Two things surprised me yesterday. I suppose actually three things surprised me if you consider that the first two things that surprised me both relate to Cleveland.

Anyway, the first thing that caught me unexpectedly was that the Cleveland Indians, presumably in an effort to further prove that randomly winning a bunch of games one year can be detrimental to a franchise the next, signed Casey Kotchman to a one year deal worth $3 million. And then, shortly after that I learned that the sitcom Hot In Cleveland not only exists, but was recently renewed for a fourth season by the TV Land network which broadcasts it.

While the terms of Kotchman’s contract are far from offensive from a team’s perspective, his addition, along with Ubaldo Jimenez’s last year and Derek Lowe’s this off season, represents a Baltimore Oriolesque delusion that either their current roster is competitive with the best in their division or that winning a few extra games this year is of more importance than the development of its younger players with upside.

You see, the Indians have an underachieving, just turned 27 years old first baseman already on their roster who over two seasons at the big league level hasn’t been able to equal the enormous numbers he’s boasted at Triple A. Which, with the addition of Kotchman, is exactly where Matt LaPorta is expected to begin the year, at a place where he has absolutely nothing to prove.

With Cleveland unlikely to compete for the American League Central Division title, given the off season moves of the Detroit Tigers, wouldn’t this season be the perfect time to give LaPorta one last opportunity to put it together? The problem of course is that the Indians fell under the spell of unlikely early season success last year, and foolishly gave up two of their better prospects in Alex White and Drew Pomeranz┬áto acquire the aforementioned Jimenez.

And now, as Baseball Nation’s Grant Brisbee writes:

The Indians are in kinda-sorta-win-now-maybe-let’s-go-for-it?-I-guess mode, a weird side effect of having such a supremely hot start in 2011. And with that in mind, they’ve acquired two of the biggest kinda-sorta-win-now-maybe-let’s-go-for-it?-I-guess mode players in Derek Lowe and Casey Kotchman. Really, it’s hard to pick two players who could have possibly exemplified where the Indians stood this offseason.

You might say that Cleveland is just as much in need of Kotchman as the television viewing world requires another three camera, canned laughter, guest starring sitcom about women and their kooky, unrealistic relationships with men. Aiming at mediocrity remains every bit as deplorable in baseball as it is in art.

Comments (18)

  1. How hot are we talking? Piping Hot? Steaming Hot?

  2. But… but…. Betty White!!

    • If I’d known the levels of overexposure that fucking Snickers commercial would lead to, I never would’ve found it so amusing. Also, why didn’t Abe Vigoda get a sitcom?

  3. I drove to Cleveland in 2010 for the Jays-Indians game on Canada Day. Marcum had a no hitter going early (as he so often did in his Jays starts) until Matt LaPorta took him DEEP to LF for a 3 run HR. And I benched LaPorta in fantasy that day. In other words, Fuck Matt LaPorta.

  4. Hot in Cleveland was renewed for a fourth season?
    And who says there’s nothing good on TV these days.

  5. Trade T Snider for M Laporta?

  6. Matt LaPorta is 27 but Kotchman is, for three more weeks, just 28. 27 isn’t young, it should be noted.

  7. I agree that the Kotchman signing doesn’t make that much sense for Cleveland for resaons I mention here: http://bit.ly/wspE6i

    However, I think you are selling Cleveland short, Dustin. Yes, they were over their heads last season, but Ubaldo is a serious upgrade (even if he’s overrated), and guys like Kipnis and Chisenhall are good prospects with real upside, certainly more than the players they are replacing.

    No, they aren’t as good as Detroit. But earlier this off-season, I did a quick projection and found them to be within 5-6 games of the Tigers, which is easily “striking distance” given the margins of error. And a more sophisticated, very recent projection has Cleveland only one game back of Detroit: http://bit.ly/ycFKkR. Now, t hat is using Marcel, which regresses pretty heavily, so might “scrunch” everyone up in the middle more than other systems, but I think it is enough to show that Cleveland does have reason to go for it, even if it is far from a sure thing.

  8. Casey Kotchman = Sean “The Mayor” Casey V 2.0

  9. hi there, good article, and a fairly good understand! 1 for my bookmarking.

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