News of the recent Indians trade sent a few shock waves through the league as the Indians sent Felix Higashioka to Seattle for Cy Bruske and Toby Chapman.
The Indians management was high on Felix at the beginning the season as he was slotted to hopefully take over the SS position as early as next season. Season development hadn't occurred like management had hoped. Management wasn't really concerned with the development issue however.
Needing pen help in the worst way, Indians scouting spent countless hours pouring over every team looking for a suitable option. That option turned out to be Cy Bruske. The initial offer to Seattle was summarily rejected but the resilience of GM dakar countered with an offer the Indians just couldn't refuse. Realizing that Bruske was an arbitration player seeking lots of money and out of contention this season for a playoff spot, made him easily expendable. Getting Felix would easily shore up several defensive positions in the future with his GG capabilities.
Getting the services of Bruske whom management thinks will provide a solid go to guy in the pen for middle relief and take the burden off several that can now be used in later innings. Getting Chapman sealed the deal for the Indians, though not as good as Felix, provided a quality player for the future in return. We don't see Toby as a SS however, but as a 3B. Although we are deep at that position, another doesn't hurt. His development could surprise us but he is at least another year away from the majors.
Offense has had its woes in the early part of the season. With the two left-handed divas, Giovanni Jackson and Matt Pierce, going at each other provided some unwanted melodrama. It has calmed down a bit as each were over swinging trying to out do the other. Matt has increased his BA almost 100 points and Gio nearly 60 points as coaches try to keep the brewhaha calmed down. Black Bart got caught in the middle of the confrontation and even gave up as a go between. Trace Wallace and Eswalin James stepped up their game to hide the problems from the press and other teams till it got sorted out. Sean Smalley was on cloud 9 when he was voted in as the starting SS for the summer classic.
Defense has been outstanding as promised leading the NL with the fewest errors and the fewest in unearned runs. They are also the best in the league with 79 plus plays while only making 2 minus plays.
Pitching is not exactly great, but combined with the defense makes it tough to score against the Indians. With the addition of Bruske, it may even get harder. Boasting a .231 OAV ties them with Pittifulburgh (no use to give them any respect for a hated rival) as one of the best pitching staffs in the NL.
One of the big problems early in the season was 1-run games as the Indians started out 0-9 in this very important category. Frustrating as it was, things started coming together albeit slowly and has since went 12-3. Extra inning games still haunt us but we are not all that worried about that one. Do the Indians have what it takes to win the division this season? Stay tuned to find out.