Alright people… Sound the alarms. Man the battle stations. We have a code red situation developing.
The Indians were swept over the weekend in a 4 game series against AL West division leading Texas. Simply put, this is the toughest stretch of the season for the Indians so far. After sweeping the Reds and winning the opener against Boston, the Indians have been 3-9 over their past 12 games. Not good. Yes, when they wake up this morning they’ll still find themselves sitting in first place in the AL Central, but the lead has been cut from 8 games to 2.5. The Tigers are beginning to breathe down their necks.
The reason for the recent slump is blatantly obvious. Right now the Indians lineup just isn’t getting it done. During this stretch the Indians have been shut out 4 times and scored 2 or fewer runs 8 times. Yes the pitching has had its hiccups here and there, but those moments become magnified when you’re not scoring any runs. With each and every passing day it’s becoming more and more obvious how much the Indians miss the bat of Travis Hafner and Shin-Soo Choo. Hafner of course has been hurt with a strained oblique, but Choo has been abysmal this year. Apparently he’s been pressing since his DUI arrest because he’s trying to save face.
Memo to Shin-Soo Choo: Relax. Calm down, chill out, and just relax. You’re not doing anyone any good playing like this.
Seriously, the next off day the rest of the team needs to take him out to a strip club or something, anything to bust him out of this funk. The Indians need Choo to be Choo, not the second coming of Jason Michaels/David Dellucci.
So now the obvious is starting to happen. Rumors are starting to swirl about what the Indians should do. Do they make a trade? Do they stand pat? Do they try and bring Lonnie Chisenhall up as the answer in the middle of the lineup? SO they wait for Hafner to come back and hope that Choo finds his stroke? Do they go with what they have in the lineup and trade for a pitcher to bolster the rotation?
It’s an interesting debate. Some of the bats that have been thrown around in various circles are David Wright, Vladimir Guerrero, and Michael Young. I’m sure others will present themselves as we get close to the July 31st trade deadline. Out of those three David Wright would be the best but possibly cost the most, Vladimir would be the cheapest, but probably the most fragile, and Michael Young, while consistent, is 34 years old and Texas would probably demand a small ransom in return for his services.
Truth of the matter is I really don;t expect the Indians to make a move for either a bat or an arm. The most likely scenario is probably bringing up Chisenhall and banking on Hafner, Santana, and Choo in the middle of the lineup. This team was not projected to be this good this soon and I don’t believe the Indians will mortgage their future in order to rent a player or take on the contract of an aging veteran. It’s not their M.O. and honestly I don’t blame them. The Indians can’t compete with the Red Sox and Yankees in terms of economics so they have to play things smart. The smart play is to stand pat and hope for next year to be the year to make the move. And remember, the Indians were the best offensive team in baseball for the first two months.
That’s not saying I don’t want them to make a move. I would love to see them go out and be aggressive and try to add payroll with the addition of a solid bat and/or quality arm. Baseball is an odd sport. For as well as this team has played this year, they could be equally as bad come next season. We’ve seen it before. The Indians were great in ’05, slumped in ’06 and then nearly made the World Series in ’07. Maybe this is the year. Who’s to say? Things could blow up their faces regardless of what they decide to do.
So what do you think people? Knowing what we know regarding the current state of the Indians in regards to their farm system and current economic situation should they make a move? Should they attempt to add on salary and make a run at this? Should they stand pat and hope that their bats wake back up? It’s an interesting argument that most likely will have a very interesting outcome.