Chuck Lofgren is officially gone as a member of the Cleveland Indians. I've been a Lofgren fan since I saw him pitch several times in Kinston in 2006, when he tore up the Carolina League with a 17-5 record, a 2.32 ERA, 125 strike outs, and 54 walks in 139 2/3 innings. There has been varying degrees of success and struggle over the years for Lofgren, and for many reasons. He got lost in the shuffle somewhere in between. The Brewers selected Lofgren during this past year's Rule V draft, and as originally thought, the Brew-Crew offered Lofgren back to the Tribe, knowing they couldn't keep him on their big league roster all season. All the while, Milwaukee was trying to make a trade to keep him. That happened today when the Indians accepted Omar Aguilar in exchange for Lofgren. Good luck to you Chuck, and I fully expect to see you in a Brewers' jersey in the next year.
As for Aguilar, look at him as the Brewers bullpen version of Lofgren, which automatically makes him a fit for the Tribe...not that a starter would hurt either. Aguilar exploded on the scene in 2008, when he saved 13 games in 19 appearances, while going 3-0 with a 0.35 ERA for Single A Brevard County. He's never really been all that successful outside of Single A ball, so it's unknown how much of a prospect he'll turn out to be.
The 6'0, 220 lb righty has a monster fastball that blows hitters away (11.57 K's/9 innings in Huntsville last season), but not much else. He struggles with his control, but has that cannon arm that if harnessed, could put him at the back-end of a bullpen. So in comes promise-for-promise. Let's hope it plays out.
Now, before I finish my fries, and before my son and daughter start chanting Mickey, let's move on.
I'm convinced this club can contend in the central if Rafael Perez and Fausto Carmona return to their 2007 form. Now, that's no small feat, but if the spring is any indication, then they might be on the right track. In Carmona's only appearance so far in Arizona, he went three innings, giving up nothing, and striking out one. Yeah, he was pounding the strike zone, and putting a big smile on Tim Belcher's face. Belcher, famous for forcing hitters to swing, seems to have gotten through Carmona's complicated head, at least early on.
Perez is 1-0 in four innings and four games of work. He's got zeros across the board as well, with the exception of one walk and five K's. Perez is starting to not only pound the strike zone with his tops-in-the-system slider, but is mixing his above average fastball. If he's throwing strikes, and getting the movement he's been missing with all of his pitches, he's as unhittable as they come. Well, as unhittable as Carmona was...is...could be.
If you get my drift.
It's early yet this fine spring, but Carmona and Perez are flirting with the form that not only made them tops for the Indians, but tops in the majors. If these guys are close to that, well, things really do get interesting.
As for me, it's M-I-C-K-E-Y, spend-all-my-mon-ey...
I'll be talking to you in between the Swiss Family Robinson, It's a Small World, Space Mountain and having to foreclose on my house because a soda is $12.00.