It's not the Indians season that is on a respirator.
That's already as dead as yesterday.
Instead it's the employability of Tribe manager Eric Wedge that may be sucking its last breaths.
Even in an organization where passion, common sense and baseball talk have been replaced by process, flow charts and corporate dogma, there has to be a small chance today that the thought crossing the minds of Tribe owners Larry and Paul Dolan and GM Mark Shapiro involves changing the manager.
Of course, sticking to their communication techniques, they'd be considering a ‘re-organization at the on-field level'.
Call it what you will, but if they're not considering removing Wedge from his managerial position then they are the only ones in all of Cleveland and much of baseball NOT with that thought running through their minds.
There's not much more to say that wasn't said right here.
Thirteen games under .500, six straight losses, ten back of the division leading Detroit Tigers and a bullpen that has embarrassed the ‘Bullpen from Hell'TM and guys like Rich Yett, Keith Atherton and Steve Davis from when I was a younger man, would cost many managers their jobs.
It will be stunning to me if Eric Wedge is still making the lineup card when baseball returns from its All Star break. Hell, it won't surprise me if the announcement that a change is made beats this article to press.
Then again, it won't shock me a bit if Wedge is taking out the lineup card next April for the 2010 opener.
Etcetera.... And a Whole Lot of It
Shapiro's history in the amateur draft is deplorable. Year after year guys go off the board after the Indians pick that generally get to the big leagues faster and with more talent than Tribe farm hands exhibit.
The poster boy for this example on the current Cleveland roster is Trevor Crowe. Crowe was the 14th pick in the 2005 draft, a draft that may go down in history as the best and deepest draft ever. Kids like Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Troy Tulowitski, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce went ahead of Crowe.
And there's nothing you can do about the guys that went ahead of you. The problem is that Crowe preceded Chris Volstad, John Mayberry Jr. Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus, Luke Hochevar, Clay Bucholz, Jed Lowery and Kevin Slowey.
No, you can't nail down what these kids are going to do after draft day. But the Indians need to make far better use of the draft than guys like Crowe. It got even worse in 2005. With a sandwich pick in between rounds one and two, and as compensation for losing Omar Vizquel, the Indians selected John Drennen as their second "first round" pick. You want the scoop on Drennen? Ask the folks in Kinston where he spent years in A ball before moving up to AA Akron this season to face that firing line.
I think he got a gold watch for his time in Kinston.
To me that draft symbolizes the issue with Shapiro. His drafts have been horrible and his free agent budget and acumen has done nothing to make up for those dry years of the draft.
He's also presided over an organization that has played ‘Truth or Consequences' too many times with the health of his players. The Indians waited too long to shut down Travis Hafner and Joe Borowski in years past and then diddled around this season waiting for Grady Sizemore to get right.
They're still waiting for two of the three to come back and contribute in a meaningful way and the other one (Borowski) is out of the organization.
Small market teams are crushed when their prime time performers are out of the lineup, more so when their minor leagues are incapable of replacing those players with anything of quality. Shapiro, for all his process and organizational acumen, has failed to establish a clear and consistent method of handling these types of injury situations.
The man has made his bones either fleecing desperate teams like the Montreal Expos or taking full advantage of the Seattle Mariners. Those trades of major leaguers for minor league talent, some excellent trades by the way, have allowed the organization to keep its nose above water for the most part, but too many misses in the draft is showing its ugly head in a year where performance and injuries have not been kind to the Tribe.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls Mark.
Spin said, "Stallworth is damned lucky that guy he killed wasn't walking his dog." And you know what? I agree with Spin. That sentence was offensive. I understand the circumstances but many people are going to look at that prison sentence and wonder how a human life is worth less than the lives of animals.
I'm all about owning up to a mistake like Stallworth apparently did in admitting his guilt and reaching a financial settlement with his victim's family, but damn. That's an odd precedent to set.
The only winners in the sentencing are Stallworth, his defense lawyer and PETA.
Good to be back in the saddle this week after an outstanding weekend in Nashville last week. Thanks a ton to Jesse Lamovsky who stepped in to pinch hit last weekend. It's greatly appreciated.