Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Westbrook Watch

All eyes will be on Jake Westbrook today as he takes the mound for the Cleveland Indians against the Toronto Blue Jays. Not many people will actually be paying much attention to whether he wins and loses, instead wondering whether or not if the Tribe will continue their perennial sell-at-all-costs spiral into the oblivion started after the 2007 crash-and-burn against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.

With Jhonny Peralta (Detroit) and Austin Kearns (New York Yankees) heading to much greener pastures in recent days, look for Westbrook to get plenty of hits today from several teams looking for pitching.

Topping the list of potential suitors for the veteran righty are the recurrent trading partners for the Indians, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are looking for a starter that can eat up innings, and Westbrook may just be the guy. He's already thrown 127 2/3 innings this year, which is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cardinals.

The only potential road block in a deal with the N.L. Central leaders is Westbrook's salary. He's schedule to make four million over the final two months of the season, and the Indians would likely to have to take on much of that salary. Top that off with a two million dollar bonus that Westbrook would receive if a trade is made, and you may have a deal-breaker.

The Indians faithful shouldn't expect much for Westbrook in the deal, although as the deadline looms closer, you really never know what the Indians may get. Also take into account that Westbrook is pitching today. Should he put together a solid performance, it could teeter a team on the brink of a move before today's 4:00 deadline.

Other clubs that may have interest in Westbrook's services are the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Yankees seem to be doing what they always do during the deadline, and trade for everything whether they need it or not, I can't imagine that Westbrook is heading their way, or he likely would have been part of the Kearns deal. The Dodgers, who tend to overpay for players, likely aren't going to make any big deals with the ownership in the midst of an "As the World Turns" divorce.

In Westbrook's nine years with the Tribe, he's gone 69-69, with a 4.29 ERA.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Indians will get their 2011 preview, whether they like it or not

I was thinking back, this fine Fourth of July morning, to the beginning of the Major League season. Things weren't exactly bright for the Cleveland Indians, but there certainly were bright spots, and you know what they say, hope springs eternal.

The Indians top three offensive players, and likely, their top three defensive players, were Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo. These three, along with a cavalcade of prospects acquired through the years via trade (you know, kinda like Sizemore, Cabrera and Choo), were going to gel together in preparation for a run perhaps as early as 2011. Some even thought, that if everything went perfectly, this team could surprise some this year.

Today, Shin-Soo Choo was placed on the 15-day DL with a right thumb injury. He'll likely be out for six to eight weeks. For those counting at home, that means that Asdrubal Cabrera (out, but coming back soon), Grady Sizemore (out for the season) and Choo (possibly out until September) will miss considerable time.

Those prospects that were supposed to supplement the stars will now be responsible to carry this team over the next several weeks. The good news is that not much will be expected from this group, since the Indians are already in last place. The bad news? There won't be much guidance on the field from the veterans, unless you are hoping that Jhonny Peralta is going to become the mentor.

Consider this. In center field, you have Trevor Crowe, a soon-to-be fourth outfielder, who until this year, has only had a cup of coffee in the bigs. In right field, you'll likely find Michael Brantley, who was called up today to take the place of Choo. If not Brantley, you'll find Shelley Duncan there. I'm not sure Duncan is good enough to be dealt, but he's not exactly what many would consider veteran leadership. In right, you have Austin Kearns. Kearns has always been a positive presence in the clubhouse. The problem is that he'll be gone soon, via trade. Peralta is at third, but you have to believe that someone looking for an infielder, like Philly, might make a call. Jayson Nix is at second base, and I'm not even sure I spelled his name right. Rookie Jason Donald is at short, Matt LaPorta is at first, and Carlos Santana is behind the plate.

That's a whole lot of youth, surrounded by a whole lot of trade-able assets, and I use the term assets loosely. Does that make Travis Hafner the offensive and veteran leader of the Tribe? It absolutely does. Take that for what it's worth.

While this is a crazy scenario for the Indians and Manny Acta, in this case, it happens to be the right scenario. These prospects that the Indians dealt their talent for needed to get their chance to prove they can play. The Tribe brass, now with their hand a bit forced, are going to do just that.

What kind of team will we have in 2011? I'm not sure, but we are about to get a head's up during the second half of 2010.

