Now for my own comments.
In this article from the PD Victor Martinez committed himself to the Tribe for life, or at least in theory.
"I can't see myself in another uniform," said Martinez. "We'll see what happens."
That is really the best thing I have heard all season. Honestly, I never really gave the Martinez trade rumors much credence, considering his contract and his importance to the team.
Martinez, a career .298 hitter, is the cornerstone of the lineup and (when healthy) is the most consistent player on the team. This is evidenced by his inclusion as the lone Indian in the All Star Game.
His numbers at first base are not terrible, and not much worse than his numbers behind the plate. Because first base is traditionally a hitters position he looks to be secure there for many more years.
However the problem that arises is that his contract is up at the end of the 2010 season and the team will face a worsening payroll situation after such a terrible 2009 season. It is unclear whether or not the team will be able to hang on to him, but hopefully his statements indicate a willingness to accept a hometown discount to stay in a Tribe uniform.
The other name being thrown around in trade talks is that of Cliff Lee, the staff ace. Also under control through next season, Lee has stopped short of committing himself to the Indians, and it has been surmised that he will be very likely to test those free agent waters.
If this brilliant DiaTribe article is any indication he has every right to want to leave.
After his latest loss he issued a thinly veiled criticism at manager Eric Wedge's decision to play Ryan Garko in right, which resulted in a costly error.
Asked if he felt the ball should have been caught, Lee said, “Do you? I don't pass judgment on that. I throw the pitches. Where it goes it goes. It's not up to me to move the outfielders or infielders. All I do is pitch. It did seem like it was in the air a long time. I don't know if they had him shaded the other way or what. You'd have to ask him or Wedgie.”
He's absolutely right kids. Garko has no right being in right, or anywhere else in the outfield for that matter. The Wedge-Shapiro brain trust has made questionable decisions such as this (letting Brandon Phillips go, keeping Andy Marte on the roster all year, not firing Wedge/stepping down, etc.) many times and I can only imagine the polarizing impact it has on the team.
The same frustration can be seen in Jhonny Peralta, who clearly needs a change of scenery (or manager) to resolve his issues.
If I were Cliff Lee I would be asking the Indians to find a new team for me to play for, and if I were the Indians I would take him up on that.
I understand that trading Lee leaves the team without a legitimate ace for '10, but trading him halfway through the season next year does the same thing, and it seems as if that is bound to happen anyway.
Right now the return for Lee is going to be highest because of his low cost and length left on his contract. Should a Neftali Feliz or Clay Buccholz become available, I believe the Indians have to listen.
Personally, I prefer the Red Sox as a trading partner because it would be easy to send Kelly Shoppach back to their catching strapped club in order to get deeper returns and clear the way for Wyatt Toregas and later Carlos Santana.
These next few weeks will be interesting for these two players as well as the fans. I believe that the team has to make some kind of move, but I am not sure either of these cornerstones will be moving. We may be waving goodbye to Pavano or Carroll soon, however.
Check back soon for Futures Game thoughts and reactions.