Posts tagged Trade

Failure the Best Medecine for Indians?

Today I am testing the limits of my abilities to be an understanding fan in a smallish baseball market.  I am currently wondering if the Indians’ failures this season might actually be the best thing in the world for this team in the long run.  And this comes less than a year after the Indians were 27 outs away from a trip to the World Series.  Realize how big a leap this is for me and try to run with me on this one for a little bit.  As I am typing here in this first paragraph, I don’t even know if I am going to convince myself before the end of the post.  From a long-term perspective of the Cleveland Indians, could failure this year be better for this team than success?

Success is a lot of fun.  Don’t ask me how I know.  As a Cleveland sports fan, success is a mystical theory rather than a tangible feeling.  Last year, the Indians got really close to the World Series.  If they had gotten there, I think they had a hell of a chance against the Colorado Rockies.  I know that this isn’t foolproof logic, but the Red Sox swept the Rockies and the Indians were able to go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox.  But the Indians didn’t have enough to get over the top when almost everything was going right.  Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez anchored the offense.  Asdrubal Cabrera provided a much-needed lift both offensively and defensively.  The bullpen was crazy good.  The Raphaels (Perez and Betancourt) were ridiculously effective out of the bullpen.  Given a year of time and the Indians’ current struggles, I think it is safe to say that they were playing a bit over their heads last year.

So, now the Indians are 5 1/2 games back of the Chicago White Sox despite excellent starting pitching.  Cliff Lee has re-emerged as a legit front of the rotation starting pitcher.  CC Sabathia has overcome some early troubles to be an effective number one starter.  Aaron Laffey has filled in admirably for Jake Westbrook and now Fausto Carmona during injuries.

But the offense can’t get anything going.  Asdrubal Cabrera and Franklin Gutierrez are mired in sophomore slumps.  Grady Sizmore hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been a superstar.  Victor Martinez has a good average, but has yet to hit a homer this season.  Jhonny Peralta has some homers, but a horrendous average.  Garko has failed to do much at all.  Jason Michaels was run out of town.  Dellucci hasn’t been great.  Even the callups like Ben Francisco, while better, haven’t provided enough of a spark to get this team going.

The fact is that this team that I was bragging about last season because of their depth looks absolutely thin right now.  Looking down the road to Buffalo doesn’t provide too much light at the end of the tunnel either.

Back to the point.  Could failure this year be better for the Cleveland Indians in the long run?  Well, if the Indians become sellers rather than buyers as we approach the trade deadline, then yes, I think it could be better.  The idea this year was that the Indians were going to keep everything in place to make a run at the World Series including the most talked about upcoming free agent C.C. Sabathia.

If the Indians were to trade C.C. and then later in the year trade Paul Byrd (another upcoming free agent) to a contender in a playoff race there is no telling how much young talent they could infuse into the team.  It would be like the Bartolo Colon trade all over again, except this time Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, and to a lesser extent Garko, Peralta and other pieces are already here.

It would be like jumpstarting a rebuilding so that there wouldn’t be any rebuilding at all.

The Indians would lose C.C. Sabathia and they would still have Fausto Carmona, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and Aaron Laffey in the starting rotation.  The Indians would still have all the suspect offensive pieces in place, but maybe they could have two or three legit possibilities at third base and the corner outfield positions.

But if the Indians were marginally successful this year and DON’T make the World Series, they probably have to face the future with that same personnel when C.C. Sabathia leaves this offseason for $25 million per season somewhere else.  At least if they get an opportunity to trade him they can get the future in place.

See?  I don’t know if even I am convinced.  Maybe this is just me trying to put a silver lining on how badly the Indians are playing right now.

What About Dwyane Wade?

I don’t know if any of you know this by now, but Shaquille O’Neal has been traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. You would have had to dig pretty deeply into the sports websites to find any mention of it. But seriously folks, I know it is big news in Phoenix, but why isn’t there anything being said in Miami?

I know the Heat are really bad this year with a record of 9 wins and 38 losses, but let’s keep in mind that this team isn’t that far removed from a championship win over Dallas a couple of years ago. The question I have is whether the Heat are risking alienation of their star player, Wade, by trading Shaq? Or is it the other way around? Were they risking alienation if they didn’t make a big move to change the downward slide?