From IPI: The Sunday Drive with Some Offensive Fireworks on this 4th of July

I do some writing at the best Minor League site on the planet, Tony Lastoria's Indians Prospect Insider, where I currently write about the Kinston Indians. While I won't publish all of my stuff from IPI here, I will on occasion. Here the latest:

While watching the fireworks blast over Lake Benson here in Carolina last night, I couldn't help but think of the state of the Kinston Indians and their past week. Kinston rolled out a 4-2 record this week as their roster continued to transition into the second half.

Kinston's offense has struggled to put runs on the board for most of the season, and with most of their offensive weapons moving up the system, things weren't looking all that good for the second half. Then something funny happened. This week, Kinston found some power, and with continued brilliance from the pitching, there might be a playoff run from the K-Tribe yet. How brilliant is the pitching? While I think there's been a transfer of power to the bullpen, the overall staff's ERA is a mind-boggling 2.88, with a 1.26 WHIP. Yeah, not to shabby...

With fireworks and cookouts about to get started, let's get driving...

Where We Stand in Week 13, with a clean slate:

Overall Record: 41-38 (4-2 this past week)
Second Half Record 5-4 (1/2 game back)

Week 13 Games:

27 vs. Potomac, W 6-4 (WP: T. Turek; LP: J. Estrada; SV: C. Burns)
28 vs. Potomac, W 6-5 (WP: T. McFarland; LP: M. Frias; SV: C. Burns)
29 vs. Potomac, Postponed: Rain
30 @ Myrtle Beach, L 1-2 (WP: A. Paulino; LP: J. Mahalic; SV: L. Avilan)

July (all times local unless noted)

1 @ Myrtle Beach, W 6-4 (WP: B. Grening; LP: R. Delgado; SV: C. Burns)
2 @ Myrtle Beach, L 2-4 (WP: J. Hoover; LP: J. Gardner; SV: B. Oberholtzer)
3 vs. Frederick, W 3-1 (WP: C. Jones; LP: J. Mariotti; SV: C. Burns)

This Week's Transactions:

07/03/2010 3B Jeremie Tice assigned to Kinston Indians from Lake County Captains.
07/03/2010 1B Chris Kersten assigned to Lake County Captains from Kinston Indians.
07/03/2010 C Chun-Hsiu Chen assigned to Kinston Indians from Lake County Captains.
07/03/2010 OF Tim Palincsar assigned to Lake County Captains from Kinston Indians.
06/30/2010 RHP Marty Popham assigned to Kinston Indians from Akron Aeros.
06/29/2010 RHP Marty Popham assigned to Akron Aeros from Kinston Indians.
06/28/2010 RHP Rob Bryson placed on the 7-Day disabled list. Right Shoulder Strain
06/27/2010 SS Juan Diaz traded to Kinston Indians from Seattle Mariners.

Week 13 Offense:

Kinston finally started showing off some power this week, hitting seven home runs, and scoring 23 runs in six games. They did strike out a bit more, which comes with the territory, but if this team continues to score more runs with this pitching staff, the playoffs are a real possibility. It will be interesting to see this offense continue to develop, with the additions of Bo Greenwell and Juan Diaz. A lot rests on Abner Abreu, who took a step back this week, but to keep kicking this dead horse, if he continues to progress, Kinston could have solid power.

Lucas Montero continues to impress and prove his value to Kinston. He went 10 for 22, with five runs, a homer, two RBI, four walks, five K's, and two stolen bases. Montero has found a home in center, but has more value than many, because he can play all three outfield positions. His .455 average this week will help his cause in moving up. He is at an advanced age at 25, but could move through the system quickly because of his versatility and speed. It is interesting to see his play improve now that he has a steady job in center.

Bo Greenwell has continued to play well since his call-up last week. In his first full week at Kinston, the left-fielder went 8 for 23, with a team-leading six RBI, two doubles, two RBI, two walks, four K's and two stolen bases. It's clear that the 22-year-old is beginning to figure out how to play at the highest levels. He started the year off like a house of fire in Lake County before leveling off. It will be interesting to see if he continues his tear through Carolina league, or if he drops off.

Kyle Bellows had a nice week, going 7 for 21, with four runs, two homers, four RBI, three walks, two K's and two stolen bases. Bellows had a five game hitting streak that was broken last night. He continues to show improvement at the plate, and has all the tools that can the Indians are looking for. There still is a belief in the system that the 6'3", 210 pounder can develop plus power, while hitting for average. He has a cannon for an arm, and continues to improve his plate discipline. Bellows isn't consistent yet, but he's at the right stage of his career to begin figuring it all out.

