Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Hector Luna Trade

" Things are not as they seem. Nor are they otherwise."

~~~ Buddha as he entered Ceylon
In the Lankavatara Sutra

The Ronnie Belliard trade was not just a salary dump.

Those who read Vinny & the Hornless Rhino with any degree of regularity know that I've intimated... no, I guess I've stated pretty clearly that Dolan is a miserable cheapskate who's ruining the Indians. I still believe it, and little he can do during the remainder of this torturous season can make me think otherwise. But, trading Ronnie Belliard was not soley designed to save money. Belliard was in the final year of a $4,500, 000 contract. At the time of the trade, roughly $1,800,000 remained on it. Luna has a one year contract worth $345,000 with about $180,000 remaining to be paid. So, Dolan clearly gets to keep the extra $1,620,000 in his secret piggy bank. That's nice for him, and I suspect that, when the old guy found out, he used his preternaturally short arms to do cartwheels or some weird penniless rich guy variation of them.

Even with all of that, I think the Indians grabbed Luna because he's a pretty good defender at second and short, and make no mistake, the Indians need a shortstop. I think that was the real motivation. After all, by trading a free agent who will likely be signed next year, the Indians missed out on getting a few supplemental picks in the amateur draft. A team in disarray that needs to rebuild should covet a few extra draft picks. So why were the Indians so cavalier with passing on the supplemental picks? Was it really just money?

The Indians have a big problem at short. It's bigger than the 1.6 Million bucks Dolan can now spend on necco wafers or giving do-nothing jobs to his kids. I suspect Shapiro, while maintaining publicly that Jhonny's gonna be his shortstop next year, is frantically searching for a guy who won't cause Mark's guts to churn every time a groundball is hit to the left or right of wherever Jhonny happens to be standing. Luna solves that problem and could do it for pennies next year if the Indians resign him. I think they'll try. This is the courting ritual. Dolan will probably authorize Shapiro to offer him $500,000 and a chance to start if he'll stick around. If he signs, they'll make a grand announcement about signing a free agent and all that horse crap, and the local media will make believe that something just happened.

Maybe I like a good conspiracy theory too much, but the alternative is too terrible to behold. Does our franchise really hang by a 1.6 Million Dollar string?


Anonymous said...

This must be some kind of Cleveland Indians record - as of August 1, 2006 - the Indians had no one on the active roster with a major league save. Nobody. Nada. Zip.

peter said...

No question you're right--they need a shortstop. Luna's not the answer. The tragedy is Brandon Phillips would've been. Do you think Peralta's the future second baseman?

Vinny said...

I think Peralta can play least as well as Carlos Baerga ever did.

Actually, once he learns to turn the double play, he'll be much better than Carlos defensively.

Mike said...

Guillermo Mota has seven career saves. Think anyone will catch him this year??

Vinny said...

I'm not a great prognosticator, but one thing I can say with some certainty is that Mota's a gutless bum.