I was thinking back, this fine Fourth of July morning, to the beginning of the Major League season. Things weren’t exactly bright for the Cleveland Indians, but there certainly were bright spots, and you know what they say, hope springs eternal.

The Indians top three offensive players, and likely, their top three defensive players, were Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Shin-Soo Choo. These three, along with a cavalcade of prospects acquired through the years via trade (you know, kinda like Sizemore, Cabrera, and Choo), were going to get together in preparation for a run perhaps as early as 2011. Some even thought, that if everything went perfectly, this team could surprise some this year.

Today, Shin-Soo Choo was placed on the 15-day DL with a right thumb injury. He’ll likely be out for six to eight weeks. For those counting at home, that means that Asdrubal Cabrera (out, but coming back soon), Grady Sizemore (out for the season), and Choo (possibly out until September) will miss considerable time.

Those prospects that were supposed to supplement the stars will now be responsible to carry this team over the next several weeks. The good news is that not much will be expected from this group, since the Indians are already in last place. The bad news? There won’t be much guidance on the field from the veterans, unless you are hoping that Jhonny Peralta is going to become the mentor.

Consider this. In center field, you have Trevor Crowe, a soon-to-be fourth outfielder, who until this year, has only had a cup of coffee in the bigs. In right field, you’ll likely find Michael Brantley, who was called up today to take the place of Choo. If not Brantley, you’ll find Shelley Duncan there. I’m not sure Duncan is good enough to be dealt, but he’s not exactly what many would consider veteran leadership. In right, you have Austin Kearns. Kearns has always been a positive presence in the clubhouse. The problem is that he’ll be gone soon, via trade. Peralta is at third, but you have to believe that someone looking for an infielder, like Philly, might make a call. Jayson Nix is at second base, and I’m not even sure I spelled his name right. Rookie Jason Donald is at short, Matt LaPorta is at first, and Carlos Santana is behind the plate.

That’s a whole lot of youth, surrounded by a whole lot of trade-able assets, and I use the term assets loosely. Does that make Travis Hafner the offensive and veteran leader of the Tribe? It absolutely does. Take that for what it’s worth.

While this is a crazy scenario for the Indians and Manny Acta, in this case, it happens to be the right scenario. These prospects that the Indians dealt their talent for needed to get their chance to prove they can play. The Tribe brass, now with their hand a bit forced, are going to do just that.

What kind of team will we have in 2011? I’m not sure, but we are about to get a head’s up during the second half of 2010.

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