Tag: Mitch Talbot

2011 Cleveland Indians: Prospect Alex White to Debut Against Tigers

After being drafted in the first round (15th overall) by the Cleveland Indians in the 2009 June Amateur Draft, pitcher Alex White is set to make his debut on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.

This move was prompted by the injury to Carlos Carrasco, who will spend some time on the DL. Starter Mitch Talbot was also placed on the DL, prompting the organization to promote Jeanmar Gomez to the parent club last week.

While Carrasco’s injury is not being considered to severe, Talbot’s, on the other hand, has been. While no official timeline has been given, it should certainly be longer than two weeks. Depending on the performances of White and Gomez, one could be sticking with the Tribe a little longer than the other.

The former University of North Carolina Tarheel has pitched in 30 professional ball games to date, spending the 2010 season with the affiliate Kinston Indians (high-A) and the Akron Aeros (AA). He has seen action this season with the AAA Columbus Clippers.

He was the organization’s 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

White was invited to Spring Training this season. While he did not perform perhaps as well as some had hoped (0-1, 10.80 ERA in three appearances), it is clear that White has worked at least some the kinks out in the early-goings of the 2011 season. As skipper Manny Acta said in a recent interview, he has confidence in the young hurler:

“In spring training it’s hard to judge people,” said Acta. “You could see the poise and maturity level he had. His slider has improved in Triple A. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress. But he’s pitching well.”

So far, he has started four games and compiled a 1-0 record. Despite only earning one decision, he boasts an ERA of 1.90, a WHIP of 1.01 and a 10.6 K/9 rate.

White’s numbers have improved nearly across the board while spending the young season with the Clippers. His strikeout numbers are up, and his walk rate is much lower (he is issuing almost a full walk less per nine innings than he did last season).

The 22-year old right-hander will bring his overbearing fastball, as well as his improving slider and splitter, to Progressive Field on Saturday to square off against the Tigers’ Rick Porcello. Porcello has a 1-2 mark this season with a 4.76 ERA.

The series will be yet another important one, with the AL Central foes battling it out for position in the young season. A solid debut from White could put an exclamation point on the already exciting season for the Cleveland Indians.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Breaking Down the Starting Five: Did Acta Make the Right Rotation Choices?

Manny Acta named Josh Tomlin the final starter for the Cleveland Indians on Friday, March 25th as the Tribe optioned Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff, Tomlin’s competition, to Triple-A Columbus. 

Much has been made about who the starting five should be in 2011, with Cleveland being loaded with lots of young talented arms. Rumors also circulated linking Cleveland to free agent pitchers such as Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood.

Ultimately General Manager Chris Antonetti decided against it and the Tribe stuck with their in-house candidates. 

The result is Fausto Carmona taking the ball on opening day, with Carlos Carrasco, Justin Masterson, Tomlin and Mitch Talbot following him.

The one issue is that all five pitchers are right-handed, so did Acta get it right?

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2011 MLB Predictions: Cleveland Indians Starting Rotation Without a Lefty?

It’s almost that time of year again. In exactly one month, Cleveland Indians pitchers and catchers will report to Goodyear, Arizona to kick-off Spring Training and the 2011 Major League Baseball season. Yes, I know things can change from now until February 14, but lets just say, if the season started today, what starting pitchers would make up the Tribe’s five-man rotation?

Every baseball fan knows pitching wins championships, but will the Tribe be heading north to Cleveland without a single left-handed starter in their rotation? We just had two of the best left-handed starting pitchers in the game a little over two seasons ago, in former Cy Young Award winners C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee didn’t we?

Will those vacant shoes finally be filled in 2011?

Here is a look at the Indians starting rotation as it stands today.

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Cleveland Indians Year in Review: Top 9 Pitching Performances of 2010

Some writers—no doubt emboldened by four no-hitters, two perfect games and one near-perfect game—have christened 2010 as the “year of the pitcher.”  (Never mind that 1968 was really the “Year of the Pitcher,” with four no-hitters, one perfect game and a scoring environment nearly a run per game lower.)

The Indians witnessed perhaps the best-pitched game of 2010, when Armando Galarraga dispatched the Tribe with great haste.  Had Jim Joyce gotten the call right, Galarraga would have completed a perfect game in just 83 pitches. Even if every Indians hitter had looked at three straight strikes, they would have spared Galarraga only two pitches of effort.

