Carlos Carrasco still maturing

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Anaheim, California September 6, 2010. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Carlos Carrasco has been one of the nice surprises of this 2011 season for the Indians as they appear to be building an excellent, young pitching staff. I was pissed about the Cliff Lee trade several years ago as the Indians gave up on Lee a year early in a pathetic salary dump. I usually applaud the Tribe brass for their trades, as they know how to find young talent, but they gave up Lee too early and they should have insisted on more in return.

That said, they certainly got talent back with Carrasco. He’s been dominant at times this year, though he also goes through growing pains at times. This account from the KC papers from last night’s game is interesting.

The Royals clubbed four homers Friday night, including three in the first four innings, in a 12-0 bludgeoning of Cleveland, but it was the response to those homers by Indians starter Carlos Carrasco that lit the fuse.

Carrasco followed a grand slam by Melky Cabrera, which pushed the Royals’ lead to 7-0 in the fourth, by throwing a pitch at Billy Butler’s head. That prompted an immediate ejection for Carrasco that likely prevented an on-field brawl.

“I barely got out of the way,” Butler said. “It was right at my head, and there was no way around it. I usually don’t react that way. If I get hit, I get hit. I don’t have anything to say. But in that situation, I’m going to open my mouth.”

The Royals were already coming out of the dugout and the bullpen when home-plate umpire Scott Barry threw Carrasco out of the game.

Carrasco insisted he didn’t go head-hunting.

“I didn’t throw at anybody,” he said. “The baseball just ran away. I know it looked bad after a home run, but there is nothing I can do right there. I was upset at myself, and Melky, too.”

It was hard to find anybody in either clubhouse who bought Carrasco’s version.

“He’s a young guy,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He’s immature at times and shows his frustration the wrong way. He was talked to.”

The near bean ball came in apparent retaliation for Cabrera’s elongated admiration of his slam before circling the bases. Even the Royals acknowledged that hitting the next hitter, Butler, was within the game’s unwritten rules.

Just not in the head.

“Be a man,” left fielder Alex Gordon said. “Throw at his back. Not his head.”

Cleveland reliever Chad Durbin, who replaced Carrasco, buzzed Cabrera in his next at-bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. That brought no reaction from the Royals or the umpires.

Hopefully this will be a good lesson for him.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates.

Cliff Lee vs. C.C. Sabathia in the World Series

It’s hard to imagine a bigger nightmare scenario for Mark Shapiro and the Cleveland Indians. The collapse of the Indians as a contender led Shapiro to trade back-to-back Cy Young Award winners, and now they will be facing each other in game one of the World Series.

Mark Shapiro has done some very good things as the GM of the Indians. He got Cliff Lee in an incredible trade years ago when he traded Bartolo Colon in a salary dump and got back Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips (Shapiro and Eric Wedge managed to let Phillips go for nothing).

However, seeing these two pitchers facing each other in the World Series represents an epic fail for Shapiro and the Indians organization. Having Charlie Manuel managing the Phillies for a chance at his second-straight World Series makes it even worse.

Victor traded

After dumping Cliff Lee, it made sense for the Tribe to trade Victor Martinez. If you’re going to blow up the team and give up on 2010, this was the only logical move.

That said, it still sucks to watch them trade a player like Victor. He reportedly cried when told the news. It also sucks to see him go to Boston. It’s hard enough watching Cliff Lee pitch a complete game in his first outing for the Phillies, but at least he’s in the NL and not playing for a team Tribe fans hate.

The whole thing sucks. The Dolans should just give up and sell the team.

Of course, the Indians now have a ton of young players, mostly pitchers, added to their farm system. Given Mark Shapiro’s track record, these guys have a shot to contribute over the next several years. But does it really matter? Won’t the Dolans eventually give up on the players who do pan out?

The Tribe’s salary dump

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts July 17, 2010. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

The trading of Cliff Lee is an embarrassment for the Dolan family and the Cleveland Indians, because they are giving up on 2010 along with this season for purely financial reasons. That’s the only explanation for this trade, and it feeds the long-standing criticisms of the Dolan family – that they don’t have the financial means to be playing in the big leagues.

The Dolans will counter that they have stepped up in the past and that the current payroll was substantial. In that respect they have a point, and Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge need to answer for the team’s performance. But that criticism will be left for another day. The point here is that they are not willing to spend money when the inevitable adversity faces a franchise. Even good front office people make mistakes, and teams need to adjust a retool. In that respect the Sabathia trade last season was much more defensible. The season was lost, and there wwas no way they were going to be able to sign C.C., who despite his bullshit expressions of love for Cleveland and Milwaukee ended up taking the highest offer on the market from the Yankees.

That deal makes sense, but this deal makes no sense. The Indians do have a solid core group of players, and they could contend if they had Cliff Lee at the front of their rotation if they made some key moves on the pitching staff and got rid of Wedge. But now we’ll never know because the Dolans cried “uncle.”

Trading Cliff Lee, a Cy Young Award winner, for a bunch of prospects when you have another FULL SEASON left on his contract is a disgrace. No amount of spinning from Shapiro can save this one. Sure, Shapiro might strike gold again with this deal, he does fairly well evaluating other teams’ prospects, but that doesn’t really matter. The Indians are giving up for now.

I’ve shared a season-ticket package with friends for 15 years. I will not be joining the group next season.

UPDATED with more recent photo of Cliff Lee.

Related Posts