Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Indians' problem -- according to Wedge
Back in Spring Training, when Josh Barfield and Tony Graffanino were battling for the final position player spot on the roster, I joked with friends that Graffanino would get it.

Why?

Graffanino is just like Wedge. A veteran player of marginal skills who is a "grinder." He's also well past his prime, just like Trot Nixon and David Dellucci before him.

Despite his reputation as being able to manage young guys, Wedge tends to favor veterans for the final spots on the roster. Mike Rouse, the Double A specialist who somehow stayed on the roster for 2/3 of the 2007 season, is the exception.

But to my surpise, Barfield made the club. Graffanino would have started in AAA (or he would have been released), but Jamey Carroll (another "grinder") went on the DL.

So Graffanino made the big league club. He was the 25th man, but Wedge didn't treat him like it. When Mark DeRosa needed (or, was given) a day off, Graffanino got the start at third base.

Though the Tribe has started horribly (1-7), Barfield never saw the field until last night, when he pinch ran in the eighth inning and was caught stealing.

Apparently that was all Wedge needed to see. He sent Barfield to Columbus, keeping Graffanino on the roster, despite Barfield making the team before the veteran.

The Indians will carry 13 pitchers. Apparently they were all too valuable to send to AAA.

Wedge has really done a number on Barfield since he arrived as a hot young player from San Diego. He stopped playing him in the middle of 2007, sent him down in 2008, then asked him to become a utility man this spring. Barfield did everything the team asked, and made the team.

But a week later, without ever grabbing a bat or a glove, he was sent down again.

Wedge's explanation that Barfield didn't play because of the way the team started is ridiculous. The team was playing so bad you couldn't risk putting someone new in?

Barfield will never make it in Cleveland. But guys like Graffanino always will as long as Wedge is manager.

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1 Comments:

At 11:50 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

Even though Shapiro and Wedge are bff...at what point might a move be made? Will we have to be 5-17 through April? 8-14? 5 games back? 10?

Also, the pitching has been atrocious...especially the bullpen. Any thoughts as to whether the firing of Luis Isaac might be partially to blame?...at least with some of the veteran guys?

I don't know.

At what point is "It's still early" no longer valid?

 

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