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Is there hope in Cleveland, Kansas City and Pittsburgh?

Aug 6, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

Peter Gammons says there is in his latest column:

As dark as it seems, all three once-great baseball towns have hope.

“The Royals and Pirates have done what small-market teams should do with
their revenue-sharing money,” says one big-market general manager. “The
last couple of years they’ve gone over slot on Draft choices, they’ve
spent heavily in the international market and really worked hard rather
than waste revenues on mediocre veteran players.”

The Indians are probably the closest to getting back to
competitiveness. “We’ve looked back at where we started in the
rebuilding process in 2002,” says Antonetti. That season, they traded
Bartolo Colon to the Expos for Sizemore, Lee and Brandon Phillips, a
rebuilding trade rivaled only by the Mark Teixeira deal between Texas
and Atlanta, which sent five good players, including Neftali Feliz and
Elvis Andrus, to the Rangers.

“Looking at what we had then and what we have now, I think we’re probably deeper [than we’ve been in a long] time.”

This kind of rah-rah is not news coming from general managers. And in the Indians case it’s not new coming from outsiders inasmuch as they’ve done a couple of successful rebuilds since either Pittsburgh or Kansas City has been competitive.

Does it mean anything? Is it smoke?  I’ve liked a lot of what all three of these teams have done in trades over the past couple of years. I’ll say, though, that the idea of timing that window — as is discussed at length in the article — just so with no hope whatsoever of holding on to a single big money free agent ups the difficulty by orders of magnitude.

The Royals, Indians and Pirates are never going to sign guys like the Yankees can. But they have to be able to keep some people around longer than the four or so years before that trade-them-or-lose-them imperative sets in.  Otherwise, all of this is just vain hope.

  1. scatterbrian - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    I think it’s Kandi-ass City.

  2. scatterbrian - Aug 6, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Corrected typo = nonsensical comment

  3. Ron Thompson - Aug 6, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    The Indians will be back in about three years. They’re an up and down franchise, who won their division in 2001 and 2007, and won 413 while losing 397 2005-2009.
    I hope the Pirates can recover, but I sure don’t see anything that’s been done by the ownership and front office that indicates they’re about to turn it around. Their payroll this year is $39 Million, while the Cubs are spending $144 Million, the Cardinals $94 Million, the Astros $92 Million (nice return there), the Brewers are over $90 Million, and even the Reds nearly double the Pirates at $76 Million.
    How do the Pirates close that gap? They’re not going to sign three major free agents, because nobody is going to be the first one to sell himself to a team that every year sets a North American record for consecutive losing seasons by a professional sports franchise. So they’re going to have to build not only an offense but a pitching staff through their farm system. Anybody see any evidence that they’re capable of developing five or six good young players in the next couple years so they can compete with the Cubs, Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers? Starting in 2000, their top prospects according to Baseball America were Chad Hermansen, J.R. House, John Van Benschoten, Zach Duke, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Pedro Alvarez.
    I don’t see the Royals ever recovering. They’ll be the next team to move.

  4. Ditto65 - Aug 6, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    “Starting in 2000, their top prospects according to Baseball America were Chad Hermansen, J.R. House, John Van Benschoten, Zach Duke, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Pedro Alvarez.”
    Looks like you made these names up.

  5. smokehouse - Aug 6, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Ditto65. Now that was funny.

  6. smilesdavis - Aug 6, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Hey mannyg, where are you. anyway, my buddy found this place thats supposedly like the drudgereport for sports or something. its , I know how much u love that drudge thing so i figured i’d let u know. bye .

  7. Ron Thompson - Aug 6, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    As a former Pirates outfielder (in 1918 and 1919) used to say, “You could look it up.”

  8. bigtrav425 - Aug 6, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    its alllllllllllllll smoke! The indians are still living off that one damn trade! Lee and phillips are not with us anymore and sizemore is nothing but a 5 hitter with speed.Yea he can play D but he cant hit worth S**t! And as u mentioned even if these players from the pirates,royals and tribe even pan out they still have to be able to sign/keep them for more then 4 yrs

  9. Sam Lee - Aug 7, 2010 at 10:16 AM

    Why so cynical Craig? You’re the one who likes the current system. Remember that stat about all the teams that have won the Series in the last 20 years. All is well. What Gammons should have said or maybe is saying, is that these teams won’t suck mightily and can sell tickets and maybe even have a few playoff games.

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