Tribe hurlers were rarely so commanding or efficient last season, but they had their moments.  Here are the top nine pitching performances by Indians of 2010.

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Tribe Talk: Life After Arbitration Eligibility for Cabrera and Choo

Welcome to Tribe Talk, where Bleacher Report’s Cleveland Indians fans weigh in on the ups and downs of the club each week throughout the season.

This week we discuss the fate of the Tribe’s 2011 arbitration-eligible players, project next season’s payroll, wonder what’s wrong with Mitch Talbot, and share our thoughts on possibly playing spoiler for the Twins or the White Sox this month.

I would like to thank this week’s participants, Dale Thomas at Dan Tylicki, for their contributions. This discussion is open to all, so please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts on the questions we’re addressing this week.

Go Tribe!


1. This winter, Shin Soo Choo will be eligible for arbitration. There hasn’t been much talk of signing him to a multi-year contract, at least that we know of. 

Do you think the Indians will avoid arbitration and sign him to a multi-year deal this offseason? What do you think is a reasonable contract length/dollar amount? 

Is there any chance the Tribe signs Choo for a deal longer than three years that not only avoids arbitration but goes into the beginning of his free agency?

Samantha Bunten: There’s no way they’ll avoid arbitration with Scott Boras involved. I expect they’ll make an offer to buy out his arbitration years anyway, but I don’t see them trying to push anything that goes into his free-agent years. 

The Indians are no longer in the habit of buying that far into the future unless the player comes at a serious bargain price, which no one repped by Scott Boras ever will. 

If they’re smart, and if Boras agrees to play ball, they should look at a deal in the neighborhood of three years, $16-18 million. 

Dale Thomas: I’m not too worried about Boras pushing Choo into free agency, and I don’t think the Indians will attempt a long-term deal. Let’s call it the “Hafner lesson.”

I think they will try to buy out his arbitration years with a low-ball offer. Maybe $15-20 million. 

He is in his offensive prime right now and will be 31 years old at the free-agency stage. That’s typically when a player’s performance might begin to decline, so I don’t think free agency will be all that kind to Choo. I figure a three-year deal, then the Indians will cut him loose.

Dan Tylicki: They probably will not avoid arbitration, given that he’s a Boras client, but I hope they do and sign him to a multi-year agreement. 

He’s earned a pretty hefty contract with his play, I’d say in the $5 million per year range. I’d go higher but this is the Indians we’re talking about.

I don’t see anything beyond a three-year deal happening, though.


2. Another core player who will be eligible for arbitration this winter is Asdrubal Cabrera

What do you think is a reasonable offer of years/salary for Cabrera? Any chance the Indians lock him up for longer than just his arbitration years by giving him a contract that extends into free agency? 

Now for the really tough question: If the Indians are only willing and/or able, financially speaking, to give a long-term contract to either Choo or Cabrera but not both, which one do you think they should choose? Why?

Samantha Bunten: Cabrera is a far better candidate for a long-term deal than Choo given his age and representation. 

Moreover, the team’s needs should also make Cabrera the stronger candidate. The system is full of outfielders. Obviously, it would hurt to lose Choo in the future, but it would be easier to absorb than losing Cabrera. 

I would try to go six years with Cabrera, back-loaded with a club option on the last year. 

The Indians are also in a better position to negotiate with Cabrera than they are with Choo, given Cabrera’s injuries, unproven consistency on offense, and relationship/attachment to the team. 

Dale Thomas: Cabrera is a lot like Choo in that they both had breakout seasons in 2009 and both continue to improve…except Cabrera is way younger, and is a great candidate for a six-year deal.

They could probably get a discounted price early on in the deal then jack it up toward the later years. 

It could look something like this: 2011, $2 million; 2012, $3.5 million; 2013, $6 million;  2014, $8 million, 2015, $9.5 million; and 2016, $10 million (club option.) This would lock him up for his best years.

Dan Tylicki: Cabrera is probably an easier case to lock up past arbitration, since he’s emerged as a leader, and due to his injuries, the Indians may be able to get a bit of a break money-wise. Not sure how much he’d get, but he deserves a good contract as well. 

He’s more likely to get the longer deal that goes into free agency, but again I think this is unlikely. 

