Tuesday, July 8, 2008
RIP: 2008 Cleveland Indians
I take a little extended Fourth of July holiday with very little access to the outside world (Missouri will do that to you) and even less yet of the sports sphere. Much to my surprise, I return to find the underachieving Cleveland Indians a shadow of their former selves. Joe Blows and CC No Periods are off the team. Woo! The team gave up halfway through 2008 and just like that we're done. I suppose things are back to normal. Man, one game away from the World Series seems like such a long time ago.
So the question definitely turns to what the hell happened?
The only thing keeping me from answering "everything" is Grady Sizemore. The man is marvelous and he's better this year than last. Unfortunately, he's the only thing that has improved has nearly every other position has seen a decrease in performance. You'll have to double the 2008 numbers to get a semi accurate comparison as we are now halfway through the the season. Around the horn:
Catcher, Victor Martinez:
2007: .374 OBP, 25 HRs, 114 RBIs
2008: .332 OBP, 0 HR, 21 RBIs, and DLed (198 at bats)
First Base, Ryan Garko:
2007: .359 OBP, 21 HRs, 61 RBIs
2008: .324 OBP, 6 HRs, 40 RBIs
Second Base, Asdrubal Cabrera*:
2007: .354 OBP, 30 runs, 3 HRs, 22 RBIs
2008: .282 OBP, 16 runs, 1 HR, 14 RBIs
*Asdrubal came up to the majors halfway through the season last year and managed 159 at bats before the season ended. This year, he had 158 at bats before heading back to the minors to stop sucking. The at bats are almost exactly perfect for our comparison.
Shortstop, Jhonny Peralta*:
2007: .341 OBP, 21 HRs, 72 RBIs
2008: .298 OBP, 13 HRs, 38 RBIs
*Jhonny's power numbers are about on par from last year which while unspectacular are seemingly immune from the Cleveland suckfest. Unfortunately, the .50 drop in OBP (sub .300!) was not.
Third Base, Casey Blake*:
2007: .339 OBP, 16 HRs, 78 RBIs
2008: .355 OBP, 8 HRs, 47 RBIs
*Casey ever the average third baseman has seen a tad bit of improvement. The problem being that most of the improvement came in the last 30 days when Cleveland was already playing catch up. As late as June 6th, his OBP was .315.
Right Field, Franklin Gutierrez:
2007: .318 OBP, 13 HRs, 36 RBIs
2008: .269 OBP, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs
*Franklin, like Asdrubal, was a midseason call-up last year. He had 271 at bats last season and has already had 202 this year. Oh yes, he's also hitless in his last 28 at bats.
Left Field, Who Knows:
Kenny Lofton, Trot Nixon, Ed Schillinger, Jason Michaels, and David Dellucci all occupied space here in 2007. This year, Lofton and Nixon were not resigned, Michaels was released midseason, and Dellucci is batting .223 having given way to Ben Franscisco.
Starting Pitcher, Paul Byrd:
2007: 15-8, 4.59 ERA, 27 HRs allowed
2008: 3-10, 5.53 ERA, 23 HRs allowed
Relief Pitcher, Rafael Betancourt:
2007: 1.47 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 4 HRs allowed, .183 Opponent's batting average
2008: 5.67 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 7 HRs allowed, .293 Opponent's batting average
Not to say anything of Fausto Carmona's injury and Joe Borowski's release. I have no idea what caused this cataclysmic decline in the entire team, but I'm going to speak in hyperbole and say that it is in fact the greatest collapse of any single team from one year to the next in the history of the world. The numbers are not close. They are all horrible. Cleveland sucks.
The good news is the last time we traded an overweight pitcher for prospects, Cleveland ended up with Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee - the only two players worth a damn on this roster. Oh, and Joe Borowski will never pitch again for the Indians. Begin the Jeff Weaver era!