Results tagged ‘ Victor Martinez ’

Recent Seattle-Cleveland-Tampa Bay Trade Rumors

 


Steve Nesius / AP

Usually when I get a call at 5 am EST in involves the following items: money, a bail bondsman, or a ride somewhere. But this ring tone told me it was from a far away source, a pretty good drive and leap away. It came from the west coast, and in Seattle it was only 1 am PST in the morning. So with a million things racing through my mind that could be wrong for this person to be calling me at this time, baseball was not very high on the list at that hour.

So I answered the phone to a loud scream of : “Tell me it is true, Frickin (I cleaned the language up) tell me this is a true rumor. you see, while most of us were sleeping on the east coast, the websites and the bloggers on the other side of the country were just getting settled into their homes after a blowout by the Cleveland Indians over the Mariners. So as they were driving home or even listening online to the M’s flagship radio station KIRO 710 AM was spilling out some fodder that the Rays, Tribe and M’s had something cooking on the back burner.

So I decided to check my first reliable source by popping onto the website www.seattlepi.com/mariners and seeing if the bloggers had gotten a hold of such a rumor. Now I was not even aware of the players involved yet, but I did have reason to believe the two coming to the Rays would be the hot and much wanted starter Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez.

And so I hit the M’s blog section and was greeted by the following headline: “Potential huuuge deal w/M’s, Tribe and Rays”. What was so amazing is that at this time two of the team involved in this trade were currently in a 3-game series in Seattle. What was even more amazing was the 4 other players linked to this rumor. The Seattle side of the equation had former starter/reliever/closer and current Triple-A player Brandon Morrow and back-up catcher Jeff Clement going to the Indians.


Ted S. Warren / AP

On the Seattle side of the trade aspect they were getting rid of a pitcher who needed a change of scenery and who could re-invent himself correctly with his next team. The M’s had used Morrow in every pitching situation and never let him get totally settled into one segment of their pitching staff.  Clements was another guy who was stuck behind two starters and was learning to play first base to get his bat into the line-up down in Triple-A. He had played for the M’s in both 2007 and 2008, but lost out this season to back-up Rob Johnson because of his MLB experience.

Both guys needed a break from the M’s way of doing business, and the trade route seemed like the perfect answer. But because the Rays needed a third party to get some of the needed pieces to Cleveland like a catcher and a quality pitcher who could assume any spot, both Clements and Morrow were perfect candidates for the possible trade. But what had the M’s bloggers all giddy and excited. What member of the Rays might have fallen into their laps and gotten such a great response.


Chris O’Meara / AP

Well, the Rays were willing to send left-handed starter Scott Kazmir and shortstop prospect Reid Brignac to the Emerald City. But early on in this trade situation, some wires did get crossed, and some mixed signals did get thrown out over the web. At one point this afternoon, Tampa Tribune sportswriter Marc Lancaster had to get some needed information to calm the Rays faithful. Here are a few of his Tweets from Sat to explain the Brignac episode:

@TBORays “Reid Brignac pulled from Durham game before top of third inning. Definitely a potential trade chip, so something might be up”


@TBORays From what I can gather, doesn’t sound like a trade is imminent with Brignac. Still not sure why he’s out, though.

@TBORays Word from Durham is Reid Brignac was pulled from the game for not hustling to first base.

@TBORays Per Durham manager, Reid Brignac will play 2nd game today. Right leg was bothering him.


So after that I decided to do some detective work and see if
www.cleveland.com was sporting any interesting gossip. But all was silent on the Indians local papers website and in the blog regions. Hopefully by morning we will know more about what might be going on with this entire situation. But before I go, let me also let you in on some of the speculation coming from another source in the Seattle area.


