Season from hell.
Okay, I haven't done much writing on the Indians since I got this site started. And maybe there's some good reason for that. There's no other way to describe the way the 2006 campaign has gone for the Indians other than just plain out frustrating. Honestly, tonight's game was the first one I've watched in quite some time, and it just brought back painful memories of earlier in the season. In case you missed it, the game was on ESPN, and the announcers were all over David Ortiz all night, so when he hit a three run walkoff home run off of Fausto Carmona in the bottom of the ninth it didn't make things any better. The team didn't even play that bad, and the bullpen managed to hold the lead for the night up until Fausto came in.
I don't even know how this team has managed to pull 45 wins out of their asses, because it seems like every night when I look at the scores we're always at the losing end. We should be better, there's no doubt about it in my mind. Up until our recent mini-firesale (Hi Hector Luna and Shin-Soo Choo. See ya later, Wicky), the team was almost identical to last year's 93 win team. Now maybe Coco Crisp, Kevin Millwood, and Scott Elarton were solely responsible for our team's success last year, but I've got a hunch that outside of Pronk, Victor, and Grady, we're underachieving just a tad.
Actually though, some of these moves were pretty good considering our team's current situation. Broussard was batting in the .330's, seeing how he hits almost against righties exclusively, and Victor looks to be our first baseman of the future, so he was almost of no use to us. Belliard is one of the better offensive middle infielders in the game today, but his strikeout rate is awfully high, and, although he makes the occasional highlight-reel defensive gem, his range is awful, and when that gets mixed with Jhonny Peralta's even worse range, that leaves a lot of room for singles that should be outs. Hector Luna provides a short-term solution for that problem, even though he should never be considered a staple of the team by any means. One of the middle infielders had to do, and seeing how Peralta just signed long term, the bullseye was on Belliard.
This still leaves a lot of questions yet to be answered this offseason. The Tribe has dumped an estimated $15 million with the moves we've made, and including the money we had leftover after last offseason, we should be in good shape to sign some guys this offseason. Right now, the team has more holes than a block of swiss cheese, but there are three main holes which I'm sure I'll get more in-depth with when the offseason begins:
Corner outfielders: Not just any corner outfielder who has never played a full season but has a reputation of a good OBP (*cough* Jason Michaels), or a corner outfielder who is hovering around .300 but really isn't anywhere near as good as that looks (Casey Blake). We need a guy with power. There needs to be a legit 20-30 home run guy out there playing next to Grady, and Jason Michaels isn't the answer. Corner outfield is an offensive position, and we need more offense out of those guys.
Bullpen: Pretty self-explanitory. Right now, we don't have one active reliever with a save to his record. I didn't even think that that was possible. Our most reliable reliever at this point is Guillermo Mota.
Starting pitching: The Jason Johnson experiment failed more miserably than imaginable, so we don't need a superstar here, just a solid middle of the rotation guy. We also need to pray that the Big 3 can all have an effective season at once.
Oh, yeah. Aaron Boone, you've worn out your welcome. Feel free to leave anytime.