It's not often that the Indians make a trade that the fans can be happy about.
Think back to last year, when the Tribe dealt Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez away, or to 2008, when CC Sabathia was shipped out of town after his refusal to negotiate a contract extension at a reasonable price.
Even the Bartolo Colon deal of 2002—a phenomenal deal in retrospect—was heart-wrenching at the time, as it signaled the end of the team's streak of success.
But today—today, Clevelanders can cheer for the latest installment in a long series of midsummer dump trades.
In case you haven't heard, Jhonny Peralta was traded to the Detroit Tigers this afternoon for pitching prospect Giovanni Soto (no, not Geovany Soto).
At the risk of sounding callous, "Guitar" (as he has been inexplicably nicknamed) won't be missed. People who live outside Northeast Ohio might not realize that, unlike most of the players the Indians trade, Tribe fans really don't like Peralta.
From the get-go, he was saddled with the unenviable task of replacing Omar Vizquel, a fan favorite and the last major holdover from the “Glory Days” of the 90’s. Jaded by the flawless fielding of an 11-time Gold Glove winner, Tribe fans have been particularly perturbed by Guitar’s defensive deficiencies (seriously, how did he get that nickname?).
And while Vizquel’s bat never really boomed, he was fast and could get on base—plus, did I mention he won 11 Gold Gloves?
In addition, Peralta’s inconsistency and sloppiness have made him the perfect symbol for everything that’s gone wrong with the team since the rebuilding process began. He’s a scapegoat, but the reputation isn’t entirely undeserved.
Sure, the deal makes sense from an objective standpoint. With the Indians out of the race this year anyway, keeping Peralta for the rest of the season would be like lining up the deck chairs on the Titanic even if he was really a useful addition to the starting lineup.
Picking up his $7 million option for 2011 would have been ridiculous. There's not much of a drop-off (if there is one at all) between Peralta and his cheaper backup, Andy Marte.
Between Marte and prospects Lonnie Chisenhall (No. 31 on Baseball America 's preseason top prospects list) and Jared Goedert (17 homers with a 1.049 OPS in 45 Triple-A games this year), the Indians will have more efficient and probably better ways to fill his spot at the hot corner.
Soto's not a bad return, either. He has a 2.61 ERA with a 76:25 K:BB ratio in 16 starts for the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps.
But for now, all most fans will care about is that Peralta is gone. That means no more inserting him and his .698 OPS into the cleanup spot. It means no more watching him bobble routine plays and wishing he would, for the love of God, field the damn ball.
I guess next time something goes wrong we'll have to blame Trevor Crowe.
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