Fine. Be selfish. Hope you never get a ring.
So the above was my initial response to the trade the Indians tried to execute to bring in a catching upgrade in their quest to end 68 years of no World Series title in Cleveland, Ohio. But a few days later after Jonathan Lucroy, catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers who are presently 15.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division, decided to slap the Indians in the face, I feel better about him rejecting the city of Cleveland.
Why? Simple. A championship caliber team needs every single guy on that roster pulling for each other and setting their individual agendas aside for one goal (see the 2015 Kansas City Royals). In that respect, Mr Lucroy tipped his hand pretty early. According to reports, Lucroy wanted his option year of his current contract torn up, Cleveland said no. Secondly, he wanted to be guaranteed the starting catcher job for next year, again Cleveland said no. Sure Cleveland could have fudged on the second one and been like, “oh sure buddy, it’s all yours” but standing on principal I believe a player should earn it and apparently the front office and Terry Francona agreed. And on the first count, the option year of his contract for $5+ million dollars ensures Cleveland gets some return on their heavy investment in the trade. Cleveland had agreed to trade four prospects (minor league players) to Milwaukee for just Lucroy. So that made the trade make a little more sense on their part instead of renting his services for two plus months and then in free agency he could just walk away leaving Cleveland with potentially nothing to show for the trade (if they should fail to capture the World Series title). Again this tipped Mr Lucroy’s hand. Cleveland is set up to be competitive this year and next, but he was more focused on getting out the door or having things handed to him instead of coming in and being a cog in a larger machine with a greater purpose. No wonder his team is floundering in Milwaukee if this is the kind of leadership he brings.
Many teams roll the dice with bringing in a player for the stretch run in hopes of going from a good team to a great team. Occasionally the player will gel with the squad and help carry them through but most of the time, it seems anyways, the player comes in and for whatever reason does not produce or have good chemistry with the clubhouse and the trade is a failure. I’ve been an Indians fan since the early 1990’s and with the exception of the 1995 and 1997 squads, I think this one could have the best chance to give me a heart attack…and/or win the whole f%cking thing.
Whether this year turns out as a Hollywood happy ending or just another crushing disappointment, at least I know my team and front office is doing everything in their power to try to make the Sudoku puzzle come out perfectly.
Now to suspend reality for a second. If I could bring in one catcher to lead Cleveland to the promised land, I would make a fairy tale trade (because they would never, and I mean EVER make this trade) with the St Louis Cardinals to bring in future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina. When it comes to grit, determination and leadership, there is no catcher in the whole league who brings what he does to his team. Between this year and last year his offensive production isn’t what it was several years ago but he is still a smart hitter and will give you quality at-bats. But where he becomes a game-changer is with his defense and his ability to call a game (not to mention the cannon he has for a right arm). This translates into his team always having a chance and when it gets to playoff time it’s all you can ask for where your team is involved.
Have a great Monday! Go Tribe!!!