Abner Abreu did hit another homer this week, but also went 5 for 21 for a .238 average. His inconsistency this year has been mind-numbing. Juan Diaz, the shortstop acquired in the Russell Branyan didn't have a hit in 15 at bats. This kid does have tools, and I'm not surprised he struggled out of the gate. Everyone can't be Carlos Santana. There are scouts that see a ton of upside in this kid, so it will be interesting to see what happens to him as the season develops. It's unfortunate for Ron Rivas, who seemed to finally be picking up his offense enough to overlook his defense. Diaz did play a nice shortstop, not making an error.

Week 13 Bullpen:

The bullpen slowly but surely has become the strength of the pitching staff. Maybe not so slowly. They went 3-0 this week, with four saves and two holds. In 25 2/3 innings, the bullpen only gave up 17 hits and six earned runs. They walked 13 batters, and struck out 38. Yeah, it was that good. It's funny how a rock solid closer can line up the rest of the staff. Rob Bryson was out this week with a strained shoulder, which should tell you just how good this pen is, since Bryson is one of the better relievers on the K-Tribe roster.

Chris Jones may just be the best reliever in the Carolina League. In two games, Jones went 1-0, giving up a hit and a walk, while striking out eight batters. Overall, Jones is 2-1, with a 0.81 ERA in 15 appearances.

Brian Grening made a resurgence this week in a relief appearance of a struggling T.J. House. He went four strong innings, giving up only one hit, while striking out four in getting the win. Grening has struggled over the past month, so it's good to see the righty get back on track. Now, if we can just see some consistency.

Travis Turek continued his transformation into one of the better relief pitchers on this team. In two appearances, Turek went 1-0 with a hold. In five innings, he gave up four hits, an earned run, walked five, and struck out three. The run that Turek gave up last Sunday was his first since June first, and hes seen his overall ERA drop to below 3, at 2.96. If he continues at this right, he just might find himself in Akron.

Matt Langwell has become the invisible man. He just comes out and does his job. In two appearances, he went four innings, gave up three hits and and earned run, while walking three and striking out five. Langwell has a 1.75 ERA for the season, and has been the stabilizing force in this bullpen all year long. Let's hope it pays off with a promotion at some point.

I do want to mention Dave Roberts. Yes, he did ride his weekly roller coaster, with both good and bad appearances. His good appearance was just very, very good. He went three innings on Saturday night, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out a season high seven batters. Perhaps Roberts can use this appearance to right the ship a bit.

No, I haven't forgotten about Cory Burns. Alls he did is make four appearances during the week, and saved all four games. He went 4 1/3, giving up three hits, an earned run, a walk, while striking out nine batters. Burns is leading the Carolina League with 15 saves. He has 27 saves combined while at Lake County.

Imagine how good this pen becomes when Bryson returns. Of course, it's likely that someone will get bumped up...or down.

Week 13 Starters:

The K-Tribe starters continued their walk through the Carolina League park. Overall, the starting staff had a 3.08 ERA in 26 innings pitched. They gave up 30 hits and nine earned runs. They walked 16 batters and struck out 21. They did go 1-2, but they continued with a pristine 3.08 ERA.

T.J. McFarland went 1-0 this week. He went six innings, giving up three hits, two earned runs and three walks, while striking out one. Overall, that brings McFarland to 8-2 (leading the league with eight wins) with a 1.94 ERA (also leading the league). In 78 2/3 innings pitched, he's struck out only 52, while only walking an impressive 18. This is exactly what the Indians needed to see in McFarland, who has proven to be one of the best pitchers here at Kinston.

Austin Adams pitched two games, and will be utilized with a hand-cuff throughout the season (perhaps Marty Popham, who was briefly called up to Akron and made a fantastic start, before getting called back down). In his two appearances, Adams went 7 2/3, giving up six hits and two earned runs, while walking three and striking out 11. Adams was selected in the fifth round last year, and is certainly on Mark Shapiro's radar. He was converted to a pitcher during his final year in college, and is still learning the trade, which is why Cleveland is bringing him along slowly. He has big league heat, averaging out in the mid-90's, and can touch the upper 90's. I firmly believe that the Indians have this power arm earmarked for the bullpen. The ONLY reason why they are starting him is to build up consistency and arm strength. It will be interesting to watch him develop.