The second question is a tough one indeed. Do you pick the clubhouse leader-infielder, probably the only spot in the infield that’s actually nailed down, or do you pick the most productive player at a position we’re deeper in, who’s a Boras client? 

If they had the same agent, I’d go with Choo just because we need that spark in the lineup, even though based on need right now, Cabrera seems the more urgent player to get signed up.


3. On a related note to the above, the Indians payroll this season was about $61 million. Roughly $27 million of that has or will come off the books this year, putting the total going into next year at about $34 million. 

Obviously that number will go up from $34 million in 2011 (through players entering arbitration and scheduled raises for players under contract if nothing else), but how much do you think it will go up beyond that? 

What do you estimate the Indians’ payroll entering 2011 to be? Do you think the projection is a reasonable amount for them to spend given the team’s revenue and chances of contending?

Samantha Bunten: The total for payroll will likely end up about the same, let’s say about $58 million. Not much will change. The Indians will spend about the same amount, they’ll rank about the same amongst other MLB teams in terms of payroll, and they won’t contend.

They’ll bring in a stopgap third baseman on a one-year deal, give the same sort of deal to a veteran low-risk, high-reward pitcher, say the word “rebuilding” a lot, and then finish last in the Central. 

Business as usual. At least we know what to expect.

Dale Thomas: Payroll will end up about where it is now, then they will complain about it. I honestly don’t feel that they are ‘building’ a team. 

It’s more like they are becoming adept at tearing the team down. Deconstruction specialists, so to say. 

Yeah, they’re obligated to raise certain salaries, then obliged to dump those same salaries and thumb their noses to the general public while explaining how “we don’t understand”. 

Sadly, contending has come to mean ‘not coming in last.’ How many Walmart TVs do you have to get before you realize that your audience doesn’t want to watch a blank screen? 

Our ballpark is empty for a reason and it doesn’t take a brilliant analyst to figure out why. Everyone knows you have to invest first to get the dividend later. Ownership has sunk to buying lottery tickets with the hope of getting lucky.

Dan Tylicki:  I think we’ll finish somewhere in the neighborhood of $56-58 million. It will remain near the bottom, and it will look like they won’t contend. 

Factoring in Choo and Cabrera, there wouldn’t be too much more for others, and as usual, Cleveland will take the low-risk, high-reward route, finding a one-year third baseman and perhaps another player or two.


4. Mitch Talbot was a hugely pleasant surprise the first half of the season, pitching far better than anyone expected and making the Kelly Shoppach trade with the Rays look like a complete steal. 

These days, he’s the poster child for how quickly things can start to go down the drain. 

Initially Talbot’s struggles landed him on the DL, but it’s only gotten worse from there. Upon returning to the team, he gave up 12 runs in his first three starts, and was touched for five runs in the first inning last week by the anemic Oakland offense. 

So what exactly is wrong with Talbot? Why do you think he was able to pitch so well in the first half of the season but then took such a dramatic turn for the worse? 

Do you think Talbot can adjust and return to his early season form? Do you think this is just a bad spell for Talbot that he’ll eventually emerge from, or do you think his success at the beginning of the year was just a fluke?

Samantha Bunten: There doesn’t appear to be any sort of mechanical issue or flaw in his delivery, though I think there’s a strong possibility he could be tipping, even if it’s only in such a way that it nets opposing batters more walks/an easier go at pitch selection rather than allowing them to tee off on him. 

He’s also relatively young and doesn’t have a ton of major league experience, so he may have had a few bad outings that were just part of the way things go for everyone but was then unable to get past them mentally. 

Ultimately, I think Talbot will be fine. It may just be an issue of getting his confidence back. If not, we can always just ship him off to Arizona. Hey, it worked for Fausto. Sort of. 

Dale Thomas: I think the long ugly season wore him down and he just doesn’t give a sh** anymore. Oh wait! Maybe that’s me…

Dan Tylicki: I wish I could say it’s because of the teams he’s faced, but he’s played against the Athletics and Mariners and got torched by both, so that’s clearly wrong.

Looking through his stats doesn’t show anything other then him just pitching worse, so I’m quite certain it’s mental. These kinds of slumps are what separates the good and the bad pitchers. If he can shake this off and return to form, he’ll be worth keeping. If he’s even worse in September, then it will be a problem. 

I don’t think his early success was a fluke, he’s just someone who still needs to develop at the major league level. I think he has the tools to snap out of it, but I don’t know if he will.


