Tuesday, November 6, 2007

JoBo, Fultz, and the Byrd Man Will Fly Again in 2008

My sources tell me the Indians will announce today that the 2008 options have been picked up on Closer Joe Borowski, Left-handed reliever Aaron Fultz, and Right-handed starter Paul Byrd.

While JoBo was the epitome of a roller coaster closer, he still saved 45 saves and didn't hurt the Indians one bit in the playoffs, where so many (me included) thought he would. With the lack of closers on the market and the success of the Indians seventh-ninth innings with Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt, and JoBo, there was no reason not to bring back that same dynamic at the back end.

Fultz had an up and down season, starting off as a very effective seventh inning guy before getting injured. Once he came back, his spot was taken by Perez and he just wasn't as effective as he had been in April and May. That said, his $1.5 million option won't kill the Tribe, and he is still a left-handed veteran who appeared in 49 games with a 2.92 ERA. If he flames next year, like Roberto Hernandez in 07, he can be dropped. Young lefties Juan Lara and (hopefully) Tony Sipp could be ready to take his place.

The Byrd man's option was a no-brainer. Then came the HGH allegations. Makr Shapiro did the right thing by picking up the $8 million on the 36-year old starter. He was solid all year long, winning 15 games and being a beloved teammate in the Tribe clubhouse. Even for some reason if he is suspended, the Indians have plenty of depth with Jeremy Sowers, Cliff Lee, Adam Miller and Brian Slocum. But as they say, you can never have enough starting pitching. Byrd earned his money, especially in October when he won both of his starts.

From the ultimate bullshit department, The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that Mariners Outfielder Jose Guillen, former Giants, Diamondbacks, and Indians Third Baseman Matt Williams, and former Rangers pitcher Ismael Valdez all purchased HGH from the same clinic and doctor that prescribed the drug to Byrd. These players were outed today, yet Byrd was outed the day of Game Seven of the ALCS? Can George Mitchell still sit with a straight face and say he had nothing to do with the Byrd leak happening that particular day while being in the ownership group of the Red Sox? What a friggin joke.

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