I would guess it is the latter more than the former. And the Heat are still a bit of a mish mash of mixed up talent on the floor, but they should start to get a more cohesive game plan together now that Shaq is gone. Heat fans shouldn’t expect to get very far this season, but they can hold out hope that this is all just a part of the turnaround.

For the immediate future, the Heat should at least expect to be more competitive. They should play a more up-tempo style now that Shaq is gone. They have Ricky Davis, Jason Williams, Udonis Haslem and now Shawn Marion to run the floor with Dwyane Wade. And who knows for sure if they have enough guns to make this new up-tempo style effective, but I would think that Marion and Wade are a good start to any team.

Then again, I also believe that any team that features Ricky Davis is due for some addition by subtraction.

Cavs Should Deal for Ron Artest

As we quickly approach the NBA trade deadline, the Cavaliers are in prime position to make the playoffs.  They took down the mighty Celtics last night in Cleveland.  This is the second time that the Cavaliers have beaten the Celts, although this is the first time they played them with Kevin Garnett being out injured.  They are currently second place in their division behind Detroit, and fourth in the east behind Orlando.  The Cavaliers have had their own injury problems up to this point and just like last year the rumors are swirling for the Cavs to pick up some help.  And just like last year, most of the rumors are flying about point guards.  At first I was thinking that way too, but the more I think about it, I think the Cavs should go a different direction.

Sure, the Cavs still don’t have a bona fide point guard on their team.  Boobie Gibson plays more of a gunning three point shooter.  Larry Hughes is a slasher who can play a bit of point guard, but he is certainly not your prototypical PG.  On top of that LeBron plays point-forward a good portion of the game.  In that sense, the Cavs’ game isn’t really broken.  They get the ball up the floor and get into whatever “offense” Mike Brown has drawn up and everything is fine.  So, instead of overpaying for one of the available point guards, the Cavs should just look to add the highest quality player with the least amount of risk.  In this case, that player would be Ron Artest.

Ron Artest isn’t without his history.  We all know that he was involved in the worst fight in the history of the NBA, this side of Kermit Washington.  He has had more than his share of off-the-court problems to be sure.  That being said, Artest has kept a pretty low profile the last couple of years.  On top of that, his on-court production hasn’t faltered.  Artest is a defensive-minded player that consistently puts between 18 and 20 points on the board.  He rebounds well, passes well and plays some kind of a hybrid between the small forward and a power forward.  He would fit in perfectly on this Cavaliers team.

He comes to a team with an established culture and an undeniable superstar in LeBron James.  There is no secret about who runs this team.  He comes to a team that stresses defense first.  That won’t be a problem for Artest who is known in Cleveland as one of the guys who used to work extra hard to shut down LeBron when his Pacers teams played Cleveland.  On top of that, Artest would provide a minimum exposure risk to the Cavs as he has stated he will opt out of his contract following this season.  That means that if “renting” Artest for half a season doesn’t work out, the Cavaliers can wave goodbye after this season.  This would be a wonderful contrast to guys like Eric Snow and Damon Jones that are eating up the Cavs’ cap.

So, how do you get the Kings to agree to give up Ron Artest?   Using ESPN’s handy Trade Machine, I found a workable deal.  The Cavaliers would trade Drew Gooden and former first round pick Shannon Brown for Ron Artest.  Artest makes about$7.4 million this season.  Gooden makes just over $6.4 million and Shannon Brown makes just over $1 million on his rookie contract.  This is Shannon Brown’s last year and Gooden will have one more year after this current season.  The Kings stand to gain nothing from Ron Artest opting out of his deal at the end of the season and right now the Kings are a good 6 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.  The Kings get a solid power forward in Drew Gooden and they get a chance to try out a former first rounder that hasn’t found a niche in Cleveland’s slow-paced offense in the East.

If this isn’t enough then maybe the Cavs can throw in a second round draft pick to make the deal work.  Anyway, I like the idea of adding a player like Artest to the mix.  It would help the Cavs a lot to have another solid defender and decent scorer in the rotation and as soon as Varejao gets back, they won’t miss Gooden all that much.

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