Thursday, July 20, 2006

Great Trade. Who'd We Get?

I couldn't help invoking the mythical words of Lenny Dykstra when informed that the Phillies had just traded Von Hayes to the Indians after learning that the Indians had just traded Bob Wickman to the Braves. (In case you're wondering, the Tribe acquired Single A catcher Max Ramirez. What this means for Kelly Shoppach and Victor Martinez is probably very little in the near term, but we'll see.)It's not that I dislike Wickman. In fact, he's a stand-up guy who's humble in success and doesn't hide when he fails. But at this juncture, what's the point of his being on the team? The number of save opportunities has dwindled to a slow drip. The Tribe simply isn't going anywhere anyway and the only hope of ever escaping the abyss that the Dolans created is if Shapiro strikes unexpected gold by making these kinds of trades.What this trade does highlight is what a poor decision Shapiro made in NOT signing Bob Howry.  Shapiro claimed that Howry wanted "closer" money, something Shapiro couldn't see paying for a set-up man.  Of course it was this mentality that kept the old Browns (and the new Browns until this year) from signing offensive linemen and subjecting their quarterbacks to multiple beat downs.  But had Shapiro signed Howry, we wouldn't be wondering who might close on Friday and next season.If you aren't paying attention, this is why the Dolans are such bad owners.  Shapiro didn't have the financial flexibility to, perhaps, overpay just a little to keep the valuable Howry.  As a result, our bullpen has been a mess without that stabilizing force.  In turn, that has contributed to the dismal season thus far, which, in turn, has contributed to the trade of Wickman, which in turn contributes to more uncertainty for the bullpen in the future.  What the trade of Wickman really highlights is that there is little chance that the Indians will become competitive any time soon.  So, who'd we get?  Does it matter?    

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