Has it really been almost a week? Shoot. Well, without further ado, here is Part III of my Ex-Indians All Star Team: The Pitchers!
After about an hour of research, I found only four - four! - former Tribe starting pitchers still in the bigs. Yikes. Bartolo Colon (Angels) has only made 10 starts this year and will miss the rest of the season. Another group of three ex-Tribe starters - Zach Day, Ryan Drese, Billy Traber, all with the Washington Nationals - have combined to pitch 10 games this season. So they're out. That leaves us with this starting rotation...
* Kevin Millwood, SP, Texas Rangers - 2006 stats: 12-8, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .286 BAA, 26 starts. 2006 salary: $7.9 million
Scott's View: It would have been great to keep Millwood after the season he put together last year, but just not financially feasible. ERA inflated due to pitching in the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington (6.14 home ERA).
* Jaret Wright, SP, New York Yankees - 2006 stats: 9-7, 4.50 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, .285 BAA, 23 starts. 2006 salary: $7.66 million
Scott's View: Ahhh, good ol' Jaret Wright. This is why I try not to get too excited about young players who play well in their first season. Because then you end up like Jaret Wright, with a career record of 66-57 and a 5.09 ERA. The next Bob Feller, huh?
* Scott Elarton, SP, Kansas City Royals - 2006 stats: 4-9, 5.34 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .267 BAA, 20 starts. 2006 salary: $4 million
Scott's View: Has a lower WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) and opponent batting average than Jaret Wright, yet worse ERA? Strange. The pitcher signed to replace Elarton as the fifth starter, Jason Johnson, is 3-12 with a 6.35 ERA with both Cleveland and Boston this year.
Now, there have been numerous relievers pitching pretty well this year who used to sport the Chief Wahoo logo. Sadly, even having one or two of these guys here this season might have made a difference. I'm going to select two setup men and one closer to round out this pitching staff.
* Bob Howry, RP, Chicago Cubs - 2006 stats: 3-3, 3.15 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .243 BAA, 19 Holds. 2006 salary: $3 million.
Scott's View: No surprise here - Howry proved over the course of the last two seasons that he's one of the most effective setup guys in the business. Pitched so well, in fact, that he outpriced himself for the Tribe to keep.
* Justin Speier, RP, Toronto Blue Jays - 2006 stats: 1-0, 3.05 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .227 BAA, 22 Holds. 2006 salary: $2.25 million.
Scott's View: Shocked, absolutely shocked, to see Speier pitching this well. Had one good season and one atrocious season in Tribe uniform. Funny how that works out.
* Bob Wickman, CP, Atlanta Braves - 2006 stats: 1-4, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .247 BAA, 23 saves. 2006 salary: $5 million.
Scott's View: There's a reason why he's saved the most games in Indians history. He's been lights out since joining the Braves, converting all eight saves. For the record, fewer blown saves (three, albeit fewer situations) this year than Billy Wagner and Jonathan Papelbon (five), B.J. Ryan and Trevor Hoffman (four), and same as Mariano Rivera. Say what you will, big Bob knows how to finish games.
Here are the other pitchers who didn't make the cut:
Bartolo Colon (Angels) - David Riske (White Sox) - Ron Villone (Yankees) - Scott Sauerbeck (Inmate number 277452) - Dan Miceli (Devil Rays) - Brian Tallet (Blue Jays) - Danys Baez and Chad Paronto (Braves) - Guillermo Mota (Mets, just traded today) - Kent Mercker and David Weathers (Reds) - Jose Mesa and Tom Martin (Rockies) - Arthur Rhoades and Rick White (Phillies) - Alan Embree (Padres) - Steve Kline and Tim Worrell (Giants) - Zach Day, Ryan Drese and Billy Traber (Nationals)
(Before I go any further, I thought I should share the fact that Jose Mesa has 320 career saves and 1,000 career strikeouts. He's 40 years old now and has 17 years of big league experience. Just in case you're interested.)
I have selected 17 players to my 2006 Ex-Indians All Star Team: three starting pitchers (Millwood, Wright, Elarton) , three relievers (Howry, Speier, Wicky), five outfielders (Manny, Kenny, Coco, Roberts, Giles), five infielders (Broussard, Phillips, Omar, Bell, Bard) and one DH (Thome). Together, they have a combined salary of about $90.5 million this year ($104 million if I included Bartolo Colon with the starters).
Obviously, it's not realistic to have a real team like this. It assumes that you don't lose anyone to free agency or make any bad trades, and that you must have pretty deep pockets to keep all these guys (insert George Steinbrenner/Yankees joke here). It's also not even a full 25-man roster. Still, I thought it was fun to look back at all of the players who used to grace our presence "on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario", see who was still playing and where.
I'm also amazed that I could remember some of these guys, such as Tom Martin (24 innings pitched in '98 and '99) who couldn't crack the lineup or rotation of those great teams from the 90's. It also led me to think about some other guys who are now out of the league (where have you gone, Steve Woodward? Cameron Cairncross? Jolbert Cabrera?). Hopefully you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did putting it together.
I'm still looking for more suggestions for my all-time Indians Killer team, so if you can think of a player who just flat-out owns the Tribe, let me know.