First off, congratulations to the following individuals.
Danys Baez, Mark Derosa, Ben Francisco, Austin Kearns, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Charlie Manuel, Guillermo Mota, Carl Pavano, Tony Pena, Brandon Phillips, Arthur Rhodes, C.C. Sabathia, Derek Shelton, Kelly Shoppach, Jim Thome, and Kerry Wood.
All of these individuals, coaches and players alike, have all somehow, some way (traded, fired, free agency, waived, refused to sign and went back to college), escaped the death grip that is the Indians and gone on to teams that made the playoffs and even seen success in their post Cleveland years. It’s a wonder why we aren’t better. I still can’t figure it out. (In Lincecum’s defense we drafted him in the 42nd round, 1261st overall, in 2005. He went back to Washington for his junior year and was selected 10th overall in 2006 by the Giants. I think he made the right move. It still sucks though.)
Now that we’ve gotten all of that out it’s time to hand out some post season awards for your beloved Cleveland Indians. Since it’s safe to say that no Indian will really factor into any post season awards race, I came up with my own awards. Some of them positive and some of them… well a greater majority of them negative. They played like crap. There’s not much to really award.
Hold on tight, it’s about to get terrifying. After all, we’re going to be taking a look back on the past season. Maybe this should have been a Halloween article. Anyways…
The Joe Charbeneau Award for a promising career derailed by injury: Grady Sizemore
It’s time to face a potential reality. Ladies, I’m talking to you. Grady Sizemore may have peaked. He hasn’t been right for two years and the injuries, due in part to his style of play, are beginning to take their toll. He’s striking out more and more and has shown more regression than progression. Throw in the fact that his game is based primarily around speed and hustle and the mounting injuries to his lower extremities become that much more unsettling. I hope I’m wrong about this but we may have another “Super Joe” on our hands here.
The Braylon Edwards Award for outstanding defensive performance: All third basemen
That folks is what we like to call irony. This isn’t an award for outstanding defense. It’s more for the inability to catch anything hit in the relative proximity of any of the Indians’ third basemen after we traded away Jhonny Peralta. Much like Braylon did for the Browns, the Platoon of Andy Marte, Jayson Nix, Jayson Donald, and Luis Valbuena booted anything and everything hit in their general directions. I never thought I would say this but… I miss Jhonny Peralta. Maybe they’re right. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
The Jeff Kent “Hindsight is 20/20” Award: The trading of Sabathia, Lee, and Martinez
In 1997 we traded a no name second baseman named Jeff Kent to the Giants for Matt Williams. Williams was supposed to be the piece to get us over the hump. Instead, he put up solid numbers, but inexplicably seemed to strike out in every key late game situation. He left Cleveland the following year to take his talents to Arizona where he would go on to partially regain the form that made him an all-star in San Fran. All Jeff Kent did was have 8 consecutive 100 RBI seasons, make 5 all-star teams, win 4 silver slugger awards and the 2000 NL MVP award. Sure he was a giant a-hole and probably shared steroid needles with Barry Bonds, but talk about you’re all-time dumb trades.
It looks like the trades of Sabathia, Lee, and Martinez are shaping up the same way. Lee and Sabathia are two of the best pitchers in baseball and Martinez looks like the best offensive catcher in baseball not named Joe Mauer. So far we’ve gotten relatively nothing out of any of the pieces we acquired in these trades and it’s looking more and more like theses will go down as three of the worst trades in Indians history barring a major improvement next year. This is also compounded by the fact that while Sabathia was in a contract year, Lee and Martinez each had an additional year left on their deals. There was no reason to trade them right away. They should have waited and seen what else they could have gotten. Then again hindsight is 20/20.
The Jack Parkman Award for best free agent signing: Russell Branyan
In the movie Major League II, Roger Dorn signs all-star catcher and bad boy Jack Parkman to a ridiculously large free agent contract. He hit home runs, he did that little shake that drove the ladies crazy and he wore sunglasses the majority of the time. At one point he hits a homerun and Dorn celebrates in the owner’s box by screaming “I BOUGHT HIM!” In a weird way I can almost see Larry Dolan doing the same thing. Russell Branyan comes to bat, sunglasses and all, and slugs a home run. Dolan screams “I BOUGHT HIM!” Then, just like in the movie, Branyan was traded away in order to save money. The key difference of course is that Jack Parkman was an absolute beast who was not to be messed with. You didn’t dare stand on the tracks while the train was coming. All Russell Branyan did was hit a few long homeruns, complain about a bad back, and strike out… a lot.
