This Just In
The Indians still blow. Win one, lose a few, win one, and lose a few more.
Should I Stay or I Should I Go Now
I guess your perspective on whether the Indians should be looking to deal the only two players worth a rat's arse before the trading deadline is whether you truly believe that this season was a hiccup on the road to contending every season in the AL Central or whether this level of suck is sustainable and/or likely next season.
If you believe that Fausto Carmona will return to 2007 form instead of doing his best Steve Blass impression and if you believe Jake Westbrook will be a healthy and viable second or third starter then you clearly have to hang onto both Martinez and Lee and take your cuts. You can point to the continued development of Asdrubal Cabrera as well as that of Shin Soo Choo to support that position and you can make the argument that Grady Sizemore and Travis will be far closer to completely healthy next season than they are right now.
Tony Sipp has settled in looks solid, Kerry Wood can't be as bad as he's looked this season and there's some help in the pipeline with Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley getting closer to being major league-ready.
That's the glass half-full viewpoint. And honestly, despite this train wreck of a season, the Tribe's cupboard is nowhere close to bare.
But there are many people who believe next year is a washout already. That you may be looking at a completely new coaching staff and breaking in guys like LaPorta and Brantley next spring instead of smartly doing it now.
Those people believe that Lee and Martinez are more valuable today in terms of a trade than they will be at any point in the next season and a half.
Why would people think that? Probably because it's true. Lee and Martinez are ridiculously productive AND they are ridiculously affordable not only for the remainder of this season but because whoever trades for them gets them at a terrific price for the production (Martinez at $7m and Lee at $8m) in 2010. These guys would not be half season rentals if they were dealt now and they break nobody's bank next season either.
There is tremendous value in dealing for either of them today and the Indians would be able to demand a tremendous amount of talent in return. The asking price should for either Martinez or Lee should start with the sun, include the stars and conclude with a demand for the moon. That asking price might be enough to dissuade teams from making a deal, but there are organizations rich in major-league ready prospects that might be willing to talk.
Last Look at a Legend?
Ken Griffey Jr. is the best baseball player of my adult life, plain and simple.
The 39 year old has an impressive array of statistics to support him: 13 All Star game appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Slugger Awards, 1 MVP season (and five Top 5 finishes altogether), 621 HRs (behind just Barry Bonds*, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays) and 1800 RBI (18th all-time).
In his prime Griffey could do everything on the field and do it better and more gracefully than just about anyone in the game. Time and injuries have made Griffey a shadow of his former self but he's still an imposing presence and you can still occasionally see the elements of what may have been the prettiest swing in baseball history.
Junior did annoy me when he went into his petulant star stage when he seemed to bristle at the attention he received, but with time you can start to understand some of the reasons why. Junior was playing with and against guys who were chemically enhancing themselves and their numbers. And while I wouldn't bet my life or yours that any given player was completely clean in the steroid era, no credible evidence (and very few allegations in general) has ever been introduced in regard to Griffey Jr.
There's symmetry not only to Griffey Jr.'s game but also to his career. Raised in Cincinnati, he started his career in Seattle where he was drafted #1 overall in 1987 and played, beginning at the age of 19, with his father, a former Reds star. After 11 terrific years in Seattle Griffey Jr. went home again.
Junior was solid, if not spectacular at times, for the Reds before he returned to Seattle to start this season (I refuse to acknowledge the cup of coffee Griffey Jr. had with the White Sox at the end of last year). Griffey Jr. celebrated his return to Seattle by hitting the franchise's 5,000th home run earlier this season.
Griffey Jr. doesn't strike me as a guy who will stick it out to the bitter end like Mays and so many before him did. He's currently hitting less than .220 for the Mariners and he's formally entered the ‘Needs to Cheat on Fastballs' stage of his career so it's entirely possible that this trip to Cleveland will be his last.
If this was the last trip into town for Ken Griffey Jr. it's the end of an incredibly productive career that may be being overlooked.
Moon has a decent middle range game and is an able defender. This is another rangy wing player who can shoot a bit and defend some of the bigger perimeter players around the league.
Miami has seven days to match the offer (terms of which were not disclosed) or lose Moon to the Cavaliers.