Tribe takes game one
Make it four wins in a row. Behind a solid performance from C.C. Sabathia, the Indians beat the Twins Tuesday night 4-3, moving to .500 on the year and gaining another game on the Twins in the standings. As of this writing, meanwhile, the White Sox are tied 4-4 with the Angels in the ninth.
This should be another great series with Minnesota, and this game is the perfect way to start a pivotal road trip. Ben Broussard again delivered a couple big hits, belting a solo homer in the fifth after doubling in his first plate appearance. Even better, Victor Martinez stayed hot, going 2-for-3 with a monster two-run homer in the sixth. Juan Gonzalez, meanwhile, left the game in the first after aggravating his hamstring injury while running out a weak grounder.
Ludwick out, Gonzalez in
As expected, the Indians activated Juan Gonzalez from the DL Tuesday. That’s the good news. The bad news is, they designated Ryan Ludwick for assignment. Because Ludwick is out of options, he’ll have to clear waivers before getting sent to the minors and that ain’t gonna happen. He’s a 26-year-old outfielder with plenty of power and untapped potential, and guys like that don’t just slip through waivers. The other option is for the Indians to try to work out a trade for Ludwick within 10 days.
I was preaching patience with Aaron Boone earlier this season but it’s to the point now that he’s clearly the most deserving of a demotion. Unfortunately, either Mark Shapiro didn’t agree or Boone wouldn’t accept the demotion. Regardless of why it happened, it’s unfortunate to see the Indians lose a guy like Ludwick. Let’s hope Gonzalez comes out hot, stays healthy and makes the move worthwhile.
Bell takes over Royals post
The Kansas City Royals have named Indians bench coach Buddy Bell their new manager, replacing former Indian Tony Pena, who resigned on May 10. All I can say is, good luck Buddy! The Royals own the worst record in baseball (13-37) and they’re currently 20.5 games out of first in the Central. The good news for Bell, who managed the Tigers for three seasons and the Rockies for two, is that he moves from baseball’s fourth-worst offensive team (in terms of runs scored) to the sixth-worst. Woo-hoo!
Larry Brown the wrong choice?
At least one person thinks the Cavaliers are making a mistake by hiring Larry Brown as the team’s president. ESPN’s Marc Stein says Brown should be ashamed of himself for letting the rumors of his new job encroach on Detroit’s current title run, but he also says the Cavaliers should be “flat-out freaked out by the path they’re apparently choosing.” Harsh criticism indeed. Here’s more:
“[Dan] Gilbert’s obsessive pursuit of Larry Brown as the man to run the Cavs’ front office and assemble a title-contending team around LeBron James ? and not coach it ? warrants the loudest possible criticism.
For it’s one of the most ridiculous ideas I’ve ever heard … and that’s excluding all the issues of propriety.
Larry Brown cannot be an effective personnel chief in the NBA. He can’t be. He won’t be. He sours on players far too quickly to be a level-headed talent evaluator. He is chronically, famously fickle.
Clevelanders are concerned that LeBron might bolt in free agency in a few years?
If Larry is their general manager, Gilbert and the locals are advised to be far more concerned that Brown might try to ship LeBron somewhere before next February’s trade deadline.
That’s no joke. That’s Larry. That’s how he is.”
While I highly doubt Brown will be looking to deal LeBron once he takes over, Stein makes several legitimate points throughout his article, claiming the Larry Brown hiring will be detrimental to Mike Brown’s development as a head coach (“…if the Cavs start slowly, how long do you think it’ll take before fans or media types or Larry himself starts wondering ? loudly ? why the elder Brown isn’t doing what he does best? Coaching.”) while also pointing to the shaky relationship between LeBron and Brown, stemming from last year’s Olympics. Stein goes on to say that the reason Brown finally won a championship with the Pistons is because GM Joe Dumars wouldn’t give Brown any control over front-office matters.
This is definitely an interesting — and somewhat unsettling — read from a columnist whose writing is consistently compelling and accurate.
Source: Larry Brown new Cavs Prez
An Eastern Conference executive says Pistons coach Larry Brown has agreed to become the Cavaliers’ President of Basketball Operations, according to the PD. Because Brown, who still has three years remaining on his contract with Detroit, will be moving to the front office instead of another head-coaching position, Pistons GM Joe Dumars is unlikely to require compensation from the Cavs.