5. Fun Question of the Week: Beginning this week, the Tribe still has six games each left with division contenders Chicago and Minnesota before the end of the season. This leaves them with a chance to play spoiler for someone’s playoff chances. 

Given the choice, whose season would you rather the Tribe ruin, the Twins or the White Sox? Realistically, which of those teams do you think the Tribe has a greater chance of victimizing in an effort to play spoiler?

Samantha Bunten: Since Torii Hunter is no longer with the Twins and around to run his mouth off about how much he hates the Indians, the choice is pretty easy: Chicago, all the way. 

We can make the choke sign at Ozzie Guillen like he did to us a few years ago. We can ruin AJ Pierzynski’s winter. We can keep Mark Buehrle from getting additional chances to hit yet another batter in the head and then refuse to apologize for it. That’s right, Chicago—what goes around comes around. 

Dale Thomas: White Sox get my vote, but I hope we don’t have to vote on whose season we wreck next year.

Dan Tylicki: Hmm, who would I rather see beaten by the Tribe, Manny or Thome? Probably Manny, since Thome was with the team longer, so I’d rather spoil Chicago. 

We’re 8-5 against Chicago and 5-7 against Minnesota, so I’d say we have a better shot against Chicago.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking the Top Ten MLB Rookie Pitchers Not Named Stephen Strasburg

The 2010 MLB season has been quite a season for rookies may it be Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward or Austin Jackson.

This season has brought us the debuts of some of baseball’s most touted prospects and has shown us waht the future of baseball may be.

The most touted prospect of all, Strasburg, debuted about a month ago against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Strasburg phenomenon has struck the country.

There were even talks that the rookie Strasburg could possibly be named an All-Star which would have been completely idiotic due to the fact that he has only pitched in six games though I do feel he is a potential All-Star in the near future.

The phenomenon has struck so much that other rookie pitchers are hardly being spoken about so here are the top ten rookie pitchers not named Stephen Strasburg.

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Tribe Talk: Let the Annual Cleveland Indians Fire Sale Begin!

Welcome to Tribe Talk, where Bleacher Report’s Cleveland Indian fans weigh in on the ups and downs of the club each week throughout the season.

This week, we discuss the beginning of the annual Tribe fire sale, wonder what to do with players behaving badly, and come clean about which bandwagon we may be jumping on in the second half of the season.

I would like to thank this week’s participants Dale Thomas, Scott Miles, and new Tribe Talk panelist Dan Tylicki for their contributions. A big special thanks is also in order for guest panelist M.T. Robinson, a Padres writer here to give us a little outside perspective. You can find his work at sd72degrees.com.

This discussion is open to all, so please feel free to comment below and pitch in your thoughts on the questions we’re addressing this week.

Go Tribe!

1. Let the fire sale begin!

Last weekend Russell Branyan was traded back to his old team, the Mariners, for a couple of prospects, the first to go in what will likely be a number of players moved by the Indians before the trade deadline this season. 

Do you think the Indians will completely clean house before the deadline and trade away everyone they can who isn’t part of their long term plans? 

Who do you think will be the next to go, and who are all of the players you see as likely to be moved by July 31st?

Are there any players frequently discussed as trade candidates who you DON’T think will be going anywhere this season?

Samantha Bunten: Death, taxes, and the Indians’ annual fire sale. The yearly salary dump has become as predictable as Manny Ramirez developing a mysterious hamstring injury whenever he so much as hears the word “Boston.” 

I’ll be sorry to see Kearns go, even now that his average has plummeted back to earth. He will absolutely be gone by the deadline.

Obviously, we all hope Kerry Wood gets moved, but I can’t see anyone taking him off our hands unless we eat 70-80 percent of his salary, which would sort of defeat the purpose. 

Much as it saddens me, I don’t see Peralta going anywhere. No one wants a third baseman who can’t hit, can’t catch, can’t throw, and gives about 40 percent effort on the base paths. Unless the Mets or the Mariners are out scavenging for junk like they often do, Peralta is going to be the last item left on the lawn at the yard sale, wearing a cardboard sign that says “free to good home.” 

Dale Thomas: I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck this “long term plan” is. The Indians have already cleaned house. They did that last year. Now they are cleaning out the garage, trading the guy they just got. I guess Branyan’s rust was staining the garage floor or something. Next I suppose we’ll clean the bathrooms, closets, and attic. 

