Thursday, July 26, 2007

Don’t just sit there…do something!

That’s what I’d to say to Mark Shapiro if I had his ear. Thing is, I know Shapiro isn’t just sitting around, watching the Indians as they play .500 ball. He knows this team needs bullpen help, another bat, and maybe even a starting pitcher given the struggles of Westbrook and Lee. The man is no fool…and allegedly he has the blessing of the Dolans to go out and add a significant piece to this club.

So what’s the holdup? The trading deadline is five days away and there’s barely been a peep about the Tribe charging hard at any available player. Take a step back and you’ll see this is not an uncommon circumstance. The entire league seems to be a dry well. One front-office executive told ESPN that this year’s trade deadline “may go down as the worst ever.”You know things are bad when the trade winds around the twice-damned Red Sox and Yankees are relatively still. Shouldn’t they be going after some small market team’s best player by now? Blame the slow trade market on parity. Blame it on the wild card. Blame it on the rain. But when Steve Trachsel is the best pitcher available, that’s a problem.

Not long ago the Tribe was a consistent “buyer” in the July 31 trade market. John Hart never could get that one piece (i.e. ace starter) to put the team over the top, but he sure did deplete the farm system trying. Let’s take a look back at some of those deadline trades, shall we? (Thanks to for the details. My editorial comments are in parens)

July 27, 1995-Traded David Bell, Rick Heiserman (yes, that Rick Heiserman), and Pepe McNeal (minors) to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ken Hill.( I was a fan of Hill during his short time with the Wahoos. The dude was gritty. He won four games for us during the regular season and threw seven innings of shutout ball in the ALCS against Seattle.)

July 29, 1996-Traded Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza to the New York Mets for Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino. (Oh, this one stung. Carlos partied too hard, ate too much, and did the sex with too many women not his wife -allegedly - to stay in Cleveland. Plus he was awful at the plate in ’96. Carlos, along with Sandy Alomar, was my favorite player of the Hart/Jacobs era. I fell in love with Baerga the night in 1993 when he hit homers from both sides of the plate—in the same inning!)

August 1996-Traded Jeromy Burnitz to the Milwaukee Brewers for Kevin Seitzer. (This trade actually happened during the August waiver period, but I believe it deserves mention. Not one of Johnny boy’s better deals. The Indians needed another DH type like Lindsay Lohan needs another drink [I heard this same exact joke on Leno last night…thank you Jay for letting me use it here]).

July 23, 1998-Traded Shawon Dunston, Jose Mesa, and Alvin Morman to the San Francisco Giants for Jacob Cruz and Steve Reed. (The biggest goat in Tribe history gets traded. Cleveland fans have long memories, and Joe Table still gets booed when he pitches in Cleveland. Others have forgiven Mesa for crushing our dreams. One of those charitable souls is a contributor to this very blog. SamVox not only believes it wasn’t Mesa’s fault that Cleveland lost the World Series, he’s relatively certain the Indians fell because they didn’t have Julio Franco on the playoff roster. Interesting.)

July 28, 2000-Traded Ricky Ledee to the Texas Rangers for David Segui. Traded Alex Ramirez and Enrique Wilson to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Wil Cordero. Traded a player to be named later, Paul Rigdon, Richie Sexson, and Kane Davis to the Milwaukee Brewers for Bob Wickman, Steve Woodard, and Jason Bere. (I remember this flurry of trades quite well. Hart was basically trying to save the season. It didn’t quite work, as the Indians missed the playoffs by one game. Sexson was one of the last big-time prospects in the system. Then came the exciting rebuilding years!)