The Indians' organization is out in full force for the next few days as the traveling caravan is hitting local malls in an effort to drum up support for the upcoming season, as much as that effort may be in earnest. Nevertheless, at the first stop of the “Tribe Tour”, Tribe GM Chris Antonetti hit on a couple of small items of note, all of which can be seen here and offered with comment heretofore.
After Antonetti weighed in and officially debunked the previously-debunked “Grady and Fausto to Washington” rumors (and, for the love of all things holy, can we institute some sort of filter on all of this noise?), the new Indians GM asserted that Grady would remain in CF because he's most comfortable there and because, Antonetti said, “talking to our medical people, center field is less demanding on his knee because, while he may have to cover more ground out there, he doesn't have to decelerate as quickly. In left and right field, you have to make a lot more quick stops."
While I'll neither pretend to be a medical expert nor an expert on what it takes to play different OF positions in MLB, that seems to make sense and if it helps protect Sizemore's knee, I can buy into that. Though a lot has been (justifiably) written about the Indians' youngsters this off-season and how they're being counted on to push the Indians back towards competition...then contention, the presence of a healthy Sizemore (at some level of production above that put forth by Trevor Crowe) in 2011 is going to go a long way towards taking some necessary steps.
There's some talk in the piece about lineups and where Grady hits that doesn't interest me at all so long as a healthy Sizemore is somewhere at the top of the lineup and justifying his place there. Acta said to the assembled crowd that "statistically, you have to score about 800 runs to make the postseason. Last year, we lost the top five guys in our lineup to injuries. No one hitting eighth or ninth got hurt."
The team scored 646 runs last year...so let's hold off on the talk of 800 runs or postseason (as much as Acta can shine that light of optimism of his on the topic) and try to take some steps here, maybe back towards 800, if not quite to it.
As for adding other players to the mix, Antonetti said that they're still looking to add players and the piece mentions the Casey Kotchman rumor that makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. If we're talking about Millwood or Orlando Cabrera or, as was suggested to me by a reader, Willy Aybar on Minor League deals...come on down guys.
A scaled-down LH-version of Ryan Garko with a bit of a better glove?
To compete with LaPorta or platoon with him?
Those are just three question marks here, with the promise to add hundreds if they actually sign Kotchman, even if it is on a Minor League deal.
If the Indians are thinking about Kotchman (which would be more than a little disconcerting in terms of perceived production from LaPorta) seriously as an upgrade for what they have, then Antonetti – who said that he will be “disappointed” if the team is not contending this year – and Tribe fans are in for a year of disappointment.