So what does “long term plan” mean? The only viable plan that will work for the Tribe is to trade away ownership. 

As far as the last part of this question, it seems as if every last member of this team is trade bait except, of course, Trevor Crowe. We need him here to blame things on.

Scott Miles: You know, maybe Mark Shapiro is some kind of evil genius, signing Branyan and Austin Kearns with the intent of flipping them for multiple prospects to bolster the farm system. (OK, maybe not, but at least I’ll tell that to myself now.) 

I’d say the Indians are in full spring cleaning mode, it’s just a matter of what options are available. Kearns’ snap back to reality has probably killed his market and at this point, I don’t even know if the Tribe could get back what they did for Branyan

I don’t think Peralta will get traded…who wants a third baseman with little power and no glove? Wood, with his salary, would need to save about 20 more games in a row before anyone would take him on, though he is off to a nice start this week with that. Westbrook, behind Kearns, is probably the next likely to go, especially with the talk of bringing Carlos Carrasco up.

Dan Tylicki: I can see quite a few players leaving as they try and open more room to our farm system, mainly on the position player side, where things seem pretty good. 

I think Kearns is almost guaranteed to be traded for a couple pitching prospects. Shelley Duncan could be a potential trading piece, but I can’t think that we would really get anything for him. 

On the pitching end, if anyone wants Kerry Wood near the deadline, he’ll be gone. I don’t see too many of the pitchers leaving; I think Fausto Carmona will stay on the Tribe, as will Mitch Talbot. Jake Westbrook I have no clue on, for some reason. I can’t see him leaving or staying, though I think the Tribe can get a few good pieces for him. He would be a reliable fourth or fifth starter in pennant-race rotations.

M.T. Robinson: Looking at the Indians from afar, clearly the most attractive player currently on the Indians roster is outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. At 28, Choo is still in his prime, but his 30th B-day is just around the corner. Choo could fetch a nice load of prospects, and his trade value may never be higher. If Choo is not part of the overall plan to rebuild with youth, he could see his ticket punched to the Yankees or even Boston, both of whom have done business with Cleveland before. 

Next on my short list is pitcher Fausto Carmona, who’s 3.68 ERA is stellar in the American League. Carmona would excel in facing the weak bats and wide strike zones of the National League, and he is exactly the kind of player a team like the Dodgers or Phillies like to add for the stretch run. 

After that, the Indians hand gets weaker, although pitchers Jake Westbrook and Mitch Talbot might bring a few prospects. Below those four guys, the Indians’ major league roster is not very enticing to look at. Perhaps Grady Sizemore would have some value even while rehabbing on the DL.

2. Let’s take a minute to discuss the specifics of the Branyan trade. Many people were baffled by the details of the move:

Seattle, 14 games back in the AL West, seemed to have little reason to want to reacquire Branyan. Why would the Mariners give up prospects for a player with mediocre-at-best skills, especially considering they aren’t looking like contenders in their division and they just let this same guy go a couple of months ago?

The move makes more sense for the Indians,who were clearly just trying to open up playing time for Matt LaPorta at first base. Still, they didn’t get much in return for him in terms of quality prospects, and seem to have sold oddly early on Branyan when they might have gotten more for him closer to the deadline from a team in contention desperate for a power bat.

What do you think of the move? Did the Indians get anything of real value in return for Branyan, or was the only purpose to get more at-bats to LaPorta at first? Should they have held out a little longer before trading him in order to get a better yield in return? And the most baffling part: What on earth was Seattle thinking?

Samantha Bunten: Seattle runs the best preseason con game in baseball. Every offseason the Mariners make all kinds of big moves, spend all kinds of money, fool us all into picking them to win their division, and then promptly run out of gas sometime around the first of May. 

Seattle has a history of making terrible, terrible moves all season long as well (recall how we got Asdrubal Cabrera and Choo), so I’m not surprised by the Branyan trade, even though I’m baffled by it. Really, why on earth would you give up prospects for a guy who generally gets about one hit per 50 strikeouts who you just let go a couple of months ago? 

The Mariners seem to be perpetually swapping deck chairs on the Titanic. They also seem to put a lot of faith in overrated, expensive players with nothing left in the tank. Exhibit A: Eric Bedard. Last I heard, he was pitching in A-ball. 