Brian Blanco / AP

It seems that Geoff Baker, who writes for the Seattle Times also had gotten wind of this potential trade. So I wandered over to wwwseattletimes.nwsource/marinersblog and took a look at what he was saying about the potential trade. Here is a small sampling of his take on the whole trade situation concerning all three teams:

“Here’s something to think about, completely my speculation right now, but showing you how this stuff works. Let’s say there really was a three-way deal in the works between Tampa Bay, Cleveland and the Mariners and that Zduriencik was going to acquire Brignac and Scott Kazmir in a deal that would send Brandon Morrow, Jeff Clement and pocket change to the Indians. Maybe the M’s were all set to pull the trigger and that’s why Brignac was pulled.”

That does make sense, but also what make more sense to me is that Scott Kazmir needs a fresh start somewhere. I can see him having a 2010 that would rival Edwin Jackson’s current season up in Detroit. Sometimes you just need to get away and let the stress flow to begin again. And that is what both Kazmir and Brignac need right now. Solid foundation and a chance to play again at their top levels. For Kazmir to be away from Rays Pitching Coach Jim Hickey might be the best medicine for him right now.

He has not gotten the program fully that Hickey is trying to teach in Tampa Bay. Kazmir was a success here  ion Tampa Bay before Hickey was hired in November 2006. His style is more centered on “contact” or spot pitching sytle to minimize offensive damage. It is not a system Kazmir can not learn, it just takes away from his power pitching side and makes him rely on location and change of speed on his pitches. 

Brignac is stuck behind a log-jam that is only going to get more crowded at Triple-A, and this opportunity would give him more of a chance to show his stuff at the major league level. With current shortstop Jason Bartlett hitting over .350, and back-up Ben Zobrist becoming the super uber sub of the American League, Brignac is stuck waiting for a chance because of injuries and not abilities. In Seattle he would have a chance to show his stuff and even get noticed by other teams the rest of the season.

And last, but not least is the upgrade the Rays would get with a quality catcher who can also hit for average and power that is currently lacking in Tampa Bay. Sure there might have to be some attitude adjustments before Martinez comes to show he is here for the team and that his “Old Man” comment to Rays Manager Joe Maddon was just in the heat of battle. But the pitching upgrade of Lee could easily be the difference in getting a chance at a playoff spot in 2009.


Duane Burleson / AP

And if all else fails and it is not a success, you know teams will be eager to entertain a trade with the Rays for Lee in the offseason if they feel he is not a solid fit to the rotation for the team. But I still do not see this happening without a single Rays farm system player going to Cleveland. The guy that has been mentioned most in trade chatter has been pitcher Wade Davis. But like Kazmir and Brignac, he has been  a bit stymied the last season waiing for his shot at the MLB level.

No matter what happens between now and the end of the trade deadline, you can be sure you will hear more of these names flashed around on the bottom of your television screens. The tell-tale sign of something brewing behind the scenes in Seattle might be if Cliff Lee doesn’t start on Sunday against the Mariners. If this happens, it is a fair indicator that someone might be making a huge push at getting the former Cy Young leftie for their own……..hopefully in Tampa Bay.

Victor, You are Better Than This

 


Reinhold Matay / AP

Okay, I have to say this, and hopefully I will only have to say it once, Victor Martinez is a great hitter and can call a pretty good game behind the plate, but he has a lot of work to be done as a human being.  I mean come on now, do you really thin J P Howell, all 6-foot 180 pounds of him was really going to try and take you head off with an 86 mph breaking ball? The whining and the crying after that episode, and the next inning bickering behind the plate just puts further focus on the fact that Cleveland Indians Manager Eric Wedge might have bigger problems than his pitching staff.  I know there is mixed feeling out there on his performance and the teams effort, but if you got a guy, who is suppose to be your leader screaming profanities at another teams manager and he is not even thrown out of the game, that is resulting to a bully mentality.

