Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 7/2/13
“While We’re Waiting” serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. “The Cleveland Indians, for instance, are a heavily flawed team succeeding on the back of perhaps one of the best offseasons in the free agent market we’ve seen in recent memory. Not only have the Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Mark Reynolds signings looked anywhere from solid (Reynolds) to brilliant (Bourn), but the team also has gotten 60.2 innings of 4.30 ERA starting pitching from non-roster invitee and recent disaster Scott Kazmir, whose major league career was supposed to be more or less over. A 4.30 ERA is nothing to brag about for an ace, but that’s not what Kazmir has to be; he has to be the guy that gives Cleveland credible innings at the back of their rotation, because when the year began, the team didn’t look like it even had five real starting pitchers. While Justin Masterson and Zach McAllister started the year strong, June’s heroes in the rotation were actually Ubaldo Jimenez (3.09 ERA in 32 IP) and the improbable Corey Kluber (3.90 ERA in 32.1 IP). On the other side of the ball, second baseman Jason Kipnis turned into the best hitter in baseball for June, hitting .411/.509/.667 for the entire month. The only guys who walked more than Kipnis (19) were David Ortiz (20) and Adam Dunn (21), and those two guys were intentionally walked eight and three times, respectively, to Kipnis’s zero. No one doubled more than Kipnis did (12), though both Yadier Molina and Manny Machado matched his number.” [Bernhardt/Sports on Earth] —- An interview with John Oliver- “Sheffield should be twinned with Cleveland — cities of sadness. When England played Germany in the last World Cup, I said to my wife before the game, “If and when we lose this game, I’m not gonna be good. Nothing fun’s gonna happen.” So she watches the game with me, and the game is awful. It goes very badly for England. Then, in the most loving possible way, after the final whistle, she sat there in silence for a minute and said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Everything’s going to be okay.” I said, “I have to go for a walk.” I went to Central Park and I walked around the park four or five times, took hours just to try and get that feeling out of my system.” [Raab/Esquire] —- “For Cleveland, the problem is even more basic. Their Top-4 picks may not be able to play together. In the backcourt, Irving and Waiters need the ball in their hands and neither has the size to match-up with bigger shooting guards. In the frontcourt, Thompson and Bennett are natural power forwards. At 6’9 230, Thompson doesn’t have the size to be a center. Bennett’s game, meanwhile, is based around beating slower players off the dribble as a 4, not posting up smaller players as a 3. Down the road, neither team has an answer in the middle. Washington used their top-3 picks on a PG, a SG and a SF while Cleveland went with two guards and two combo forwards. In the modern NBA, unless you have an owner like Mikhail Prokhorov, you cannot have highly-paid players at all five positions on the floor. The Wizards and the Cavs both made their picks under the assumption that you don’t need a high-level C to win.” [Tjarks/Real GM] —- “In the days of the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff runs, this could have been called the “Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble” clause, but the idea still holds true. You can’t trade guys you no longer want, yet bring back players who make a substantial difference in a pennant race. Examples include Chris Perez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Hagadone. Perez still has some value on the trade market, but the two-time All-Star closer likely was shopped last winter with no takers meeting the Indians’ price. Young teams out of contention don’t need or want a closer who has a contract that expires at the end of 2014 (nor do they want to pay him the $8 to 8.5 million he could land in arbitration this winter). Certainly a team in contention might have some interest in Perez, but trades between contenders are even more difficult to swing. Chisenhall and Hagadone once were considered prospects, but really no longer meet the definition. Just because you haven’t established yourself as a full-time major leaguer, doesn’t necessarily mean you still are bursting with upside. Both still could emerge as valuable members of the Indians or another team, but each also has had several opportunities to shine in the big leagues and not taken advantage of them. If you are a team looking to trade off your best player, trading for players who have proven to not put it all together with several big league chances is not exactly what you want in return. Most teams looking to rebuild would rather receive younger players who aren’t MLB ready, don’t have their service time clock already running and have a higher potential at this point.” [Brandyberry/DTTWLN] —- Mark Reynolds lands on the list of the week’s wildest swings- “Now this is what this series is all about. The wildest swings don’t always look that wild, but this is the definition of flailing. Mark Reynolds didn’t just strike out — he struck out against a Twin, which is worthy of note. Perhaps equally remarkable is that Reynolds managed to keep both his hands on the bat while he swung all the way around, even though usually you’ll see one hand come off when the swing is sufficiently ill-advised. After striking out, Reynolds looks at his bat, wondering why it couldn’t hit the baseball. The answer, of course, is that the ball was too far away, and no bat could’ve hit that baseball. The pitch shouldn’t have been swung at. The only reason, then, for Reynolds to look at his bat is if the bat suggested to Reynolds that it was going to do the job. Which means the bat lied to Reynolds, which means Reynolds thinks the bat is capable of communication. Sometimes we describe these people as “quirky” or “idiosyncratic.” What we mean to say is ‘ill.’” [Sullivan/FanGraphs] —- “It’s very cool that the Cavs have interest in Pekovic. Heck, Pekovic might even have interest in the Cavs. But none of that matters because Pekovic is a restricted free agent. Whatever the Cavaliers offer him, the Timberwolves can match. Multiple reliable sources indicate that the Wolves intend to do just that. No backloaded contract or max offer will deter them. Pekovic was very very productive for them this past season and they would like to keep him. So they will. I hate to break it to Cavs fans that continuously tell me that we should sign Pek, but we aren’t getting him. This isn’t a matter of the Cavs just needing to offer more money or selling Pekovic on the prospects of playing for the Cavs. This is up to the Timberwolves and unless, for some completely unexpected reason, they choose not to match the offer, Pekovic will not be on the Cavs. Sorry bros. It ain’t happening.” [Kaczmarek/Fear the Sword]
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