As for the Indians, I would have preferred they hang on to Branyan to see if they could get more for him once some contender got desperate for a power bat down the stretch. From what I know of the two prospects we got from Seattle for him, I’m really not impressed. 

Dale Thomas: This move makes little to no sense for the Indians. They still have the bulk of his salary, got nothing in return, and lost a guy with some savvy and experience to share with our younger players…plus he’s a nice guy. 

For Seattle? Hey maybe it’s because they get a decent bat for about 500 grand. Other than that, I can’t imagine why they would do this. They are totally out of any kind of contention for anything, and Branyan has showcased himself as a defensive nightmare, with average hitting. Go figure. The whole deal is eerily weird.

Scott Miles: I think the Indians got pretty good value for him considering he’s a one-trick pony. They were able to sell him about as high as they could because none of the contenders would have wanted him for that price. I think it’s a win-win-win. 

One, you get him off the team (Tribe is 9-5 this year I believe now without him, through Wednesday). Two, you get LaPorta those at-bats. And three, you get two players who have a better chance of playing with the Indians in a few years than Branyan did. 

As for what Seattle was thinking, I don’t even want to speculate because I might say something I can’t take back later.

Dan Tylicki: I was surprised when I heard it, like most others. The Mariners have no real need for him, and we don’t have much need for the prospects we were given. 

Getting LaPorta playing time at first is a must. We have to know if he can play in the majors day in and day out, so might as well do it now. 

In terms of holding out, we could have, but we probably would have gotten the same amount. Players like Branyan are pretty easy to find when one looks, and Adam Dunn would be the first one everyone would be after. 

As for what Seattle was thinking…they’re not. Only thing I can think of is the Mariners are that desperate for any power on their roster. They have a good pitching staff, so maybe if their hitting clicks something will happen. Or maybe as I said, they are just not thinking. 

M.T. Robinson: Let’s face it, the Mariners are not world renowned for their brilliant sports acumen. 

Branyan still can blast the long ball, but I don’t see how he will be around in three seasons, while who knows how OF Eziquiel Carrera and SS Juan Diaz will be doing in their development? Carrera has shown a solid glove combined with a quick bat and feet during his first five seasons in the minors, and at 23 may not be far away from The Show. 

Carrera is now stashed at Triple-A Columbus, but look for a September call up. SS Juan Diaz is hitting .295 this season for Double-A High Desert, hitting seven home runs with 41 RBI, which are nice numbers. 

Diaz could be in the Indians’ starting lineup by 2012, if not sooner if he continues to hit. I give the Indians the edge on this trade in the long term, and I am looking at the Mariners scratching my head.

3. We spend a lot of time heaping criticism on the Indians woeful pitching staff. While they may well deserve it, it also would be nice to be able to occasionally say something positive about one of our hurlers.

One of the few candidates on our staff for such a distinction this season? Mitch Talbot.

While Talbot’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the page in any statistical category, he has posted a solid 8-6 record so far this season with a 3.88 ERA overall and an impressive 2.39 ERA on the road.

What were you expecting out of Talbot going into the season? Have you been pleasantly surprised by his performance? Do you now consider the trade of Kelly Shoppach that brought him here to have been a good deal for the Indians?

Where would you rank Talbot among the current Tribe starters? How do you see him fitting into the Tribe’s long term plans?

Samantha Bunten: Initially, I didn’t expect much out of Talbot. I had originally thought Tampa Bay was just pawning its junk off on us, but now it looks more like Talbot may have just been a roster casualty there.

I liked Kelly Shoppach, but the Indians really didn’t have a place for him. Suffering through Lou Marson for a couple of months B.C. (Before Carlos) was worth it in retrospect, since trading Shop netted us a guy who has turned out to be a pretty darn good pitcher. 

I think Talbot is a great fit for the long term plan. I see him moving comfortably into the No. 2 slot behind Carmona next year after Westbrook is gone, and eventually, if guys like Masterson and Carrasco pan out as advertised, landing in the fourth spot in the rotation. 

Dale Thomas: I didn’t expect much from Talbot coming to the Tribe with his 11-plus ERA after a whopping three games pitched with his former team. It looked like one of those nothing-for-nothing trades. 

