Welcome to Tribe Talk, where Bleacher Report's Cleveland Indians fans weigh in on the ups and downs of the club each week throughout the season.
This week, we break down the Tribe's Trade Deadline deals player by player by calling 'win' or 'lose' in each case, and then grading the Tribe's deadline activity as a whole.
I would like to thank this week's participants, Dale Thomas and Dan Tylicki, for their contributions. This discussion is open to all, so please feel free to comment below and pitch in your thoughts on the questions we're addressing this week.
It's never any fun to be a seller rather than a buyer at the trade deadline, and the Indians, as expected, did quite a bit of selling. No longer wearing a Tribe uniform are Jhonny Peralta, Austin Kearns, Jake Westbrook, and Kerry Wood.
Under each player's name in this and the following three questions, panelists were asked to share their thoughts on each individual move.
Were the Indians a winner or a loser in each case? Were you glad to see the given player go? What do you think of what we got in return?
1. Jhonny Peralta:
Samantha Bunten: This one was the real winner. It doesn't even matter what we got back. I would have taken a great big pile of nothing AND paid his salary until his contract ran out just to get him off my field.
In all seriousness though, this deal was a win for both teams. I like Giovanni Soto, and he's far more than I ever thought we would get in return for Peralta.
The only downside to this one is that it may have helped Detroit. As much as part of the fun of it was that we got to give a player we hate to a team we hate, Peralta will probably wind up being a good pick up for the Tigers.
At least half of Peralta's problem were caused by his unbelievably poor attitude and effort and his blatant laziness. A change of scenery is often rejuvenating for a player like that, though I still hope he fails miserably.
After all, I'd hate to think we did anything to help Peralta. Or Detroit.
Dan Tylicki: Just by getting rid of him I think we're winners. He needed a new start with another team; at this point, he's worn out his welcome.
Soto's a promising prospect. He's only 19 and playing well in single-A.
Dale Thomas: This was a win-win for both teams. I say that only because Detroit had an immediate need at third, and they were able to fill their need with Peralta. I guess they get the added bonus of Jhonny traditionally being a better hitter in the second half.
That said, they're going to have to accept the fact that when he comes to the plate, he'll hit into a double play more times than not.
The Indians, of course are the real winners because having Peralta is no different than having a terminal disease. We are cured!
Getting yet another minor league pitcher for him can't hurt, right? I mean, sooner or later one of these guys might turn out to fill one of our need, and we have plenty of needs.
In the end, I'm just glad he's not on our team anymore and I don't think he'll be on Detroit's team in 2011 unless they rebuild him from the toes up with some sort of cyborg type implants, transplants, and potted plants.
2. Austin Kearns:
Samantha Bunten: Consider me less than thrilled.
I really liked Kearns—good guy, good attitude, and pretty decent player. He's certainly cooled off in recent months from his blazing start to the season, but his hot streak, while shorter-lived than I would have liked, served a purpose: he was hitting when NO ONE else on the team was.
The Tribe had to move Kearns this season or risk getting nothing back for a pretty decent player, given the unlikelihood of re-signing him in the offseason.
At this point, we don't really know what we got back for him, though I'm inclined to say we sold short. And I would really rather we hadn't given him to the Yankees.
I'm glad Kearns gets to go to a playoff team, but couldn't we have given him to someone we actually WANT to help, like Texas or Cincinnati? Granted neither of those teams needed an extra outfielder, but neither did New York.
Ah well, you can't win 'em all, and while I'm not sure this was a particularly helpful move for the Tribe, it's far from the worst move Mark Shapiro has made over the years.
Dan Tylicki: I think we lost on this one. We got the same amount for him as we did for Kerry Wood, which doesn't make sense to me. And he doesn't really fit in at New York, so I'm not sure why they jumped to get him.
Dale Thomas: This guy did a good job for the Tribe, and I'm really sorry to see him go.
As is often the case, I think the Tribe were the losers in this deal. Cash is a fleeting thing, so if they get cash, they'll probably have to use it to dry clean Slider's smelly suit. I mean how many years are they gonna let that go? Creosote doesn't smell as bad as this guy, so as a public service it would be money well spent.
By the way, I never get these 'player to be named later' things...but it's gotta be Jeter, right?
3. Jake Westbrook:
Samantha Bunten: Let's call this one a win for Westbrook himself.
For the team, I'm not convinced they needed to move Westbrook this year at all. I'm not sure I would have sold at this point unless someone was overbidding.
Still, Corey Kluber is a good prospect, and the deal was essentially fair. The Cardinals are clearly getting more out of this than the Indians, but that by no means indicates that the Tribe got ripped off in this deal.
The real winner here is Westbrook. He's pitched unbelievably better than what anyone expected out of him this season, and he's a modest, hard worker who has been toiling away on a hard luck team for most of his career.
The Indians, in a way, rewarded Westbrook for his exceptional comeback this season and hard work over the years by sending him to a contender. I hate to see him leave the Indians, but I'm glad he's going to get his shot with a playoff-hopeful.
