Doug Jones was slow.
Jose Mesa was fat.
Bob Wickman was fatter. And Slower
Keith Folke was retired.
Joe Borowski was on 'roids. And slower still.
So let's just go ahead and admit it -- the Cleveland Indians could go out and sign just about anyone to be their "back of the bullpen help." If we've learned anything though -- it's A-B-C: Always Be Closing -- so no matter who we sign, we should expect them to not hold onto the job all year . . .
Let's take a look at who's out there and give some odds, shall we?
Trevor Hoffman. 5:2
I feel like we've been down this road before. Oh, maybe because we have. Time and again (my personal favorite). Well, I guess it is possible though -- his failure brood is a couple years older, so will he be comfortable "traips[ing his] family across the country" this time?
My bet is we offer him too much money, put too much faith in him, and it all comes crashing down . . .
Jensen Lewis. 3:1
He's the incumbent, and that's always risky. But this ain't the Senate floor, lovey. Let's just say once he settled in after August he was good. But if there's one thing that doesn't sit easy with the Tribe it's good bullpen pitching. A Vandy pedigree also is scary to good ol' boy Wedgie, so look for a misappropriation of his skill set in '09!
Kerry Wood. 55:1
Connect these guys: Kevin Millwood, Paul Byrd, Joe Borowski, Anthony Reyes, Cliff Politte, . . the list goes on. Say what you will, but Cleveland is the land where arm problems go to disappear. Maybe it's the proximity to the Clinic, or maybe it's Carl "What chu talking 'bout" Willis, but this team has no problem in paying below market for an injured veteran to to heal and then turn their careers around (then go out and make bank elsewhere). If everyone else is afraid to take a chance on Wood -- the Tribe could swoop him up and feel confident in their ability to keep him hurling.
Brian Fuentes. 500:1
Little to no interest, and perhaps for better reasons than we know. What we do know though is he'll be over-valued, is a LHP who can struggle against Left Handed batters, and is coming off a career year. Signing him will demand either too much $ or value in trade from the Rockies (if they resign him), or both.
Huston Street. 20:1
True story: my friend and I sat here to watch the A's-Tribe series in 2007 at The Jake. Anyway -- a group of A's pitchers walked by from the pen in Right (to the dugout) and I was taken aback because it appeared as if they had a "bat boy" or "ball boy" with them and I asked my friend if teams always traveled with them -- and maybe they'd expect him to keep his appearance a little better, since his hair was messy and his uniform was ill-fitting and he wasn't wearing a cap -- and my friend turned to me and said: That's Huston Street, asshole.
So, who's the asshole now?
Huston Street is.
Because he sucks.
Which means there's always a chance we'll trade away a former #1 pick for him. Or 2.
Francisco Rodriguez. 100:1
He's the number 1 free agent closer on the market. He is the saves record holder. A workhorse. He destroys teams. He'll maybe get a record-breaking contract. Basically, there's no chance he'll be wearing cream and a Block C on Sundays.
J.J. Putz. 20:1
I've coveted this guy since forever. I was hoping they'd package him in the Ben Broussard deal -- which did not happen -- but at least that shows we have some track record with negotiations with The M's. If only we had a hot-hitting Asian player or aging platoon player available to trade to them. Hmmmmmm . . . My bet is he'll still end up in the Central (but not in Cleveland).
His name is Putz.
Soloman Torres. 1,000:1
History has shown that the Indians would really have no quams at all in signing yet another old, fat, slow, wild, or even dead (to the baseball world) "pitcher" to this bullpen. So there's a chance. As far as retired 50-something hurlers go, Torres is in the top 5.
Brandon Lyon. 45:1
This guy actually makes sense for the Tribe pen -- he's unpredictable, available for market value, and a "clubhouse guy" (READ: white). He was under-appreciated in Arizona -- even when out-performing his competitors, he was still in fear for his job. Seemed like AZ was always waiting for the "other shoe to drop," and once it did were quick to replace him with Chad "DJ" Qualls.
So maybe the Tribe can swoop in with a shoehorn.
(I swear that made more sense in my head before I typed it out)
Arthur Rhodes. 16:1
Previous tour of duty? √
Loose cannon? √
Old as dirt? √
Not good? √
Good as signed.
Jake Westbrook. 10:1
Call me crazy, but anyone who looks this intense and has no fear in calling out the "mighty Red Sox" can close for me any day. And seriously, what better way to get value out of the guaranteed contract we have out there for Westbrook in a partial season?
Ok, I've typed a bunch of words. Words words words words words.
Words words words.
You prolly stopped reading a long time ago.
But here's my wrap-up: Jensen Lewis deserves the job. He probably won't get it, but he deserves it. Fuentes goes to the Mets. Putz to the Chi Sux. Wood to Texas (as a starter). Street stays in Colorado. Arthur Rhodes to Milwaukee. Brandon Lyon too. K-Rod to Washington (no, really -- Chad Cordero to Detroit).
The Tribe shores up their back end by signing Jason Isringhausen (He's the trifecta: cheap, old, and injured) and Eddie Guardado.
Hoffman? He signs for 3 years (guaranteed) in St Louis. He convinces his wife and kids St. Louis is just the english translation of San Diego, and it's not really "a whale's vagina" as they previously thought.