Thursday, January 26, 2006

He's our Manny

So now Manny's the holdup to the massive Coco Crisp/Andy Marte/Jason Michaels et. al trade between the Indians, Red Sox, and Phillies. No not that Manny! THAT Manny, over there on the right. Don't recognize him? Well, it's Manny Delcarmen, relief pitching prospect for the Red Sox. He turns 24 next month, and he's only pitched nine big-league innings so far. But the holdup isn't that the Indians don't want him; they do. It's that the Red Sox don't want to give him up.

And the Sox have good reason to want to hold onto Delcarmen. He, Marte, and Kelly Shoppach are three of Boston's top 10 prospects according to most speculators. Delcarmen has 290 strikeouts in 278 minor league innings pitched. He showed a wild streak in his big-league time last year with seven walks, but still struck out nine. Delcarmen's definitely got a bright future.

Boy Genius Theo Epstein was quoted in the Boston Globe as saying, "There's plenty of time before Opening Day." Jack Bauer would tell Theo, "YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!!" Coco Crisp is the centerfielder Boston covets. Spring training is right around the corner. The Indians will be happy to give him to you, as long as you let Mark Shapiro pillage the village. Mark Shapiro is your god, Theo, sacrifice to him.

The Plain Dealer says it's Manny or bust

Boston Globe begs Theo to punt

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Told ya so!

The Cavs took a chance on Larry Hughes, who hasn't played a full season this century and only managed it once in his entire career. Teen girls with mono don't miss as much school as Larry Hughes misses games. He just turned 27 a couple days ago (where was HIS birthday celebration?) and has been playing in the NBA since just after he became eligible to vote. Yet Hughes has played in 50, 82, 50, 73, 67, 61, and 61 games. The Cavs will probably get around 55 games from Hughes, which isn't even his average of 63 games played per season. But when you're signing a guy with a spotty health record, you need to be prepared for the inevitable injury.

Too bad the Cavs weren't. Damon Jones, who started a half-dozen games, has turned out to be Cleveland's biggest free-agent bust since Andre Rison. Now they're trying Sasha Pavlovic, who wet his pants at the end of the Cavs loss in Denver on their recent West Coast trip. Sasha did score 16 against Indiana last night in his second start, so maybe there's hope yet.

But Hughes' injury, and to a lesser degree Drew Gooden's absence from the lineup for a couple games, exposed the Cavs lack of depth. Beyond a solid starting five, there's nothing on this team to recommend. They've gone 4-7 without Hughes, despite the greatness of Lebron James. Fortunately the Cavs have lucked into the Indians strategy -- stay competitive because of a crummy division. Except for Detroit, everyone in the Eastern Conference is mediocre, and the Cavs might just wind up with the fourth spot anyway if they can tread water until Hughes comes back. Even though God hates them.

Coco *poof*

Coco Crisp is not your god, despite how he looks on the giant Jacobs Field scoreboard and how loud the knee-dropping and teeth-gnashing that's resulted from the announced-but-not-consummated trade of Coco to Boston.

Those numbers on the scoreboard -- the .281 batting average, the .338 OBP, the .468 slugging percentage -- represent a good player, not a great one. Not a foundation player. They're right in line with his career numbers of .287/.332/.424 in 1,626 ABs. Plenty of people are cuckoo for Coco Crisp for some reason that goes beyond his decent abilities. Maybe it's the afro. Maybe it's his good-guy image. Maybe it's his charity work. Or maybe it's his breakfast cereal name.

But you can't fall in love with a player based on who he is rather than what he does. If you do, you end up with a team of Brook Jacobys and Aaron Boones. When you can get a guy like Andy Marte, and maybe even a guy like Austin Kearns (whose career numbers of .266/.360/.461 in 1,268 ABs I'll take over Coco Crisp's in a heartbeat), you do it. Crisp is a member of the Tribe's supporting cast, much like hunky George Eads in CSI. When he held out for more money a couple seasons ago, the CSI producers were quick to say sayonara, knowing who the franchise (William Peteren, William Petersen, William Petersen) really is. Sure, George Eads is hunky and all, but there's lots of hunky guys in Hollywood waiting for a spot on a show like CSI, just as there are a lot of decent leftfielders who can slug 16 homers a year waiting for a spot in a big-league outfield. When Eads found out he was expendable, he came crawling back.

One of them's Jason Michaels, who the Indians can get from Philly if they so choose. And if Kearns becomes available again thanks to the Reds' new GM, there's another. Of course, since God hates Cleveland sports, Guillermo Mota has already failed his physical, jeopardizing the deal. Be sure the wailing will continue til this all gets sorted out.

Art Modell pwns Cleveland

So Art Modell made his pact with the devil in 1995 and sent Cleveland's soul straight to hell. The Pittsburgh Steelers making Super Bowl XL with a record-breaking run through the playoffs is more proof of that.

Since Art moved the real Browns to Baltimore and changed the name to honor the absinthe-drinking favorite son of the city, Edgar Allen Poe, Browns fans have had sand kicked in their face every January. Not only did Art actually get his Lombardi Trophy, but here's who else has won since Art took his ball and left.

  • John Elway, Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII
  • St. Louis Rams, nee Cleveland Rams, Super Bowl XXXIV
  • Art Modell and the ex-Browns, Super Bowl XXV
  • Bill Belichick, Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII, and Supre Bowl XXXIX
  • Tampa Bay Bucs, a team founded in 1976, Super Bowl XXXVII
  • And probably the Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XL

Even The Flash doesn't have as impressive a Rogue's Gallery. And every single one of the Browns' arch-enemies has gotten over since Art left town a decade ago. This is better than Joe Hardy's deal with the devil, because Art kept his soul and sent us to football hell.

But since God hates Cleveland sports, we weren't going to heaven anyway.