Thursday, September 04, 2008
Some stuff from ESPN's Jayson Stark
• Can you CC clearly now? Now that the Indians, incredibly, have reeled off nearly the same record since the CC Sabathia trade (30-20) as the Brewers (30-19), the most-asked question in baseball is: Where would the Indians be if they'd kept Sabathia instead of trading him? So we posed that very question to their vice president for baseball operations, Chris Antonetti. And one of the first things he did was to head for the ESPN.com standings page. He then dialed up the date of that trade (July 7) and reported that our own site (via the geniuses at coolstandings.com) was projecting back then that the chances of the Indians making the playoffs was 0.7 percent. Apparently, they didn't think that was too good. "I think it's human nature to go back and retroactively look at different decisions," Antonetti said. "But in life, you're left to make those decisions with the information you have at hand at the time. And the information we had at hand at the time was that our record wasn't good (37-51), and we had a number of key guys on the disabled list, and we just weren't getting enough performance from the vast majority of our players. So when we evaluated our chances of making the playoffs at the time, we just didn't think that was a very realistic possibility." And it's tough to disagree. Even if Sabathia had gone 9-0 in Cleveland over these last eight weeks, remember, that doesn't mean the Indians would have picked up nine games in the standings. In fact, Anthony Reyes -- a pitcher they then turned around and traded for before the trading deadline -- has a 2.01 ERA as an Indian. We can't even be sure CC would have beaten that.
• Ask for a Reyes: Speaking of Reyes, we're not sure how the Mets missed trading for him, since they now lead the league in Reyeses (Jose, Al and Argenis). But you might be shocked to learn that the Reyes they didn't trade for -- Anthony -- has been the third-best deadline acquisition among all starting pitchers dealt before the deadline. In fact, Reyes' 2.01 ERA in August was the eighth-best in baseball, behind a group of guys it's possible you've heard of: Sabathia (1.12), Francisco Liriano (1.23), Tim Lincecum (1.27), Brett Myers (1.65), Rich Harden (1.82), Cliff Lee (1.86) and Johan Santana (1.91). Back in St. Louis, Reyes didn't mesh with Cardinals pitching guru Dave Duncan's two-seam sinker philosophy. But now that Reyes is back to riding his four-seam fastball up in the strike zone in Cleveland, he looks more like the prospect he was once purported to be as a Cardinal. "He's your classic four-seam pitcher," said one scout. "He could command it a little better, probably. But he's rounded into shape. He's got that power-pitcher mentality. He has a good changeup. And I think he'll get his breaking ball going eventually. I don't know whether other people think they missed the boat on him. But I feel like we did."