Coming off a rare win tonight, let's talk Tribe Baseball.
It's only one game, but it was nice to see the bats come alive.
We are fast approaching the make or break time of the year, and a few things appear obvious. Our starting pitching is more than carrying its own weight, and the bullpen seems to be settling in with Joe B back in the closer's role.
Let's do a position by position review.
All those capable of playing 1B on the current roster include: Ryan Garko, Michael Aubrey, Victor Martinez, Casey Blake—and in a pinch, Andy Marte. Aubrey has an advantage in that he bats lefthanded, and everyone else bats righthanded—with the exception of V.M., who is a switchhitter.
Aubrey has done a decent job injecting some offense in the lineup since he was called up. Garko is a proven commodity but is slumping. A lot of this can be due to the fact that pitchers aren't afraid of the lineup this year and he's not batting with a lot of runners on. Pitchers are working the corners more as they aren't afraid of the occasional walk or two.
First base is fine, in my opinion, and I would not try to upgrade this area over other more pressing concerns.
Cabrera and Carroll have done the job with the glove—but not the bat. When the whole lineup isn't hitting, it becomes tougher to carry a glove-only guy. Barfield is the Minor League option.
2B is an area the Tribe is considering upgrading. Brian Roberts of the Orioles is the top name out there, but would cost too much in my opinion.
Jhonny Peralta is playing more like he did in 2006 than 2007. His defense is a little off from last year, when he bumped it up over concerns for his line up spot. Cabrera has played better Dm but isn't hitting when he's filled in. Jorge Velandia is the Minor League option at Buffalo.
At some point in time one of two things will happen. Peralta will shift to 3B to make way for Cabrera, or Peralta will be traded to open the spot. I feel JP being traded will probably be the way the Tribe leans.
This is the chief infield trouble spot for the Tribe. Blake is a free agent and hasn't been hitting. Marte is dead weight. Aaron Herr is the Buffalo option. At this point in time, I have to think the Tribe regrets the Kouzmanoff trade. The Kuz's stats: .279, seven HRs and 21 RBI. Blake's: .214, three HRs and 27 RBI.
Several 3B options are out there, and Atkins of the Rockies is the most often mentioned as coming over. Bill Hall (Brewers) and Dallas McPherson (AAA ball for the Marlins) are other possibilities. Trading to get the Kuz back could also be an option.
With Victor and Kelly S, we are in a position of great strength. It's a good thing as we don't have another Major League ready C.
Grady Sizemore is a keeper, and Ben Francisco is looking solid. Hopefully Guittierez and Dellucci will come around. Choo will soon be ready to be activated, and someone will be sent down. Aubrey or Marte look to be the most likely candidates to be moved for Choo.
A big bopper here would be a plus. We have a lot of hitters with minimal power in the OF.
Hafner has been terrible the last year and we need him to rebound or else look elsewhere. His trade value is not good right now.
We are blessed with riches at the starter position and have the ability to move someone for a bat.
With Joe B back and everyone settling into their usual roles, we should see the bullpen strengthen itself.
A starting pitcher, and one of the extra OFs or a spare infielder, should be enough to bring in a bat.
We are still treading water—but a tweak here or there could get us moving in the right direction.