It was an easy trade to stomach because we weren’t really giving up anything we needed, and we got someone at least claiming to be a pitcher…and looking at our staff at the time, each and every one of them was only someone claiming to be a pitcher. Carmona coming off a dismal season, Westbrook coming off a dismal surgery, the largely unknown Huff, and that guy Masterson. Talbot seemed like one of the gang already! 

Fact is, Carmona has pitched better than I thought he would. So has Jake. Huff was far worse than expected and Masterson did exactly what I expected him to do. So yes, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Talbot thus far, and I actually think he’s got potential to improve from where he stands today. 

Right now I’d have him ranked number three. Yes indeed, I think he should be in the Tribe’s long term plan…whatever that is. This has been one of very few good moves in the last few years where we actually traded up.

Scott Miles: I liked Talbot through spring training, knowing he was a victim of a numbers game within the Rays organization (wow, 10 years ago, I never thought I’d write that sentence). 

He just seems to be the type of pitcher who “gets it.” He is not overwhelming with his stuff, but he knows how to pitch and what to throw in the right situations. 

It will be interesting to see how he adjusts his second and third time through the league, but even though he is a rookie, he’s also 26 years old, so he has some experience and innings behind him.

Dan Tylicki: Right now, I would put Talbot second behind Carmona. He’s been surprisingly solid, and while he isn’t amazing, he’s played well enough that he’s at least someone we don’t have to worry about. 

I was not expecting much when he started, but I have been impressed, and I now consider the Shoppach trade a good one, especially because, where would we put Shoppach now? 

Talbot is only 26, so I would be for trying to sign him long-term as he reaches his peak. He won’t be an ace, but we can use a reliable number three pitcher, which is what he would likely be.

M.T. Robinson: As I said before, from afar, the Indians starting pitchers’ numbers do not look that bad. Three starters with ERAs under 4.00 in the AL is nothing to sneeze at. 

Talbot has scratched out his eight wins and a 3.88 ERA pitching uphill this season for a sub .500 Indians team that is one step away from cashing their chips in for 2010. On the value side, Talbot turns 27 after this season, which is considered the maturation age for Major League players. Talbot also may never be worth more than he is now. 

It’s a close call here; he could be dealt, he could be in the rotation for the next six years if he can stay healthy.

4. Last week, three Indians’ minor leaguers were arrested for allegedly assaulting a bar bouncer in Akron.

Pro athletes engaging in criminal activity is certainly nothing new, but until now players in the Indians organization have largely avoided running afoul of the law.

What’s your take on this incident? Do you think the Indians or MLB should punish the players?

What’s your opinion on athletes’ legal offenses in general? Do you think athletes who get in trouble with the law should be punished by their team or league, or do you think off-field issues should stay off the field? Does it depend on the severity of the offense?

Samantha Bunten: I can totally understand the reasoning behind getting in a “fair fight.” Someone steals your woman or your dog or your roster spot, I can see why you might clock the guy. But that is absolutely not what happened here. There is NO possible justification for three guys jumping one guy on the street and beating him until he needs to be hospitalized just because apparently, they didn’t really like the guy.

There’s also something about getting in bar fights while you’re stuck in the minors that’s akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Maybe if these guys spent more time swinging bats and less time swinging their fists, they wouldn’t be stuck in Double-A. 

The Indians and MLB need to throw the book at these guys. Do you want your kid running around in a Beau Mills jersey after this? I didn’t think so. 

Dale Thomas: My take on the incident is that it’s been brewing for a long time. It starts with a bunch of good ol’ rednecks in a bar that were probably totally out of line. So the bouncer does his job, which is to bounce rowdy hounds before things get out of hand. 

That said, I’m guessing the bouncer made a big mistake by engaging in arguments with these guys in the bar, and doing it more than once. That brings a lot of emotion and resentment to the table over and above the bounce itself. So the guys learn to hate the bouncer and want vengeance. Boys will be boys or something like that. 

So they randomly cross paths outside the bar and the players start a fight. What’s up with that? 

The problem is that these players represent the town they play for. They have to step away from the idiocy of drunken contests like this and hold to their commitment to their team, their city, and their sport.

I think the team/league should impose penalties, as these guys represent them. Besides…three on one? C’mon guys, how impressive is that? It’s like smashing your hamster with an SUV, then claiming self defense.

Dan Tylicki: I think there’s no question that the Indians have to dole out some sort of punishment if MLB doesn’t. These minor league players should be honing their skills rather than getting in bar fights. If they’re spending their time like that then no wonder they’re still down there. 