Joey Mahalic with 5 2/3, giving up eight hits with two earned runs, while walking four and striking out two in his loss. Joe Gardner went six innings, giving up seven hits, three earned runs and three walks, while striking out six batters in his loss. TJ House only went an inning, giving up two hits, three runs, an earned run, while walking three and striking out one. He only lasted an inning, which seems to be because of his struggles, and not because of an injury. If I hear anything more, I'll make sure to get it out to you.

Week 13 Awards:

Offensive player of the week: Lucas Montero
Relief pitcher of the week: Cory Burns
Staring pitcher of the week: T.J. McFarland

Player of the week: Lucas Montero

Here comes week 14:

4 vs. Frederick, 6:00 PM
5 vs. Frederick, 7:00 PM
7 vs. Salem, 7:00 PM
8 vs. Salem, 7:00 PM
9 vs. Salem, 7:00 PM
10 @ Frederick, 6:00 PM

A Quick Note: Manny Acta reported last week that Jason Knapp is on the mend, and soon to return. As soon as I can get any information on when Knapp will be back, where he'll be, and what he'll be doing, I'll get that up and posted. Also, congrats to Michael Brantley, for getting his much deserved cal-up.

The Rearviewmirror: Sorry to move away from baseball for a moment, but am I the only one glad that all this egotistical garbage with LeBron James is over? It's kind of funny, when you think about it. These guys get together four years ago, and plan to all sign three-year deals. Now, here we are, and we don't think they haven't planned this all out? While I can't prognosticate how this is all going to end, there really is a big part of me that thinks they have pre-destined to converge in Miami. Why? Was it predetermined all those years ago? No, but I don't doubt that they didn't come up with a pact that said they'd all play together at whoever wins a title. What are they doing now? Perhaps they are trying to find a way that they can all play in Chicago at peak money, or perhaps they are all going to end up at home. Either way, I'm glad the idiotic tours are done. I mean, listening to the programs these teams put up. The Knicks with the Sopranos, and the Cavs with some dumb video. It's all ridiculous, the hoops these teams are jumping through. Perhaps the Clippers had it right. Show up, let them know how much you want them, and leave. This isn't my NBA, that's for sure. Will LeBron stay? You know, after all the years I've put into this team, I don't think I care. I remember listening to Tate and the Cavs during the Miracle at Richfield, with my Dad when I was a wee little one. I remember the shot, but more importantly, all those good Cavs teams in the late 80's. Can the Cavs win without James, you bet they can. A friend of mine asked me the other day, what I would do, as a NE Ohio native, if I were as gifted as LeBron, playing for the Cavs. I said to him, "Well, I'm from Ohio, grew up watching the Indians, the Cavs, the Browns and the Buckeyes. The Cavs have offered me more money than anyone else can. We've been the the precipice of a title before. My owner has deep pockets, and a willingness to spend. In other words, every scenario that no other Cleveland team or player HAS EVER HAD, and I can stay in my own hometown. I told my friend it was a no-brainer, not only would I have said yes on July 1, but I would have been saying yes all year long. 'Bron is a card-carrying member of the bandwagon club. He's a Yankees fan, because he grew up watching them win titles. He's a Dallas Cowboy's fan, because he grew up watching them win titles. He's a Chicago Bulls fan, because he grew up watching the Bulls win titles. Now I want LeBron to stay, and I hope he does, but this fairweather characteristic really makes me wonder. How many friends, who grew up right here in the area, are card carrying Bulls, Cowboys and Yankees fans? I'm not saying LeBron doesn't love the area, love his hometown, and love the Cavs...but at his core is a kid who follows the winners. Who can make him a winner the earliest? I don't know, but I can't wait until the DECISION is in the rearviewmirror.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Justin Masterson Chronicles

Should Justin Masterson start or close?

This has likely been one of the top three questions asked by most Cleveland Indians fast this year, and it's not one that's easily answered. Looking at Masterson's game log is reminiscent of riding any Ceder Point roller coaster, just not as fun.

Masterson came out of the gates at least resembling a decent starter. In his first three starts, Masterson went 0-2, but only gave up five earned runs in 15 innings pitched. Over the next seven starts,including the complete month of May, Masterson would give up 30 runs in 38 2/3 innings. His ERA would balloon to over 6 at one point, and most assumed it was time to move him to the pen, or even to Columbus. AT 0-5 with a 5.87 ERA, something had to be done.

