September 30, 2014

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Time to give Dolans their due

This space has been a harsh critic of Indians owner Larry Dolan — aka Tightpockets, among other derogatory nicknames.
After all, the man did promise to bring “multiple World Series championships to Cleveland” when he bought the team from Dick Jacobs, then slashed the payroll and didn’t bring any.
But now Larry, whose legacy will include losing both Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez to higher bidders and one playoff trip in his first nine years as owner, deserves some credit.
Few thought him and his son Paul would come up with enough loot to sign any more than two or three of the Indians’ core players to long-term contracts, and the old whippersnapper went out and locked up five of them — Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook, Cliff Lee and Jhonny Peralta.
For that, Mr. Dolan and Mr. Dolan Jr. should be applauded. They’ve taken plenty of hits from all circles — fans, media, opposing owners — for being cheap, and this proves they’re not, or at least weren’t on this occasion.
There is still work to do and more money to spend — i.e. C.C. Sabathia and the trading deadline — before Indians fans can fully embrace Dolan for keeping his promise.
But for now, Dolan deserves a moratorium on discussing Sabathia’s contract status until at least the end of the season.
He’s earned that.
Tradin’ times
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro is still scouring the market for the two things his team needs most — late-inning bullpen assistance and a big bat, either in the outfield or at first or third base — as the July 31 trading deadline approaches.
The Indians don’t need a stud reliever, just a reliable back-end guy that can take some of the pressure and workload off closer Joe Borowski and setup man Rafael Betancourt, who unfortunately for the Wahoos, can’t pitch every night.
Internally, Rafael Perez has been a nice addition from the minors in his short stint, but he’s young and has never experienced the heat of the pennant-race lights. Tom Mastny has been inconsistent, Aaron Fultz is on the disabled list and Fernando Cabrera has lost the confidence of his manager and anyone else that has watched him pitch this season.
If the Indians go after offensive help, they do need a premier player or it doesn’t make much sense.
Third baseman Miguel Cabrera (Marlins) and Troy Glaus (Blue Jays), outfielders Adam Dunn (Reds), Jermaine Dye (White Sox) and Ken Griffey Jr. (Reds) and first baseman Mark Teixeira (Rangers) are all reportedly available, but it’s going to take plenty to get any of them.
Would you part with Ryan Garko and the team’s top prospect, Adam Miller, for any of them? Probably not for Dunn, Glaus or Dye, but one of the other three would be an enticing prospect.
Rant of the week
If you’ve been to Jacobs Field, chances are good you’ve caught one of the marriage proposals on the jumbotron.
What self-respecting man proposes to his girlfriend in front of a bunch of strangers, which includes foofy team mascot Slider? And what self-respecting woman accepts?
By the numbers (stats through Friday)
The Indians are 33-15 when they score first.
*Cleveland is 5-2 in extra innings.
* The Indians have a better record when they make an error (24-15) then they do when they don’t commit one (29-21).
* Though they lead the majors with 27 comeback wins, Cleveland is 5-28 when trailing after seven innings and 4-28 when trailing after eight.
* The Indians are 36-25 against right-handed starters, 17-11 against lefties.
* The Tribe is 14-9 in games decided in its last at-bat.
*Cleveland has two walk-off homers, four leadoff homers and three pinch-hit homers.
* The Indians are 44-22 when they hit a home run,
9-14 when they don’t.
* Cleveland’s best day of the week is Monday (7-2 record). Its worst is a 7-7 mark on both Wednesday and Friday.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com.