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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Indians - DFAed Johnson
Cleveland Indians - Designated P Jason Johnson for assignment.
This is what should have happened this winter:
Cleveland Indians - Purchased the contract of P Jeremy Sowers.
This is what did:
Cleveland Indians - Signed P Jason Johnson to a 1-year contract worth $4 million.
While I generally like Mark Shapiro, this move puzzled me from the start. The Indians had their first-round pick out of Vanderbilt blowing through the minors and a rotation spot wide open. A lot of teams, if not giving the job to them outright, would at least tell their hot prospect that they’d compete for the job in the spring with some other invites. The Indians, confoundingly, decided to go another route, signing Jason Johnson to the $4 million deal and giving Sowers all of 2 starts to win a job that he couldn’t possibly win before sending him to minor-league camp. Johnson, of course, did nothing in the spring training to show that he deserved the job, but while Johnson’s helping keep the Indians in 4th place with his 5.96 ERA, Jeremy Sowers has been wasting his time in Buffalo.
The Tigers had a similar decision to make this offseason with Justin Verlander. While they didn’t give Verlander a job in the rotation on a silver platter, they did leave open a chance for him to grab the opportunity in the spring. He was a little wild, but they found their boy and stuck him in the rotation and now they have a ROY candidate (the last Tiger to win was Lou Whitaker in 1978).
Now, I don’t expect Sowers to jump in and pitch as well as Verlander has, but I’m a big believer in giving your top prospects opportunities to excel. The Tigers have done that with Verlander and again, while I generally like Indians management, they have not given Sowers the same space to step up.
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