Then Masterson took another turn. He would go 2-0 in his next two starts, including a complete game, two-hit shutout. In 14 2/3 innings, he gave up seven hits and one run, while striking out seven. His ERA would drop a complete run, and Masterson seemed to turn a corner. Why? He did this against the White Sox and the Red Sox.

Masterson would sandwich two bad starts around a decent one over his next three appearances. In the two bad appearances, he would go 0-2 in 12 innings, while giving up 12 runs and 16 hits. In the good appearance, he gave up two runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out seven in a no decision.

Finally, on July 1st, Masterson went 8 1/3 innings, giving up only one run on eight hits. He struck out five without giving up a walk in getting his third win of the year.

Masterson is still terrible at getting lefties out. They are hitting .314 against Masterson this year, and until he figures out how to consistently pitch to left-handed hitters, he won't be a top-tier starter.

So the question remains, is it worth the ride while we wait for Masterson to figure things out?

Maybe the better question is who is going to take his place? Jeanmar Gomez is 6-7 with a 5.46 ERA. A closer look shows that Gomez is 3-0 over his last four starts, with a stellar 1.03 ERA. Still, do you want to bring up a guy who's finally figured things out after struggling all season? Yohan Pino is 7-4 with a 5.38 ERA. As hot as Gomez has been, is as cold as Pino is. He has a 6.50 ERA over his last ten games. Carlos Carrasco is 7-3 with a 4.22 ERA. Carrasco also has struggled a bit recently, but the Indians may be antsy in getting a look at the young righty. The most intriguing of the Columbus starters is Josh Tomlin, who is 7-2 with a 2.66 ERA He's been solid over his last four starts, and really all season long. Unfortunately for the Indians, and for Tomlin, is the fact that Tomlin was recently charged with assault. I'm not an expert, but I'm guessing that Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti aren't looking for that kind of press.

So there are your choices. Sure, Masterson may ultimately end up in the bullpen, especially with Alex White, Kelvin De La Cruz and Nick Hagadone on the horizon. But right now, there just aren't any better options. Top that off with the potential trades of Jake Westbrook and even Fausto Carmona, and you have too many holes with not enough Indians on the reservation to fill them.

So it appears as though we'll be riding the roller coaster known as Masterson at least until the end of the season, if not longer. And you know what? He just might turn into the next great ride in Northeastern Ohio.

Something tells me the Masterson chronicles are just getting started.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cleveland's Kerry Wood's top seven trade destinations

Kerry Wood has his bags packed, and he's ready to travel?

Do you need any more proof than his last three appearances in back-to-back-to-back games? In those games, Wood has given up a hit (a single), no runs or walks, while striking out six altogether (he struck out the side against Cincinnati on Sunday night). He's thrown 45 total pitches, 30 of them strikes. He saved all three games.

You can say what you want about Wood. Either he really does have his bags packed, or he's finally healthy after spending the first five weeks of the season on the DL with a strained shoulder. Either way, teams needing bullpen help likely took notice, as Wood became a commodity once again.

Where might Wood be headed? Here are the top seven teams that just might come knockin'.

#7--Boston Red Sox--A lot of folks will have the Red Sox higher on the list of potential trade candidates for Wood, but I'm not one of them in a straight up deal. The Red Sox have been flat out burned over the years when dealing for relievers. In 2007, they traded a boatload of moderate prospects to the Texas Rangers for Eric Gagne. Gagne promptly exploded (a near 7 ERA). The Sox did acquire Billy Wagner in a waiver deal last year, and did acquire two picks when he signed with the Braves, but I don't see Boston swinging a deal for Wood unless it's a similar-type deal. Unfortunately, Wood has a club option (it will never vest into a player option, he has to finish 55 games), so they wouldn't receive picks should they not exercise the option. Still, should Boston's pen continue to be just adequate, Wood could be on their radar should he continue his recent performance.

#6--Detroit Tigers--The Tigers pen is one of the best in baseball, with a 3.36 ERA. So why do they need a reliever? Joel Zumaya's gruesome injury on Friday is why. Zumaya was the primary set-up man for the Tigers, and has been exceptional this season. While there are pitchers to take his slot, Wood could plug into the set-up role, leaving one of the best pens intact. With the recent injury, Detroit could be more willing to deal than other teams.

