Saturday, December 08, 2007

Teepee Talk: All I want for Christmas Is Miguel Cabrera, but he's "out of stock" at Tribe-Mart

As a diehard fan of the Cleveland Indians, the trade for third baseman Miguel Cabrera by the Detroit Tigers this week goes down like a gift basket from Hickory Farms: Bitter and hard to swallow.

What were the Cleveland Indians thinking letting Miguel Cabrera slip through their fingers and - WORSE - letting him go to their arch-rivals, the Detroit Motor City Kitties? Here are a few of the presents that Cabrera is capable of leaving under the proverbial Christmas tree for the Tribe, had they traded for him:

A batting average of .310!
34 home runs!
91 runs, and
119 runs batted in!!!

Oh yeah, the Indians certainly don't need a power bat like that - at THIRD BASE! Third base, he says! What are the choices we have now at that position? The Brawny Man and Andy Marte? Okay, yes, Eric Wedge: Casey Blake's a good guy - WE GET IT. But all of those semi-awkward baseball "man-crushes" aside, I would think Miguel Cabrera might make any Tribe fan's heart go all-a-flutter, don't you?

My own heart is certainly erratic right about now!

What? Is Tribe general manager, Mark Shapiro, deliberately trying to ruin my Christmas? I certainly wouldn't do the same to him!

Hey, a middle-market team like Cleveland will certainly never be able to afford a mega-superstar like Alex Rodriguez at third base, to be sure. But wouldn't a potential young All-Star like Miguel Cabrera be the next best thing? The Tigers sure think so!

And, hey now, the former #24 from the Florida Marlins - is only 24 years old! And those above-mentioned statistics (look at them!) - those are the kind of numbers that Cabrera has been averaging the last four years with the stinking Marlins - Argh! It's the cherry on the cake of my Seasonal Affective Disorder...

Reportedly, the Cleveland Indians "inquired" about Miguel Cabrera, initially, but supposedly bowed out after deciding that the Marlins wanted too much in return for him, in regards to their young prospects. It's "decisions" like these that make me want to impale myself on the jagged horns of my Cleveland State Viking bobblehead doll, no doubt.

The Detroit Tigers had to brandish six top prospects to the Marlins for Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis - and supposedly mortgaged the future to pay for the present. But is that too hefty a pricetag if the Tigers win a World Series next year - and beyond? Regardless, if nothing else, the Cleveland Indians have a surplus of young talent in their farm system ready to bump into each other in the outfield (and on the pitching mound). Not to mention pitcher Cliff Lee (a tip of the hat) who is reportedly on the Tribe trading block, as well, could have been thrown into that marvelous mix.

No, I'm not bashing Mark Shapiro because he still is (I believe) one of the best general managers in baseball - and Cleveland is damn lucky to have him. But as a long-suffering fan of the Indians, it's still frustrating, nonetheless. Cabrera could have been the final piece of the puzzle to help Cleveland get over the hump - and back to the World Series next year (where they haven't been, sadly, since 1997).

Well, that and signing our ace-pitcher, C.C. Sabathia, to a new four-year, $72 million dollar, contract extension (which is a possibility, according to my sources, and when I say "sources" ...I mean one of the many voices in my head). The Indians are pushing Sabathia hard to sign before the beginning of spring training - but. at this point, it's just "wait and see" for C.C. on whether or not he signs on the line which is dotted.

Either way, it's a basic baseball consensus that the Detroit Tigers (on paper) are a better team - if not now the best team in the American League. The Cleveland Indians are no slouch, either, for that matter - and, hey, that's why they still play the games, nonetheless.

But, with the scary mind-numbing possibility of pitcher Johan Santana going to either the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians may need all the help they can get for the upcoming 2008 season.

Sure, there is always a possibility that the Tribe may still trade for Pittsburgh left fielder Jason Bay in the near future - and that's not a half-bad, half-baked, move either if the Indians can ultimately pull it off in the end. Grady Sizemore and Jason Bay playing ball together in the Cleveland outfield is certainly nothing to sneeze at, for most baseball enthusiasts anyway.

Regardless, I was truly looking forward to Miguel Cabrera stuffed into my Tribe stocking for the holidays. Jason Bay might be okay, too, I guess - but, um, does he come with a gift receipt, as well?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Festivus New Year!


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