Well, the writing's on the wall and it ain't pretty. While the Cleveland Indians have managed (through great pitching and timely hits) to stay in first place, people still don't seem to believe. And by "People" I mean Team Management. I don't think THEY believe in this team and with what's happened over the past week, I'm willing to bet they don't make ANY moves before the trade deadline.
The injury to Grady Sizemore that has him on the 15-day DL - AGAIN - For the THIRD time - was the final straw. They were this close (holding my thumb and forefinger really close together) to being a serious World Series contender.
All they needed was another bat. The pitching is straightening itself out with a little help from the minors - see David Huff. We've got arguably the best Bullpen and Closer going right now, so if Justin (Just Nasty-son) Masterson and Josh Tomlin could get a little help on the starting side, our pitching is looking pretty good. The problem, as we all know, has been hitting.
The Indians are not good enough to live by the "long ball." They played smart baseball at the beginning of the year, getting hits and bunting and sac flies; doing the little things as directed by Manny Acta to get runs on the board. But as the season has gone on, pitchers are lucky to get 2 runs out of the offense and that lack of run support has hurt.
Shapiro and Antonetti have been clear that the Tribe is working it's "Rebuilding Plan" and that being in first place this year has been a surprise. They are at least a year ahead of schedule. They are not willing to sacrifice prospects just to add a rent-a-bat. But pressure from fans was changing their minds. I could feel them sway to the side of "well, maybe we better take another look at do something."
As Cleveland Fans, we all know that there's no guarantees for "Next Year." We've learned to appreciate the moment and take what we've got and run with it. We need to run with this team, not tell them they are playing above their heads and that they really aren't any good. These guys are exactly where their talent has taken them. And if Asdrubal's web gems every day aren't enough, we've got a guy on pace to win 20 games (Tomlin) and another guy going for 40 saves (Perez). Hello? That is awesome and we should be celebrating it.Indians management should be getting these guys the help the need to cross the last hurdle. Instead, they have been dragging their feet. And now Grady is hurt. I truly believe that this is the end of trade talks. Other teams are going to be tough to negotiate with and Management is going to use that as the excuse for not getting a deal done.
The reality is much simpler: they don't believe in this team. They won't give up Pomeranz, Kipnis, White, Hagadone.... for a bat because they don't believe. If they truly believed in this team, they would give up one prospect for a World Series shot. We all would. But Size matters. And this injury to Grady Sizemore has tipped the scales away from "Hope" and back to "Rebuilding." I just wish Management believed in this team as much as the fans do. Even if we don't go to the games, we still believe.