#5--Philadelphia Phillies--The Phillies pen hasn't been bad this season, but they haven't been all that good either. They rank 15th in the league in ERA at 3.93, but you can tell that Charlie Manuel has no faith in his relief corp. Brad Lidge has become a bit of a basket case over the past couple of years as the closer. Ryan Madson is currently on the 60-day DL, but has made two minor league rehab appearances, and looked good in doing it. It's believed that Madson will make two more appearances, one in AA, and one in AAA, before returning to the Phillies. I'm not sure what his role will be, but it should help. Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo are also injured. Will they return to health? With all the unknowns, the Phillies might be willing to swing a deal for Wood, who would more than support the Phillies pen, and could close as well, should Lidge become, well, Lidge.

#4--Cincinnati Reds--The Reds bullpen is currently 23rd in the league in ERA, and there are some holes. Closer Francisco Cordero has 21 saves, but his 4.14 ERA has left people questioning whether or not he should be at the back-end of the pen. Old Tribe-hand Arthur Rhodes is the set-up man, and may be the best reliever in baseball. The Reds may not want to move him out of the set-up role, or may want to make him the closer. In either case, Wood could fill in the other slot. Of course, what are the chances that the Reds are going to move out Cordero from the closer's role? More likely would be the Reds using Wood as the righty set-up man to Rhodes lefty. Thing Dos Rafael, without the Rafael. The rest of the pen has been up and down, but you aren't going to deal for Wood to be another guy in the pen. Not the best fit, although a healthy Wood puts you over the top.

#3--New York Yankees--Well, the Boston Red Sox are on this list, so you knew that the Yankees would be on here somewhere. Cliff Lee is the big fish in the trading pool, and the Yankees are, of course, in the mix. With the press focusing their attention on the starters, the Yankees are likely more focused on the relievers. Rivera is still a rock, with 17 saves in 18 chances, and a sub 1.00 ERA. Still, starting with primarly set-up man, Joba Chamberlain, the rest of the pen has been nothing but inconsistent. Chamberlain really has had only four bad outings, but there are still question-marks, in particular late in the season. David Robertson and Damaso Marte have been up and down leading up to Chamberlain. Sergio Mitre was the most consistent of the bunch, but is now on the DL. Wood could solidify the pen, and it would be interesting seeing him pitch in New York.

#2--Chicago Cubs--Obviously, Kerry Wood back to the Cubs would be an interesting story. I'm not sure how positive it would be, but all my Chicago fans insist that Wood was a leader there, and that they'd take him back in a heartbeat...especially considering the past week's developments with regards to Carlos Zambrano. Stability and a bit of good press would do nothing but help, not to mention Wood's current state of pitching. Zambrano was moved to the pen, then put on the restricted list (at least until after the All Star break), and John Grabow reinjured his left knee on Monday, after missing most of June with the same injury. He's going to be out at least three weeks. According to manager Lou Pinella,
"We've been short [in the bullpen] and really short when Grabow got hurt again."
Former Tribehand Jeff Stevens and another minor leaguer are filling in, but Wood would fill a definite need.

#1--Anaheim Angels--The Angels pen is 27th in the league with a 4.84 ERA (which is still better than the Indians, mind you), and in dire need of bullpen help. There's only one reliever with an ERA under 3.00, and three with an ERA under 4.00. One of those, Fernando Rodney, has given up four earned runs in his last seven innings of work. Another, Jason Bulger, is currently on the DL with a strained right shoulder. The final, Sean O'Sullivan, has made all of three appearances this year. Their closer, Brian Fuentes, has made 14 of 17 saves this year, and has a near 5.00 ERA. I could keep going, but it keeps getting worse. Wood, pitching the way he currently is, could immediately improve the Angels chances at the playoffs, as either the closer, or the primary set-up man, and the Angels have prospects to deal. This is far and away the worst bullpen of any contender, and a deal could be imminent.

What would the Indians get in return for the likes of Wood? If he continues to pitch well, he certainly could put names on the table that could turn into major league players. They would likely either be prospects from the low minors with a high upside, or former top prospects who need a change of scenery. Let's hope Wood can continue to show the rest of the league why the Indians paid him 30+ million, for three years.