Maybe I’m sounding harsh, but if they’re running afoul of the law, they need sanctions from their team or the league. They are role models for kids across America whether they like it or not. 

As a side note, I’m about ready to consider Beau Mills a bust. He should be in Triple-A, ready to hit the majors this year. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh since he’s still just 23.

M.T. Robinson: Here is the quick version of the incident, which I had not read about until now. Akron Aeros players Jerad Head and Beau Mills, who was Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2007, along with Josh Tomlin of the Columbus Clippers took on Theodore Zeman, the bouncer at Whiskey Dicks in Akron, Ohio. 

My first impression, trouble at Whiskey Dicks? Say it ain’t so…”Well, we were on our way to the YMCA, and one thing led to another…” 

Allegedly, the three players were verbally ripping Zeman, telling him he was soft and ‘roided up, then they started in on Zeman’s woman, always a mistake. The three beat Zeman into submission,when he tried to take matters into his own hands, resulting in broken ribs and a punctured lung for him. 

It’s Matt Bush all over again. Bush was the Padres number one a few years ago. Bush got in a fight with a bar bouncer the day he was drafted, and flamed out of baseball like a meteor. 

I think all three of these guys will be suspended for a year, and should face criminal charges, like any of the rest of us would.

5. Fun Question of the Week: With the first half of the season coming to a close and the Indians well out of contention, it’s time to start thinking about your backup plan for who you’ll be rooting for down the stretch to make the playoffs.

Who are the AL and NL teams you’ll be rooting for this year as your backup plan? In other words, which bandwagons will you be jumping on for the 2010 season? Why?

Samantha Bunten: I’m backing Texas in the AL, but I’d even root for the Twins or Tigers if they were in a position to get rid of New York or Boston. Mostly though, I’m an Indians-Or-Bust type of gal, so I prefer to focus my attention on an NL team in the big dance. 

Regarding the NL, I’m going Reds all the way. You have to love how they’ve built their team from the ground up, reminiscent of what the Indians did in the early 1990s. You also have to like the Padres for their incredible turnaround between last year and this year. 

I’m also a big fan of the Brewers. I like Atlanta because they’re the classiest, most well-run organization in baseball,l and I like the Dodgers because they’re the new home of many of my favorite former Indians. But really, I’ll support any NL team but the Mets. 

Dale Thomas: For the NL, I’m going to root for the Reds. It’s a lot like rooting for the Indians. Does this mean I’ll need a backup to my backup plan? Of course it does! When the Reds go down I’ll root for the Dodgers. When they go down I’ll root for St. Louis. 

On the AL side, I predicted the Twins would win the division, and they raced out of the blocks like they could easily go all the way. Now all of a sudden they’re battling Detroit for first, and if things keep going as they have, they’ll be battling the White Sox too. 

Next, the division will go down in a small insignificant puff of smoke and I’ll be rooting for…the Yankees? Haha…ain’t gonna happen. Go Tribe!

Scott Miles: In the AL, it would have to be the Rays and/or the Twins. The Rays for obvious reasons (unseating the Yankees and Red Sox), and while I don’t like the Twins, damn it I respect them and their organization. 

In the NL, it’s tough to say, but probably the Cardinals, because like the Twins they just seem like a classy organization that does things the right way. I would include the Padres in there but I can’t name more than three players on their team so I will refrain.

Dan Tylicki: On the AL side, I haven’t thought much about it. I’m a Yankee hater, so as long as someone beats them in the playoffs I’m good. I’m an AL Central guy at heart, so I’ll support Minnesota and Detroit in their endeavors. 

NL-wise, I’m leaning towards either the Reds or the Padres to root for, since they seem unappreciated. In general I root for the small-market teams, just because the large markets sicken me, buying a championship rather than winning it through hard work and smart planning.

M.T. Robinson: I’m rooting for the Padres of course, and we have a shot this season. San Diego needs to add two bats to make a serious run, but may take it right to the wire anyway with baseball’s best pitching staff. More than likely though, Philadelphia will get hot again and take the NL pennant. 

In the AL, I like Toronto’s bats, but as always, no one really has a chance but Boston and New York. Tampa Bay is also still in the hunt, but I feel that the Rangers will get wiped off the field in the playoffs. Go Tribe!!!






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