The Rachel Phelps Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti
What do 271 losses over the past three years get you? If you’re Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti the answer to that question is a promotion. Wrap your mind around that… 271 losses. Wow. Since taking over as general manager in 2001 Mark Shapiro has accounted for 795 wins and 825 losses (.490 winning percentage), two division championships (the first being in 2001 with the team John Hart had built so it shouldn’t even count), 0 World Series appearances, six seasons below .500, two cy young winners traded away, one traded all-star catcher, and a stock pile of so-so minor league prospects and head scratching free agent signings (or lack thereof). That garnered a promotion to team president? Really?
Over the course of ten seasons is that not enough evidence that perhaps this regime just isn’t getting the job done? Not if you’re Larry Dolan, who I’m convinced is planning on losing as many games as possible in an effort to move the team to Miami. Now Shapiro is team president and his protégé Chris Antonetti is taking over as GM. It might as well be Shapiro 2.0 based on listening to him speak. With that said hold on folks, it’s going to be a bumpy next decade. But hey, at least we can go tobogganing.
The Rocky Colavito Award for proof “The Curse” is alive and well: Carlos Santana’s knee
Do I really need to explain this one? Let’s move on to more serious matters.
The Tom Hamilton Award for moment of the year: The Not So Perfect Game June 2, 2010
Out of all the contenders this was the moment that stands out the most. The Indians couldn’t do anything right this past season, even being on the other end of a perfect game. As you may recall, Detroit’s Armando Galarraga was 1 out away from a perfect game. Jason Donald ground a ball to first and was called safe by umpire Jim Joyce. According to Joyce Donald beat the throw. Upon further review it was clear to see Donald didn’t beat the throw. What should have gone down as a perfect game and a great moment in baseball history turned into a national fire storm calling for the overturning of the ruling by Bud Selig. I applaud him for not opening Pandora’s Box and having the call stand. However, from this game it is apparent that baseball needs to figure out a way to utilize replay for the betterment of the game and the moments that should have been.
Kudos also to Donald for refusing to give up on the play. He easily could have jogged to first and made it an easier play. Instead he busted his ass and as a result caused all of the nationwide drama. This is constantly overlooked.
Honorable mention also to Andy Marte and his 1, 2, 3 ninth inning of pitching on July 29th vs. the Yankees and Shin-Soo Choo’s 3 homerun game vs. the Royals on September 17th in Kansas City.
2010 Indians Cy Young Winner: Fausto Carmona
While Carmona began to slip towards the end of the year, it is impossible to overlook what he was able to do through the early and middle parts of the season. The biggest question was whether or not he could regain his 2007 form and become the ace of the staff. For the most part he accomplished that this season. He was dominant in most outings, cut down on the walks, and showed he could lead this team every 5th day. His performance should give the Indians and the fans reason to be somewhat optimistic heading into 2011. Hopefully Carmona can build on what he accomplished and keep moving forward as the ace of the staff and avoid another two year pitching slump.
2010 Indians Cy Yuck: David Huff
Unfortunately for Huff 2010 did not go as planned. He made the team out of spring training with expectations of holding down the back end of the rotation. Things didn’t go as planned. Huff struggled with his command and was unable to get hitters out. The low point of his season occurred when he was struck with a line drive to the head off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. Thankfully he was okay and even made his next start, but it didn’t get any better. He was eventually demoted back to the minors and may have lost his spot in the rotation thanks to solid performances by Jeanmar Gomez.
2010 Indians MVP: Shin-Soo Choo
This wasn’t even close. Choo stood out above everyone else on the Indians roster from opening day on. By leading the team in every major statistical category (.300 avg, .401 OBP, .491 SLG, 22 HR, 90 RBI, 81 R, 22 SB) Choo established himself as the leader of the Indians and has positioned himself as one of baseball’s up and coming young stars. Choo also led all right fielders with 14 outfield assists and barring a wrist injury a few days before the all-star teams were announced would have been the Tribe’s lone representative.
Unfortunately for the Indians, Choo hired Scott Boras as his agent. That, combined with his continually impressive numbers, means we should learn to appreciate Choo while we still have him. To make matters worse there is also the issue with his 2 years of required military service for his homeland. Hopefully the matter resolves itself, but then again this is Cleveland. Can anything ever go as planned?
2010 Indians LVP: Andy Marte
I was tempted to select Lou Marson for this award, but then again has any player had more expected of him and performed worse than Andy Marte? Combine that with the unending number of chances he’s been given in his time with the Indians and he becomes even more disappointing. Thankfully it appears the experiment is finally over as he was sent to Columbus outright this past week making him a free agent. Knowing Cleveland’s luck however, he’ll sign somewhere else and become an all-star…and I’m the queen of England. Ultimately Andy Marte will be remembered as one of the biggest and most over hyped busts in Cleveland Indians history. Regarded as a slick gloved, power hitting third baseman, his defining moment with the Indians will forever be a 1, 2, 3 inning of relief pitching.
And there you have it folks. Your 2010 Cleveland Indians…
When does spring training start???