Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 3/8/12

Earlier this week, two of my favorite Tribe Scribes—Jordan Bastian of MLB.com and Paul Cousineau of the The Diatribe—weighed in on the left field situation in general, and one David Shelley Duncan in particular.  It seemed, to my chagrin, they were disagreeing on Dunkers’ value as an everyday player and his viability as the team’s regular left fielder for the 2012 season.

At the risk of boiling down their respective arguments beyond recognition, the twitterversation went something like this*:

Jordan: Shelley Duncan has now hit two HR with six RBI in three spring training games.  “Just give the guy the dang [left field] job.”

Paul: Duncan had a good September 2011 against mediocre, 40-man roster talent, and two good Spring Training games.  On the other side of the ledger is a five-year career with sub-standard production.  One of these carries more weight than the other…

Jordan: Weirder stuff has happened.  (Jose Bautista enters the discussion here–briefly, to Jordan’s credit.)  Small sample sizes don’t always mean something, but they don’t always mean NOTHING, right?  Sometimes players get better, and what better time for the team to find out if this could be a real development?

Paul: The history is pretty persuasive that this isn’t real. (Numbers, etc.)

Jordan: But he’s never had an opportunity to play every day!  That could change things…

Paul: If he’s the best option, the team was horribly under-prepared for this scenario [something I wrote about briefly on Monday].


*But really, just follow these guys on twitter.  What’s wrong with you?  Also, Jordan fleshed his thoughts out in a blog post you should read.

The only reason I bring any of this up is that these two managed to ruin my normal strategy of just combining their two points of view into one and calling it my own.  When they overtly disagree, my strategy goes kaput.

But the more I think about it, this mightn’t be the conversation that needs to be had.  Should the club have been more prepared for the inevitable Grady injury than it was?  Of course.* But they weren’t.  As Paul and Jordan both seemed to agree, this is where we are.

*I mentioned how exasperated I was by this apparent lack of preparation in my last post, and it was pointed out in the comments that the Indians were plenty prepared for a Grady-less season.  After all, they’ve added Ryan Spilborghs and Felix Pie and Aaron Cunningham and Russ Canzler and Fred Lewis.  They’ve invited Trevor Crowe and Thomas Neal and Ezequiel Carrera back to camp. That is a fair point.  The team was prepared.  And if you want any of those guys playing every day in left field for the 2012 Indians, you should go hit yourself in the nose with a ball-peen hammer.

So we are where we are, as they say.  But where is that, exactly?  Well, unless this team adds a legitimate player to the pile of left fielders—and not a scrap-heap type; we have those in spades—it’s looking increasingly likely that Shelley could be an everyday player for a decent stretch of the 2012 season.  That isn’t to say that Dunkers is the Platonic ideal of an everyday left fielder.  It isn’t to say that we should believe in his September statistics.  It certainly isn’t to say that he’s going to turn into Jose Bautista.

It probably does mean, on the other hand, that we don’t need to spend too much more time discussing all the reasons that he’s not the perfect man for the job.  After all, if we had one of those, we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place.  There’s an old geopolitical adage that might apply here—sometimes you must choose the least bad option from a menu of unpalatable choices.  Sure, we have four weeks left to make the choice, but I’ll be honest: it’s not the most heartening spring training message to digest.

But there’s another saying that’s coming to my mind, hopefully inspiring a bit more optimism.  Baseball, like politics, is the art of the possible.*  A perfect game? A triple play? A never-ending game?  Sure, why not.  Every day you might see something you’ve never seen before.

*Otto von Bismarck: Prussian first, baseball aficionado second.

And whether it was what we were hoping for or not, there is a possibility that Shelley Duncan will see more time in left field than any other Indian this season.  It’s possible that he could hold his own, if he can keep that slugging percentage north of .450.  It’s possible he might lead the Indians in more than just team spirit, and I think we could all root for that.

Because in the world of March Baseball, anything is possible.

Except a healthy Grady Sizemore, of course.  That’s entirely out of the question.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Butler not thrilled with Rose’s work ethic

Colts still expecting Andrew Luck to start on TNF

Quinn: White’s role in offense not quite a ‘point of emphasis’

Odell Beckham Jr.: Prima donna nickname 'doesn't bother me'

Curtis Granderson downplays Matt Harvey’s tardiness

LeBron on Cavs: I will lead this team, but I don’t have to carry it


Jim Tomsula: ‘I want a confident’ Colin Kaepernick

Bill Belichick: Brandon Weeden 'can make all the throws'

Chip Kelly: Eagles coaching staff to blame for slow start

Tom Brady: I don't care about Greg Hardy's personal feelings

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. fined for punching Bills safety

Tannehill admits to beefing with practice squad players

Report: Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher had fight over Fisher dating Barnes' ex

What was happening in the world when Manning and Woodson debuted?

Amidst NY AG’s investigation, DraftKings CEO blames 'bad reporting,' says he’s open to regulation

Carlos Correa after drinking first beer: ‘It tastes bad’

Beltran, Beltre and the greatest active players without a ring

Five critical questions that will decide NL Wild Card game

SnapFace? Belichick again botches social media platform

NFL through Week 4: What do we know?

NFL extends international series through 2025

No Fun League strikes again: Bailey fined for nap celebration

Five questions about the National League Wild Card game

Ex-Eagles Brian Dawkins gave Texas A&M pre-game speech

Warriors take next step in effort to build San Francisco arena

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What was happening in the world when Manning and Woodson debuted?

NFL through Week 4: What do we know?

NFL extends international series through 2025

5 players who can win the NHL MVP this season

Warriors take next step in effort to build San Francisco arena

Greg Hardy: Ready to come out ‘guns blazing’ post-suspension

Report: CC Sabathia already at Connecticut rehab facility

NHL hockey is back and that’s awesome

Jake Arrieta's sweet ... sinker?

10 matchups to watch during NFL Week 5

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker