back-up catcher may have worked but Shoppach’s presences ***** up the 60 or so ABs available there.

I have to agree that the Indians hurt themselves in LF. I’m not confident in Michaels as a part-time player stepping up to full-time in a new league.

But, Riske and Rhodes were essentially spare parts down the stretch last season and it appears that Wedge had little confidence left in Riske.

Regardig Garko, he’s not going to see Cleveland until mid-season at the earliest – and that’s if he forces the issue. So there is time to figure out where he fits in the picture.

I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet and seen Shoppach moved to another team.

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