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Indians Indians Archive One Man's Trash
Written by Paul Cousineau

Paul Cousineau
Obviously one game a season does not make - but ... boy, did that feel nice and HOPEFULLY will serve as the impetus for some sort of turnaround for this team.  JMike broke out in a big way this week, and Paulie's been screaming for months that Michaels has no place on this team and is simply blocking more promising youngsters.  In his latest, Paul takes a trip around MLB and finds seven teams that could potentially have some interest in acquiring JMike in a trade.

Obviously one game a season does not make - but ... boy, did that feel nice and HOPEFULLY will serve as the impetus for some sort of turnaround for this team, both in terms of pitching (the bullpen is still a work in progress and Indians' Farm Guru Tony Lastoria tells me that Stomp Lewis was hitting 93 MPH last April in Akron, so throw the "his velocity has historically taken a while to warm up" explanation out the window when trying to explain why his MPH tops out at 87 MPH) and to get the hitters to stop pressing. But, as I began, one game doesn't mean that all of the problems magically disappear, it just makes you feel better until the next game starts.

In the same vein, it's time to acknowledge what we've all said for a while - that Jason Michaels has no place on this team - and start thinking of solutions to the "problem". Now, for a moment, let's all forget that Carson Kressley is currently posting a .139 BA / .195 OBP / .167 SLG / .362 OPS line with 5 RBI on the season (this INCLUDES his 2 for 3 night last night with 3 RBI) for the Indians, that he's not overcoming his offensive deficiencies by playing an outstanding LF, and that
he's ostensibly blocking two youngsters with higher upsides from getting everyday AB for the Tribe...OK?  
Remembering the famous
"Garbage Barge" of 1987, rather than just moaning about our situation and hopelessness of it, let's try to figure out a way to get Michaels off of our roster without resorting to the final option, which would be to simply cut him and eat his salary, which I'm not saying shouldn't be done and very seriously think could happen very soon. But before simply throwing the flotsam overboard, let's see if we can find a port that we can pull this pontoon into.  
Remember, we're talking about trying to unload a useless piece of our roster, so let's put some spit on this rotten apple and try to shine him up real pretty so another team might find him useful.  
Jason Michaels is, ideally, a RH outfielder who has experienced success against LHP in his career, has the ability to play all three OF positions, and possesses some speed on the basepaths (assuming he can get on). In reality, he is essentially a depth OF or a 4th OF who can augment a LH heavy OF or, at the very least, represent a pinch-hitting option from the right side of the dish and serve as a late-inning defensive replacement or pinch runner for a team.  
Knowing then what he is, or what he should be, what teams may actually find have a use for a player like Michaels on their roster or could find some worth in
Mr. Perfect?  
As promised earlier in the week, let's take a trip around MLB:  


Probably the best destination that I can come up with, mainly because the Mariners boast three LH OF (Raul Ibanez, Ichiro, Brad Wilkerson) with RH Willie Bloomquist and RH Greg Norton constituting the team's OF depth.  
Is Michaels an upgrade over Bloomquist or Norton against LHP to perhaps pinch-hit for Wilkerson against a nasty LHP?  
Here are their career numbers vs. LHP:  

Michaels - .294 BA / .376 OBP / .450 SLG / .826 OPS  
Bloomquist - .266 BA / .322 OBP / .362 SLG / .684 OPS  
Norton - .225 BA / .306 OBP / .334 SLG / .641 OPS  
On the surface, Michaels would be a better option than the current back-up outfielders for the Mariners, particularly given his versatility (Norton can only play the corners and Bloomquist has played only 71 games in CF...about ½ of Michaels' career 139 games in CF). Given the Mariners' propensity for trading for our platoon players (Benuardo, who netted the BLC and Asdrubal) or players going nowhere with the Tribe (Jason Dangerously), why interrupt this time-honored tradition of useless Indians finding a new home in the Pacific Northwest? The only speed bump to the deal may be that Adam Jones was included as part of the Bedard deal and can't find his way to the North Coast in exchange for Jason the Wet...I kid, I kid.  

Anyone else think that Michaels needs to go back to the know, from whence he came? Maybe sunny San Diego is the place for him to maximize his "Sun-In" use. And, amazingly, Michaels may actually be better than their current starting LF, Scott Hairston, and the team has no real options past him to take AB away from him or provide insurance for him, particularly from the right side of the dish.  
Hairston is a 28-year-old who played well for the Padres in his brief stint with the team last year, but (like Michaels) he is what he is. Even if Michaels is an upgrade over Justin Huber on the bench, maybe the San Diego Front Office feel that their second addition from the Indians in the past couple of years could improve the overall depth of their team or even provide insurance for their starting CF Jim Edmonds (age 38) or starting RF Brian Giles (age 37).  

The OF not named Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn on their roster are Rajai Davis (R) , Dan Ortmeier (R), Fred Lewis (L), and John Bowker (L). Surely Jason Michaels would be seen as a better option than ONE of the two right-handed 27-year-old outfielders (Davis and Ortmeier) with 433 career at-bats BETWEEN them. While the amount of career at-bats certainly doesn't count as the end-all indicator of a player's value, Michaels had 494 AB in one SEASON.  
Certainly the 32-year-old Michaels would fit in better with the Giants' team concept of starting almost exclusively over-the-hill has-beens (5 of their 8 position players are over 30...and that doesn't include the injured Omar) than Rajai Davis, who is "only" 27.  
Blue Jays  

With John McDonald AND Super Joe Inglett taking up two spots on Toronto's roster, they've shown a predilection for offensively-challenged former Indians, so let's throw another log on the fire. As of today, the Blue Jays' LF options include Shannon Stewart, who hasn't posted an OPS over .800 since 2004 and a 40-year-old Matt Stairs.  
The 34-year-old Stewart's game was, at one point, a high OBP and SB; but an OPS of .581 vs. LHP last year show that he's simply no longer an everyday player. While Stairs had some success against LHP in 2007 (.818 OPS), he does have a .752 career OPS vs. LHP (remember, Michaels' is .826) and at 40, it's not as if Stairs is going to show marked improvement as he gets older (unless he's on the Barry Bonds career arc).  
Other possible options:  


The only RH bats off of the Metropolitans' bench are Damion Easley and Brady Clark. Is Michaels an upgrade over those two? Who knows, but with so many of their players being registered AARP members, if Michaels went to Queens it would constitute a "youth movement".  

A return to the "Cradle of Liberty" didn't make the main list as Jayson Werth is essentially a younger, more productive version of Michaels, making the need for Michaels in Philly not a real pressing one.  

They count Marlon Byrd as their RH option of the bench to augment the starting outfield of David Murphy (L), Josh Hamilton (L), and Milton Bradley (S). Marlon Byrd to me is just like Jason Michaels, so the Rangers would just be spinning their wheels here. However, since this "spinning their wheels" strategy seems to be their modus operandi, it can't be ruled out.  
Regardless of where he ends up, he's not going to be in an Indians' uniform for very much longer if he continues to play as he has. If the Indians can get something for him, all the better; if not, his perpetually wet hair will be very few.

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