There hasn’t been much news out of
The Indians have been repeatedly linked with Troy Percival of St. Louis. Percival has been effective in his comeback effort and may have become expendable as the Cards continue to struggle this year. It’s no secret that Eric Gagne is being dangled by
Here’s an update of how the outfield platoon is performing for the 2007 season:
Lofton - Bats: L
Gutierrez - Bats R
Michaels - Bats R
Nixon - Bats L
Lofton fits in nicely with the existing platoon situation in the outfield corners. Lofton could technically platoon with either Gutierrez or Michaels, but will likely patrol left field with J-Mike. Gutierrez and Michaels each have a near even split between at-bats versus lefties and righties this season. Both bat right handed and perform significantly better against left handed pitchers as a result (there’s a shocker). Gutz has a cannon for an arm and is well-suited to right. He can continue to be spotted by Nixon, who has played all of his games in right field this year.
Michaels is forecast to lose some playing time, but should still start every game against left handed pitching; Lofton has been brutal against lefties this year, batting .217 with a .561 OPS (69 AB is a borderline sample size, but his OPS against lefties in 2006 was .549 in 89 ABs).
Given the way the platoon has gone thus far, Lofton and his left handed bat should take the majority of at-bats away from Nixon (also a lefty). It may seem a bit harsh, but there’s not much logic in playing Nixon outside of the rare situation where his career splits standout against a pitcher or someone needs a day off.
Gutierrez's numbers drop off significantly when facing righties, but they are still better than Nixon's, even though Nixon's primary role is to hit righties. Despite the dropoff, Gutz has kept certain aspects of his production consistent against all types of pitchers with only four hits and a homer the deficit between his splits (he also has 3 more walks versus righties).
In trading for Lofton, the team officially admitted to Nixon’s deficiencies as the left handed bat in the platoon. Wedge needs to field the best team possible for the rest of the season and Nixon is currently the worst outfielder on the roster. Do I seriously think Wedge will bench Nixon the majority of the season? No, but Lofton gives him every opportunity to do so from here on.
Adding Lofton gives the team’s overall speed a boost. Despite being 40 years old, Lofton has stolen 21 bases with
Player - BA / OBP / SLG
Sizemore - .275 / .386 / .469
Lofton - .306 / .380 / .437
Hafner - .258 / .386 / .442
Garko - .312 / .380 / .514
Peralta - .281 / .354 / .459
Gutierrez - .296 / .336 / .528
Blake - .267 / .347 / .456
Barfield - .251 / .278 / .328
It’s no Muderer’s Row, but a pretty impressive lineup just the same. The ability to get on base consistently has been a trademark of this team, wearing down pitchers with each at-bat. A prime example of this was the last start against Johan Santana. Despite a lack of baserunners, the Tribe was able to make the Twin’s ace work hard for his outs, throwing 114 pitches over 7 IP until he finally made a mistake in his final inning to tie the game at 2 all.