Since last we spoke or wrote to be more appropriate the Tribe's Roster has undergone some changes. Are we getting ready to throw in the towel or make a charge?
One constant remains: Cliff Lee keeps on winning.
Westbrook is out for the season as is Adam Miller.
Hafner will soon be ready to come off the DL and a roster move will have to be made. Most likely Marte's career in Cleveland is over.
Choo has been a bright spot as he has played a key role in the Tribe's bats slowly coming around. He is showing patience at the plate as he is not afraid to take a walk. Hopefully Barfield will take heed of this and adjust his game.
Francisco has hit a cold spell after starting out hot but Garko and Blake have seen their bats thaw out.
I stated it earlier and many said I was out of touch, but C.C. Sabathia is indeed on the trading block. Shapiro is supposedly taking a month to mull over who a likely trading partner will be. Actually, he's waiting to see who is the most desperate and wants to see if the Tribe can make a move before unloading his most valuable asset. The Yanks, Angels, Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers could and should be on the short list of teams to talk with. If C.C. is traded there is no doubt in my mind that a contract extension will be signed. The teams that would most likely pick him up have the funds to sign him long term.
The big decision facing Shapiro and Wedge is are we out of the 2008 race? If they believe we are then moves will be made involving C.C. and most likely Byrd. Byrd would bring a prospect from a team that needs a 4th or 5th starter for the stretch run.
If the Tribe comes alive and puts a healthy winning streak together then all bets are off and some top level prospects will be packaged for a bat. Pittsburgh looks like a possible trading partner as they have a very strong OF position from which to deal. Third base and a corner OF spot are where Shapiro will look to strengthen the lineup.
Barfield to me is the key to the Tribe's future. If he puts up solid offensive numbers and AC comes back from his trip to Buffalo producing with the bat JP will either be moved to 3B or shipped off.
Next season's IF could very well look like this: 1B Garko, 2B Barfield, SS Cabrera and 3B Peralta. The OF would feature Grady, Choo, Ben F and Franklin G. Kelly and Victor would nail down the Catching position and a healthy Hafner would be the DH.
The pitching staff would look like this: Carmona, Lee, Laffey, Sowers and if healthy Adam Miller.
This is with no trades or free agent signings and assuming C.C. will leave at the season's end. Keep in mind he turned down 18 mill a year from the Tribe and they won't be sweetening the pot much beyond that. Byrd will most likely leave as a free agent as well. Westbrook will be out most likely until close to the All Star Game next season.
I ask you is this a Playoff Roster? I say No.
The next 4-6 weeks will determine what direction the Tribe goes. Will it be full steam ahead towards the 2008 playoffs or a return to harbor to change the crew for 2009's journey? Time will tell.
One thing with being a Tribe fan it's hardly ever boring.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.