Usually at the end of July many Indians fans are saying goodbye to their favorite players and former Cy Young winners and welcoming in a new crop of prospects that we all hope become what we were told they could become. This year has been a little different for Tribe fans.
The results on the field haven't been all too pleasing, especially after Ervin Santana's no-hitter at Progressive Field yesterday, but the Indians have had a pleasant week as far as the trade deadline goes.
Today the Indians acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs for minor league outfielder Abner Abreu and pitcher Carlton Smith. Will this trade drastically turn around the Indians floundering lineup? Probably not, but it sure won't hurt.
Austin Kearns and Travis Buck have been far from spectacular all season, and especially lately. Fukudome only brings a .273 BA and a .374 OBP, but that is better than Travis Buck's .228 BA and .275 OBP and Kearn's .216 BA and .318 OBP.
If you believe in the Moneyball theory, OBP is the most important stat anyway. Fukudome's .374 OBP isn't too shabby. If the rest of the Indians can find some middle ground between their hitting with runners in scoring position from the first two months and their hitting with runners in scoring position from the last two months, Fukudome will be able to score some runs in Cleveland.
Did the Indians or Cubs "win" the Fukudome trade?
As far as what the Indians gave up, it isn't much. Abner Abreu is batting .244 with 12 HR and 35 RBI in Kinston, which is the Indians Single-A ballclub. He also has 19 steals, which is semi-impressive, but nothing in his stat line makes me too excited.
Carlton Smith is already 25 years old and is only 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in AAA Columbus. He was probably about 10th on the list of possible pitchers to be called up to the big club, and again, he is 25 years old.
In other words, even though the Fukudome experiment is likely only a two month rental, it is not a bad deal for the Tribe. They get a bat, right-handed or left-handed, it doesn't matter, it is a bat, and they gave up very little.
What has been perhaps better for the Tribe (so far) are the moves their division rivals have made, and the non-move made by the Indians.
First, the White Sox shipped Edwin Jackson out of Chicago, which is cause for celebration in Cleveland. Jackson has been an Indian killer in his career, posting a 9-1 record against the Tribe. The Tigers, on the other hand, haven't done anything. They have been rumored to be looking at some pitchers such as Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda, but with the Yankees and Red Sox also poking around in Colorado and L.A., it is unlikely they get either of them.
The deal the Indians didn't make, for Carlos Beltran, is a blessing in disguise. Sources said that they made an offer for Beltran, but his agent, Scott Boras, said he wouldn't play in Cleveland, or the AL. Beltran is a better player than Fukudome, that is no secret. But is two months of Beltran as opposed to two months of Fukudome worth giving up a prospect like Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis, Alex White or Drew Pomeranz? Absolutely not.
Overall, it has been a nice couple days for the Tribe, off the field. A lot can happen by Sunday, but let's hope the good trades, and non-trades, keep coming the Tribe's way.