Dan Tylicki: Corey Kluber was about as much as we were going to get for him, and St. Louis is a good fit for Westbrook right now. He deserves a ring with all he's been through, and if Kluber pans out, then this is a win.
Dale Thomas: Kluber for Westbrook? Short term; Indians lose. Long term, this might be a decent trade if he keeps up his 2010 form, which is anybody's guess. It is, after all, AA pitching.
So what's he bring to the table? Youth, a low salary, and he has indeed struck out a few batters. Unlike a lot of folks, I don't think Westbrook is done at all. The guy is going to help his team for a few years to come.
Since I hedged on the win-lose thing a couple of sentences back, I''ll take a stand now. We lose.
4. Kerry Wood:
Samantha Bunten: This deal was a disaster.
Don't get me wrong, I was all for giving up Wood for next-to-nothing prospect-wise, just to get him off my mound (or mostly, my DL) and to get his salary off my payroll.
Except that—oops! The Indians DIDN'T get him off their payroll. In fact, they're still paying most of his salary. You know, because the Yankees need help paying their bills.
The entire point of moving Wood was to ditch his salary. Why move him at all if most of his salary for the rest of the year remains on our books?
As long as he isn't touching a baseball, I'd rather pay him to sit in the corner of our bullpen doing nothing than pay him to play for someone else, especially since the Tribe didn't even get anything notable back in terms of prospects.
To be fair, I'm not quite sure I understand what the Yankees were thinking either.
I get that it's essentially a free pitcher and all, but really, are you going to hand Kerry Wood the ball in a critical situation in a playoff game? I'd love to see them do that of course, but I don't believe the Yankees would really be that foolish. That's more our territory.
Dan Tylicki: Even though we didn't really get anything, the Yankees will hopefully be giving a good player or good amount of cash, so it's not a big deal either way.
Dale Thomas: Ha! Ha Ha! Hahahahahaha!!
Now here's a guy I would have just put in a cab and told the driver "just drop him off wherever...but make sure it's not within walking distance to Cleveland".
Getting rid of this guy is a huge win for ownership and management, regardless of price, because the fans will no longer be reminded each day of the terribly, horribly BAD decisions made in the front office to bring this guy to Cleveland in the first place.
Andy Marte pitched better than Kerry Wood ever did for the Tribe. Come to think of it, Marte pitched better than any of our pitchers, but let's not torture ourselves that way. Instead, let's just say that Wood sucked, has always sucked, and will always suck.
With that in mind, and to try to make sense of this trade, let's consider that Wood will be converted to shortstop, so we can do the Jeter deal I mentioned in the 'Kearns for an unknown player/Slider laundering scheme smell-factor uniform improvement program extravaganza'.
Yup. We win.
5. Finally, let's take a moment to discuss how the Tribe did at the deadline overall. What "grade" would you give the deadline deals the team made?
Do you think the Tribe helped or hurt themselves with their trade deadline activity this season?
Were there any players trade who you don't believe should have been moved? Is there anyone on the Tribe roster who you would have liked to see go but still remains an Indian?
Samantha Bunten: I guess I'll give them a B- overall, though that's a generous B- which is slightly inflated by the A+ I give the Peralta trade.
Aside from that move, which was addition by subtraction, the rest of the deals aren't anything impressive. But on the whole, they weren't too disastrous either, which when compared to last year's deadline mess, indicate that Mark Shapiro should at least be given a "has shown improvement".
I'm not about to give Shapiro a prize for his deadline activity this year, but at least this time we didn't donate a Cy Young winner to another team in exchange for an 18-year-old whose arm is ready to fall off.
I don't think the moves truly helped us, but it's unlikely they hurt us either. Sad as it may be, when the Indians have made it through a trade deadline without shooting themselves in the foot, we have to call it a win by our standards, however low they may be.
Dan Tylicki: Overall, I'd probably give them a C+.
I'm not thrilled with any of the trades (except maybe Peralta), but they were moves we had to make to get us moving. I'm glad Fausto Carmona's still around, I was worried he was going to be shipped as well.
I don't really think it helped or hurt the Tribe since we only know of the two prospects we got, and who knows how they'll pan out.
One thing that would be great to see is the Yankees fall out of first at the end because of them taking our loose ends and trying to win with them. Kearns plateaued a while ago and Wood's done.
Dale Thomas: I give the Indians an A++ for dumping Peralta and Wood. Doesn't matter that we got nothing, because let's face it, we gave up nothing.
To further justify such a lofty grade, they both went to teams I hate! How perfect is that?
I don't care what the Tigers and Yanks do with these guys, and I don't care if the guys we got (or might get, or won't get) ever do anything good. This is a clear case where less is more.
It even offsets the lousy Westbrook and Kearns deals. Moving deeper into this question, I would have liked to have seen Marte get in that same Taxi Cab with Wood, but that was before I saw him pitch! Especially those first two pitches he threw that almost hit the upper deck.
Now I want to keep Marte and convert him to mascot since there is just no way the Slider guy will live through another year in that odoriferous furry suit. Marte will be a great drop-in replacement, and hey, he can always come out and pitch the ninth since smell hasn't been deemed illegal like scuffing and spitballs and all that...