What was his response?
LaPorta, who played both first base (7 games), left field (10 games) and DH (1 game) during his ridiculous return to Columbus, had an incredible line of .362/.457/.638. Yeah, that 1.094 OPS had to have some eyes open in Shapiro's office. LaPorta had multi-hit games in seven of his 18 games, had a ten game hitting streak at one point, and hit in 14 of the 18 games. It's also worth noting that LaPorta had less walks (10) than strikeouts (12), and had 16 RBI in 18 games. Not a bad pace. LaPorta also managed an error-free tenure at both fielding positions in 82 chances (70 at first, and 12 in the outfield).
So why the sudden turnaround from his mostly horrific start to the season in Cleveland?
Oh, if you're Mark Shapiro, you'll say that when he was sent down, he was more motivated to perform. Yeah, that's all fine and good, but I'm sure some of it had to do with the fact that LaPorta got regular at bats. Theoretically, he'll get that opportunity now in Cleveland. Of course, you never know with this regime.
The Indians idiocy in the upper management never ceases to amaze me, as this piece by Tony Lastoria at Indians Prospect Insider can attest to. This should be the platform piece whenever a discussion needs to be made about how moronic the braintrust can be in Cleveland. Look no further than Matt LaPorta's situation, as well as the Josh Rodriguez.
Hopefully this initial move of sending Rusty Branyan to Seattle opens the floodgates for the youth movement to begin to be applied at all positions. LaPorta now will likely be the full-time first baseman. With Valbuena down, Josh Rodriguez or Cord Phelps should find their way to the bigs at second. Jason Donald is a fine candidate to hold the fort down at short, although I wouldn't at all mind seeing Rodriguez, Phelps and Donald in some sort of rotation while ACabs gets healthy. With a hopeful Jhonny Peralta deal in the future, taking a look at Jared Goedert at third would be ideal with Lonnie Chisenhall knocking on the door by July of next year, if not sooner. Goedert is currently on a five game hitting streak, with three homers and six RBI during that same span. Overall, he's hitting .329, with seven homers and 16 RBI in his Columbus tenure, after hitting .329, with seven homers and 32 RBI to start the year in Akron.
In the outfield, with the Austin Kearns tenure about to end (I'm sorry Mr. Pluto, but if Austin Kearns is a long-term answer for the Tribe, than the entire management team should be fired today), it's time to bring up some of these kids. Let's see what Jose Costanza brings to the team. Bring up Michael Brantley. Granted, both lack power, but their speed could make things interesting.
Point being, it's time to see what we've got. Enough of the post-ACab/Sizemore charade of trying to compete. It's over folks, for this year.
But next year could be promising, but only if Mark Shapiro and his seemingly overrated bunch start doing the right thing. Perhaps the Branyan/LaPorta move is the first sign that good things may happen.