And I like him as a hitter. Well, who would not want a guy who is flirting daily with a .400 average. But the whining the the boorish treatment of the umpire crew in this series is horrendous for a guy who think he deserves to be an All-Star. I hope he can wise up in time before his manager might be shown the door and someone else comes in here and cleans house of the negativity that seems to persist behind the Cleveland plate. I can see the need to push a guy off the plate when he is nibbling with the chalk lines, but to throw behind him and then graze his uniform with a inside pitch above the belt to show your pitcher can do it is beyond control. But your boorish behavior to begin to insult and throw profanity at an opposing manager when he is stating the obvious intent to intimidate is insulting.

I though you had more class than to try and raise your team’s game by getting into a scuffle with the one team that will not back down to you or anyone. Did you forget who you were playing………..Seriously here, did you forget this team were not phased by the New York Yankees in the spring of 2008, or by the Boston Red Sox during the season.  The fact that you were smirking behind your mask after the tussles was amazing. I really would have loved to see Carl Crawford get to you without him being pulled by the umpire to the side.  First off, you were throwing at CC’s buddy, and he likes to defend his friends. Secondly, you had the nerve to throw insults at Rays Manager Joe Maddon. I hope you get a suspension from it all, but in all fairness, it will probably be us who get hit with a few fines and suspensions.

But for you to even consider trying to show up this band of brothers is an insult to your game right now. I am not shy to defend my guys, but that set of events was a farce from the get go. So what if Upton stole third base when you had a 9-0 lead. The Rays were trying to come back. Sorry but that is the game Victor, to win, not to lay down and wait for the next game to begin. But then you might have forgot that in 2008 when you went home in October instead of to the playoffs. You got a good look at the type of bond this Rays team had yesterday afternoon. You got to see what it takes to again rise to the top. Your team might have that deep inside them, but they have to bring it to the surface or you are, at best, only the second best team in your own division.


Reinhold Matay / AP


You lost a huge amount of my respect yesterday and Saturday night, but I know you can care less what I think. But the fans in Cleveland also saw your brooding and behavior and hopefully they will respond and want you to step up your game as a leader in your clubhouse. I always wanted to draft you on my Fantasy teams every season, and I have had you every year up to 2009. For some reason I had a gut feeling you were not the same guy. I am wrong in the hitting department, you still got loads of game, but as a leader and a positive influence for your team……….you have a void spot in your soul right now.

I do have to say this in your defense. That might be your type of leadership style, what we saw in the Trop. during that 4-game series. If it is, you might want to refine your objectives to more positive results and not play on emotional outbursts and events to change your team’s personality. It is dangerous to play a lethal game where you test another team’s stamina and heart. But it is even worse when that team comes at you full bore and not only answers the call, but puts you back on your heels.  I know you could not hear me calling for you from the stands, but I wanted a piece of you myself. Not to fight or even sit there and exchange insults, but to try and lend you some word of advice to bring your team back together and not lower yourself to such childish maneuvers. You are a professional athlete, and a key member of your team. Not only do the Indians players look to your actions, tons of kids in the Cleveland area want to be like you.

I hope they want to be like the 2008 Victor Martinez, or the post-Rays series Victor Martinez. You have the ability to change the flow of your teams decent into the cellar of the American League Central division. The frustration you put out on the forefront this weekend needs to be addressed in your own locker room before you try and take on people like that. You do not have the muscle right now behind you to pull off the series win, but it is within your team to begin to bring that out and become the squad you envisioned on February 15th. But first and foremost, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself because Cleveland needs you to be a success this season.


Reinhold Matay / AP


 
And Victor, do not let your Manager be the guy to take the fall for all of the teams faults. Come on, if you step up and be the leader you say you are, then they will follow and the team will see a gradual drive to the positive. How embarrassing is it to be an Indians fan when your biggest superstar in the city is seen flashing a New York Yankees cap during a baseball game, and it was not even at Progressive/The Jake. You need to make some one like Le Bron James want to sport that tribe gear. And to start, you need to make it a joy for fans and players’ to throw on that gear again with the Cleveland logos.

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