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This Week on Wahoo's on First: Judging Shapiro and Managerial Candidates

We celebrated a big anniversary at Wahoo’s on First this week, but that’s not the only interesting thing that’s happened here over the last few days.

From Photobucket, by Tony Lastoria

Ed undertook the ambitious task of analyzing every major trade Mark Shapiro ever made during his nine-year tenure as GM:

We’re now more than two full years removed from Shapiro’s promotion to team president and GM Chris Antonetti is firmly entrenched as the Tribe’s decision maker. So I thought now would be as soon as anyone could fairly judge Shapiro’s tenure as GM. There are still some loose ends hanging (Carlos Carrasco, for example, and Matt LaPorta), but the body of his work is complete, and I wanted to put my optimism to the test.

Ed also looked at Shapiro’s history of low-profile trades:

Whether or not you factor in any financial aspects to any of these trades, if you look at pure production of players that Shapiro gave up in trades compared to the production of players he received, he hit more than he missed when he made a deal. When you do consider the financial restrictions he was working under, it’s hard to fault Shapiro for most of these trades. Yes, you can, and perhaps should expect better (and quicker) returns on guys who had won the Cy Young the season before (CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee), but it should also be noted that most teams don’t do too much better under similar circumstances. However, Shapiro’s ability to pilfer productive young players for spare parts has more than made up for two questionable trades.

Speaking of Shapiro, Lewie offered his thoughts on the in-depth interview Shapiro gave last week:

There’s a tremendous wealth of information publicly available for any given player—advanced stats, scouting reports, videos—but the data isn’t as good as what the teams are working with. Chris Antonetti doesn’t look at the same stats Tom Hamilton and Paul Hoynes do, and according to Shapiro’s cost-per-win figure even the team’s sabermetric stats are quite different than the ones on FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus. That doesn’t mean their system is always right or that outsiders don’t have enough information to make informed opinions. What it does mean is that what seems like a questionable decision from a fan’s perspective probably makes more sense using the information the team has at its disposal.

Meanwhile, Sandy Alomar is supposedly in the running for the Blue Jays’ vacant managerial position, but as of early last week he hadn’t been contacted by the team yet. Lewie noted that this was emblematic of a trend for Alomar:

Everyone in baseball seems to agree that Alomar has a bright future as a manager—the fact that he’s gotten so many interviews has to count for something. But for some reason no one wants to actually hire him. That’s good for the Indians as they’ll continue to benefit from his presence in the clubhouse, but you can’t help feel bad for Alomar’s being stuck in managerial limbo.

But Alomar isn’t the only Indians-connected candidate to be in the running for the Toronto job. Manny Acta is in the running too—and Lewie doesn’t know why:

I’m all for second chances, and maybe Acta would have more success elsewhere—part of the problem was probably a strained relationship between him and the front office. But given how poorly things ended with Acta’s tenure in Cleveland, why would he want to walk into so similar a situation with another team? And, more importantly, why would another team in the Tribe’s shoes want to bring in someone who flopped the first time he was in that situation?

Lewie looked at the World Series through the lens of an Indians fan:

From a Cleveland perspective, this is kind of a boring World Series: A team Indians fans don’t particularly like that has a former Indians player whom Indians fans don’t particularly like versus a team Indians fans don’t particularly care about that has two key players who slipped through the Indians’ fingertips. Your best bet is rooting for San Francisco, if only because they’re already winning.

In our Weekly Wroundtable, we debated whether or not the Indians should pick up Ubaldo Jimenez‘ 2013 option:

Evan Vogel: The Indians should definitely pick up the option on Ubaldo Jimenez, even if the only reason is to trade him. Sure, Jimenez was awful in 2012 and really hasn’t done anything since the first half of the 2010 season, however, he still has the stuff to be a solid mid-rotation starter for any team. The problem is that the Indians were counting on him to win 20 games, and you just can’t count on any pitcher to do such a thing whose last name isn’t Verlander.

Steve tackled the same question, and concludes that the Indians should decline Jimenez’ option but still bring him back in 2013:

I would like the front office to get creative on a contract that lowers his 2013 base salary and includes incentives that could vest into a 2014 contract. Such a deal would allow the front office to save face, give Jimenez some job security, and let the Indians roll the dice on Ubaldo once again without it being too big of a financial risk.

 Finally, Ed tried to envision a trade in which the Indians could acquire Coco Crisp from the Oakland Athletics:

Could the Indians and A’s line up on a deal? Nathaniel Stoltz was quick to point out that the Cleveland farm system wasn’t really a great match for Oakland, adding that the Tribe’s two best prospects (Fransisco Lindor and Dorseys Paulino) are both low-level shortstops, something that Oakland didn’t need. He also suggested that because the Indians don’t have one guy that can fill a large hole in the A’s organization that quantity was probably going to be needed, and Cleveland might have to overpay a bit to land one of the outfielders.

Tags: Cleveland Indians

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