Saturday, August 1, 2009

Indians DFA Winston Abreu

In one of the most confounding moves of the season, Mark Shapiro dealt away John Meloan on July 2, 2009 for a 32-year old reliever Winston Abreu. Adding more to the confusion, the Indians now have DFAed Abreu today, which essentially means they have 10 days to either work out a trade with another team, release him, or send him to Columbus if he should clear waivers.

Meloan was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers last year in the Casey Blake deal that also brought the Indians Carlos Santana. Meloan has a mid-90's fastball, and a whole bunch of upside. On a team that has a bad habit of signing cruddy relief pitchers, Meloan seemed like an incredible get for Blake, especially when you consider that certain guitar wielding catcher the acquired with him. Sure, Meloan has struggled for much of this season, but certainly the upside for the then 24-year old (turned 25 on July 11) far outweighed his half season struggles.

Unless you're named Mark Shapiro.

You have to question the trade based on the simple logic that Meloan was 24, had a live arm, and upside. Abreu has played with about half the teams in the majors, is 32, and was having one of those seasons that makes scouts scratch their heads. He was pitching too good for a pitcher that's been a whole lot of bad. He was suspended for three games as an Indian, and really bad in the only three games he pitched in (23.14 ERA after giving up six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings over three appearances).

The move made so little sense, that many figured that Abreu had to fit into some other trade scenario with either the Rays, or perhaps as a fill in for another trade involving Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez. It turned out that Abreu wasn't dealt, although it is potentially possible that he was supposed to be moved based on the fact that the Indians dfaed him the day after the deadline. Perhaps he was a door opener for Shapiro with the Rays, who were interested in acquiring both Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. Shapiro may have been looking to soften the Rays by taking a lesser player with the hopes of springing some of their slew of prospects. If that was the case, it obviously didn't work.

Either way, the Indians dump Meloan for Abreu, which is slang for acquiring a large pile of dung. Chalk it up to another screw up in a growing list of man for GM Mark Shapiro. Whether or not Meloan fit into the future plans of the Tribe, it doesn't really make sense dumping a live relief arm when you are trying to acquire LIVE RELIEF ARMS.

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