Indians to fire manager Eric Wedge

According to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians will fire manager Eric Wedge at the end of the season.

Eric WedgeWedge and his coaches will finish the final six games of the season, including today’s doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, the final home games of the season. The Indians play a four-game series in Boston this weekend.

Wedge is in his seventh year as manager. The Indians are 64-92 and in fourth place in the AL Central. They have lost 20 of their last 25 games.

Wedge ranks fifth among Tribe managers with 560 victories.

Although it wasn’t his fault that his players were made of chandelier glass and could never stay healthy, it’s kind of hard to argue the firing of Wedge.

The Tribe were set up to win long-term after they were one win away from making a World Series appearance in 2007, but the last two years the club fell apart under Wedge. It’s amazing to think that Cleveland has to rebuild again after spending 2002 to 2006 building what seemed to be a roster that could compete for the long haul.

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Tribe to lose $16 million this season according to owner Paul Dolan

In an interview with AP sports writer Tom Withers, Indians owner Paul Dolan revealed that the club will lose $16 million this season. Dolan also admitted that the recent trades of Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and popular catcher Victor Martinez were necessary long-term moves in order to move the franchise in a new direction.

“Every four or five years, if we can have a shot at the World Series and compete for the playoffs like we did in ’05, that’s as good as it gets,” Dolan said.

In a candid interview Thursday, Dolan projected that the Indians, currently in fourth place in the AL Central, will lose $16 million this season despite revenue-sharing from major league baseball. The Indians will need to borrow money over the next few years, Dolan said, but the club has no plans to ask the league for the loans.

“After we traded Cliff, we had made a commitment toward a new direction for the franchise,” he said. “At that point, you don’t go halfway. We needed to make moves that put us in the best position to compete as soon as possible. The sense was in our organization that Vic (Martinez) was at his highest value and what we got back in return put us in a better position than we would have been had we kept them.”

I’m sure Tribe fans will be excited to know that their favorite team is essentially trying to compete for the World Series and playoffs “every four or five years” when the Red Sox are competing for a World Series every year. Then again, not everybody can spend like the Red Sox and of course to a more extreme extent, the Yankees.

It’s easy to see what the Indians are trying to do in re-stocking their farm in hopes that they can compete down the road, but it must be a deflating feeling to be a Tribe fan right now, knowing that your team just gave up on immediate success. After all, this team was on the brink of a World Series appearance just two seasons ago (2007).

Phillies acquire ace Cliff Lee from Indians

Jayson Stark is reporting that the Phillies have officially acquired Indians’ ace Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco for four minor leaguers.

Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, Single-A righty Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson — the likely heir apparent to Victor Martinez — and shortstop Jason Donald will be sent to Cleveland.
The trade is pending physical exams.

The Phillies weren’t required to give up pitcher J.A. Happ or the three prospects they balked at trading for Roy Halladay — outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, and pitcher Kyle Drabek.

The Phillies get an ace (and a former Cy Young winner) and don’t have to give up prospects Kyle Drabek or Dominic Brown? Or J.A. Happ? Wow. Complete victory. That’s not to say that the Indians were losers in this deal because they are trying to acquire more young talent to restock their farm system. But it’s amazing that Philly was able to get the second best arm on the trade market without giving up their best prospect.

The Phillies are now set for another World Series run with a rotation that now features Lee, Happ, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer. The Dodgers still have the best record in baseball, but this move might put Philadelphia in the driver’s seat in the NL.

As for the Indians, fans have come to trust GM Mark Shaprio’s judgment when it comes to trades, but they must be a little disappointed that they didn’t get Drabek or another young arm (i.e. the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw). But the reality is that one good season doesn’t mean that a team can get a haul for a specific player. Lee was outstanding last year and is an excellent pitcher, but he isn’t Roy Halladay and therefore the Tribe still did well to get Carrasco and Knapp, even if they couldn’t land Drabek.

Dodgers, Indians in discussions about Lee and Martinez?

Ken Rosenthal of is reporting that the Indians and Dodgers are in serious discussions about a possible trade that would send Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez to the Dodgers for a package that would include either Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley.

Top club officials from both teams strongly denied a report saying that the teams were in serious discussions about a blockbuster that would send left-hander Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez to Los Angeles for first baseman James Loney, one of the Dodgers’ young rotation members and prospects.

Those names have at least surfaced in internal discussions on both sides, but a deal involving those specific players is not under consideration, the club officials said.

The Dodgers have had steady interest in Lee. They have not discussed Martinez with the Indians, one source said, but some club officials evidently view Martinez as another potential upgrade.
One thing is clear: The Dodgers are exploring ways to improve a team that has built a wide lead in the NL West and the best record in the National League.

Wow. L.A. would be giving up a ton of young talent, but one of the unwritten rules in baseball is that if you have a chance to win now, you take it. And the Dodgers definitely have a chance to win now.

Personally, I think losing Kershaw would be a bigger blow to the Dodgers than losing Billingsley, who has electric stuff but seems streaky. At the ripe age of 21, Kershaw has been outstanding this season and has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in L.A.’s organization, which is why it’s understandable that the Tribe would want him in return for a deal that included Lee.

But still, the Dodgers would be getting Lee, who I’ll stop shy of saying is a guarantee in terms of production. Martinez (who’s hitting .287 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI this season) would also be an excellent addition to the Dodgers’ already solid lineup. This is a deal that could essentially put L.A. over the top and considering Lee and Martinez’s salaries can be controlled next season, a move that could make the Dodgers World Series contenders not just for this year, but next year as well.

Even though this is just a rumor I’m a big believer in, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And there’s a ton of smoke coming out of L.A. and Cleveland at the moment.

Cardinals acquire Mark DeRosa from Indians

One of the more coveted veterans on the trade market has officially been snatched by the Cardinals, as the Red Birds acquired super utility man Mark DeRosa from the Indians in exchange for pitcher Chris Perez and a player to be named later.

The versatile DeRosa was a very sought-after player, especially by National League clubs. He can fit as a third baseman for the Cardinals. The Giants, Mets, Braves and Cubs were other teams believed to have had some interest. The Indians have been shopping him for a couple weeks.

DeRosa, who the Indians acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a trade last offseason, was hitting .270 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs.

Perez has a 4.18 ERA in 29 appearances with a 1-1 record and one save.

Both teams essentially get what they wanted with this trade. Cleveland coveted a young pitcher (Perez is only 24) in exchange for DeRosa (who becomes a free agent at the end of the year) and St. Louis wanted to add another bat to protect Albert Pujols in the lineup. They also needed help on the left side of the infield, which DeRosa can certainly offer.

Kind of rough market when Mark DeRosa is one of the more coveted players, although that’s not a dig at DeRosa, who can play almost every position and is a solid hitter. But one year ago CC Sabathia was the top name making its rounds on the rumor mill, while two years ago it was Mark Teixeira. DeRosa doesn’t really compare to those names now does he?

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