Of course, this could all fall apart since the deal won’t become official until after the Pistons are eliminated from the playoffs, but assuming everything goes as planned, pairing Larry Brown’s considerable experience with first-time head coach Mike Brown, who will reportedly be introduced to the media Wednesday or Thursday, makes a whole lot of sense. I’m sure having Larry Brown in the front office will put a little added pressure on Mike Brown, but the elder’s health issues would seem to make it very unlikely that he’ll return to the sidelines anytime soon.
Now the question becomes, who’s the next GM? The same PD article says the Cavs are looking at Milt Newton, Washington’s director of player personnel, and former Cavaliers forward Danny Ferry, currently the director of basketball operations for San Antonio. Danny Ferry? Well, as long as we don’t have to trade Ron Harper for him….
Juan Gonzalez set to join club
The ABJ reports that Juan Gonzalez will join the Indians Tuesday evening for the start of their series in Minnesota. Of course, how they get Gonzalez into the lineup and who gets shipped out to clear roster space remains to be seen. Aaron Boone makes the most sense, with a trip to the minors hopefully giving him time to discover his swing. The other option is Ryan Ludwick, but since he’s out of options he’d have to clear waivers first, and that’s not likely to happen.
Of course, regardless of who the choice is this time around, the player who survives Gonzalez’s return may very well not survive the return of Coco Crisp.
It’s official: Mike Brown
The PD is reporting that the Cavaliers have reached an agreement with Mike Brown and will introduce the former Indiana assistant as the team’s new head coach within the week.
Hmm…. I’m not sure what to think here. Brown is highly respected throughout the league and has an impressive resume, working under Pacers coach Rick Carlisle as an associate head coach for the past two seasons while also winning a title under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. If Dan Gilbert wanted to nab a hot young assistant instead of one of the big-name coaching candidates out there, then it seems that Brown was the ideal choice. But after all the talk about Phil Jackson and Flip Saunders, I have to admit that I’m kind of shocked by the move.
Is this the guy that’s going to keep LeBron in Cleveland? Jackson and Saunders seem better suited for that challenge, but both may have turned Gilbert down or priced themselves out of the job. Then again, maybe the big-name talk was just that — talk. ESPN speculates that Brown’s hiring may enhance the likelihood of Larry Brown becoming the team’s GM, which seems to make sense. Pairing Larry Brown with someone like Jackson or Saunders could quickly lead to a power struggle between GM and coach, a situation you would avoid with Mike Brown as the head coach.
Regardless of what decisions have been and will be made, let’s just hope they all lead to an extended stay in Cleveland for LeBron and an eventual title run for the Cavaliers.
Indians complete sweep
Okay, so it was only the 17-32 A’s, but the Tribe’s first sweep of the year is an encouraging sign. Jake Westbrook allowed one run on four hits in seven innings and, for once, he actually got some help from the offense in a 6-3 win Sunday. Ben Broussard had two hits and Alex Cora drove in three runs, but perhaps the most significant line in the box score belonged to Victor Martinez, who doubled and homered in four at-bats. Now back over the Mendoza Line (.201), Martinez got just his 18th hit in 113 left-handed at bats (.159) on the season. Aaron Boone, meanwhile, found himself back on the bench after going 0-4 and commiting his seventh error of the season yesterday.
Now at 24-25 on the year, the Indians find themselves nine games behind the White Sox (pending Chicago’s game today) and 3.5 behind the Twins, who fell to Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays 4-0 Sunday. With three games in Minnesota (Tuesday through Thursday) and three more in Chicago (Friday through Sunday) this week, the Indians have a golden opportunity to get right back into the AL Central hunt. Winning four or five of these next six games would be fantastic, but a 2-4 swing would be equally as devastating at this point.
Ross Verba threatens holdout
Should we care if Ross Verba holds out? He’s certainly the most experienced left tackle on the roster, but he clearly has an inflated view of his worth as a player. He a solid tackle, but he’s not a Pro Bowl caliber player. Patrick McManamon is now reporting that the Browns have been happy with the development of Kirk Chambers, a pure left tackle who started for four years at Stanford. Frankly, this is an opportunity for Savage and Crennell to continue to change the character of the team. I’d like to see them take a hard line with Verba.
Tribe heating up
Don’t look now, but the Tribe might be finally waking up and joining the party in the AL Central. They’re currently taking advantage of playing the reeling A’s after getting a hard-fought split with the Twins. Even Scott Elarton is contributing, delivering his second-straight solid performance in Saturday’s 6-3 victory. They need to finish the sweep on Sunday and then get ready again for the Twins.