Yesterday was a busy day at the baseball winter meetings. Unfortunately for the Tribe, ‘busy’ does not mean ‘good’.
The Tigers pulled off the trade of the year, getting 24 year old Miguel Cabrera and 25 year old Dontrelle Willis. Both players have won a World Series, and both have multiple all-star appearances. The Tigers parted with two of the top prospects in all of baseball, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, and four other minor leaguers.
The Indians in the meantime were rumored to be working on that Jason Bay deal. Well, reports from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick aren’t good-
You can rule out any talk of Pittsburgh trading Jason Bay to Cleveland for a Kelly Shoppach–Cliff Lee package. That one is dead. Bay is Pirates GM Neal Huntington‘s main trade chip, and the Bucs aren’t going to give him away after he’s coming off such a down year.
So the Tigers got significantly better, and the Indians did not. Now, in all fairness Dontrelle Willis has not been the same pitcher the last 2 years. He struggled all last year, posting a 10-15 record with a 5.17 era. Not exactly numbers that would scare the Tribe line-up, but you have to figure his play will improve. Playing for a going-nowhere Florida team couldn’t have been that exciting for Dontrelle. He has been rumored to be on his way out for a couple of years, and you wonder if that didn’t effect his mindset as well. If I were Leyland, I’d make him the 4th starter to take some pressure off and ease him in to the American League.
What does this mean to the Indians? What are the chances of repeating now? Well first off, success one season does not guarantee success the next. There are no ‘sure things’ on either of these teams. We would like to think that C.C. and Fausto will have great years again, and that Victor, Grady, and Travis will put up the offensive numbers we have come to expect from them. But with injuries and the nature of baseball we have no promises. The Tigers line-up good suffer a set back too. Magglio Ordonez had a career season and will probably not duplicate those numbers. Maybe Cabrera will struggle with the change in leagues. Who knows? What we know is the Tigers have a very talented team, and it will be tough for the Indians to repeat the success they had last season. That is why you have to win it when you get to the playoffs. You never know about next year.