Sunday, September 2, 2007

Stiff's Back...and Still Complaining

So September 1st arrived and the rosters can be expanded. The Indians took the opportunity and added IF Luis Rivas, OF Ben Francisco, and pitchers Mike Koplove and Cliff Lee. Other moves are expected to follow at the end of the AAA season this week, most likely 3B Andy Marte, RP Edward Mujica, OF Shin Soo Choo, RP Matt Miller, and possibly stud prospect pitcher Adam Miller could be up.

But lets talk about Stiff, I mean Cliff Lee. Demoted because of his lack of performance on July 27th, Lee "took it like a man" and spent just over a month in Buffalo trying to work the kinks out. The results were mixed. After a sub par 5-8 6.38 ERA in 16 starts with the big club, Stiff compiled a 1-3 record, with a 3.51 ERA in eight starts. Not exactly setting the world on fire. Most expected he would be back up take take the 5th starter slot at the end of August, but it was not to be. Lefty Aaron Laffey has taken that spot and run with it. So Stiff was passed over and is now back as the long man.

I've thought all year Stiff was a clubhouse cancer and an attitude problem, yet he was still considered a "core player" by the brass. There was evidence of this when reportedly everyone in the front office wanted him to be the 5th starter, yet all of the scouts wanted Laffey. The scouts were right, as was I. Look at the quotes in today's Plain Dealer from Lee. Not exactly what you want from a team with the chemistry the Tribe currently has:

On his future with the Indians:

"I thought I had a pretty set role, now it's not there anymore. I'm kind of curious what the future holds for me here. That's a question I really can't answer."

On his demotion to Buffalo:

"It was a surprise and a shock," said Lee. "I felt like I was a big leaguer. I still do. Going to the minor leagues. . . . I don't know anyone who's happy with that. I couldn't argue with them and make them change their mind. I tried to go down there and make the best of it. I tried to stay positive and get better. I felt like I did."

On coming back after his Spring Training injury:

"When I did get back to the big leagues, I hadn't had time to work on my strengths. When I tried to go back in there, I wasn't quite as sharp, that used to be my strength and I got away from working on it. I was trying to do other things and it didn't work."

On the entire situation:

"I never thought I should have [gone] to Triple A , but I can understand why. The results weren't there. Maybe they felt I wasn't their best option. I want to win, if this is the role that gives the team the best chance to win, that's what I'll do. I don't want any negative vibe to come out."

Sorry Stiff, I'm not buying what you are selling. He pitched his first game in relief today and gave up two hits, one walk, and one run in one inning in the Tribe's 8-0 loss to the White Sox. I'd give him a 15% chance of being in this organization next year. he is prime trade bait.

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