Friday, August 7, 2015

Goodbye Brohio (and the rest)

over the past 10 days, the Indians have done some dealing and today specifically, on August 7, a big deal went down. so i'm going to take a minute to say goodbye to the 5 men who started 2015 as Cleveland Indians and will now be finishing their years elsewhere. usually i reserve these types of blogs for the guys who've spent a long duration of time with the team, but i will recognize everybody here because i feel like that's the right thing to do.

i briefly acknowledged the David Murphy trade in my latest Brantley blog, but i didn't get into all the details. he was traded on July 28 to the Los Angeles Angels for Double A shortstop, Eric Stamets. Murph's only been with the Indians since 2014 and had the most impact this season, when he was platooning with Ryan Raburn and playing mainly against right-handed starters. he seemed like a nice guy, hell his nickname was "Good Guy." i never had any interaction with him. in all the games i went to in the past 2 years--17 to this point--he never once signed an autograph. never before a game or after in the players parking lot. that disappointed me. but i wish him, his wife Andrea, his daughters Faith and Madison, and son Cole all the best.

Murphy had this to say a few days after the trade:
"we were struggling, we were in a bad spot. but when you start a season with a group of guys and you come to spring training with a set of goals, you want to see those goals through. i'm not a player who had a no-trade clause or had a say in it. they could do what they wanted and they traded me here. where we were at, i didn't know which direction the team was going to go in. you have to consider yourself buyers or sellers at some point. they are still in a position where they can make a run and win, but after we lost five or six in a row we were in a tough spot. i guess they had to make a decision."

i also mentioned the Brandon Moss trade in my last Brantley blog, again without all the details. he was traded on July 30 to the St. Louis Cardinals for Class A left-handed pitcher Rob Kaminsky (who's now pitching with the Lynchburg Hillcats). we acquired Moss during the offseason for minor league 2nd baseman Joey Wendle. while Moss started the season out in a promising manner, he was never the "big" bat that fans were clamoring for. other than hitting an occasional home run, he did more harm than good at the plate. and once again, in the 8 games that i've been to this season, i never saw "Mossy" sign autographs before or after games. that's another baseball card i can put in my unsigned collection. i wish Brandon, his wife Allison, and sons Brody and Jaden good luck in the future.

here's what Murphy thought about the Moss trade: "it definitely was what he needed. for some reason Progressive Field was not friendly to him. he just couldn't get that off his back. it was good to see him get a big hit Sunday. he obviously went to a great team. i wish him the best." (thanks to Paul Hoynes for the quotes.)

i never wrote anything about the trade of lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski. he was traded on July 31, right before the deadline, to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Abraham Almonte, who will be playing in Triple A Columbus with the Clippers. this was Zep's 3rd season with the Indians and while he was doing a good job out of the bullpen, the Tribe felt they had better, cheaper lefty relievers in their system. so to save themselves a headache next year when "Scrabble" would be eligible for arbitration, they let him go now. same story here, 2 and a half seasons, no autograph, never saw him sign.

and finally today, on August 7, the Indians traded Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Chris Johnson. they also sent $15 million to Atlanta. this trade was done so that the Indians would not be handcuffed next year as far as payroll and roster options. i'd say this was a good deal because i didn't think anybody would want either of these guys because of their contracts and injury histories. overall, the signings of these 2 did not work out, BUT we cannot forget that without these 2 guys, the Indians don't get to that wild card playoff game in 2013.

let me start with Bourn. he came here right before spring training 2013 began. (omg and do you remember how mad i was that we got him? refer to my Michael Bourn is the Player Michael Brantley Will Now Never Become blog if you don't. i was WAY off base with that lol) he had hamstring problems for a large portion of 2013 and 2014 that kept him from being the speed demon he was supposed to be and had been for the Braves in the past. how funny that this will be somewhat of a homecoming for him. this signing just didn't turn out the way everyone had hoped. this season he was healthy, but wasn't playing very well. Terry Francona even moved him out of the leadoff spot on April 26 because he was not getting on base and setting the table like a leadoff man should. he recently started playing better, but this is a deal i cannot complain about. i can complain that Bourn never signed autographs after games in the players parking lot though. he did sign before games a couple of times when i went to Cleveland, but i was never fortunate enough to be in the section that "Bournie" was signing at. typical. i wish Michael, his wife Nikita, his son Bryson, and his daughter Blair well.

when Bourn was told that he was traded to Atlanta, he admitted "it surprised me. i had no clue. but i'm always ready in baseball. you never know what's going to happen. i've seen it happen before and i'll probably see it happen again."

more from Bourn: "in 2014, we had a chance. we were in it for the most part until the last week. this year, we hadn't played over .500 baseball the whole year to me, so that's what happens in sports. you wish it didn't, but you see it happen all the time. they have some good pieces here in Brant and Kip, the pitching staff, of course. they've got young talent in Lindor and Urshela, so they're going to develop them. i think they're getting Chris Johnson back in the trade, so they'll still have pieces with what they already have. good luck to them, unless they're playing against me."

he went on to say, "i had great times here, playing the playoff game, just being in the race. i love being in the race at that time because of the atmosphere and every day coming to the field is a joy."

now Swisher. oh Swish, what is there to say? he was signed in the offseason before 2013 began as well, so it's appropriate that they were both traded together. he too was injured a lot as an Indian, with shoulder and knee issues that wouldn't quit. recently Swish had been out on his rehab assignment and was close to rejoining the Tribe. now he's off to Atlanta. when the Indians signed him, he was supposed to be like the poster boy for the team, with his Columbus and Buckeye ties and all. at the time of this acquisition, i was admittedly skeptical. while with the New York Yankees, i saw Swisher as a mediocre player made better by the heavy NY hitters that he was surrounded by. so when he came here, i thought he was going to look like the guy he really was, average. maybe things would have been different if he could have stayed healthy, but we'll never know. would it surprise anyone if i told you that in 2 and a half years, i never got Swisher's autograph? Mr. Brohio signed ONCE after a game i was at in the players parking lot, but only for a few people and i was not one of the lucky ones, of course. there were many fans saying how Swish can only sign for a certain # of people at a time or his signature loses value. i have no idea if that's true but i witnessed first hand that he was not big on signing for fans.

the most exciting thing about Nick's signing to me was that his wife, JoAnna Garcia, would be coming to Cleveland. i know most people know her for being on the TV show Reba, but i've been watching her on TV since her Are You Afraid Of The Dark? days on Nickelodeon. i also enjoyed her short-lived series "Privileged" on the CW and am currently watching her performance as Betty Grissom on The Astronaut Wives Club on ABC. i had a brief interaction with Jo after a game in the players parking lot. she was putting her daughter Emme in the car while my father and i were shouting at her from the far gate. we told her we loved her and i said i couldn't wait to watch her new show, and she yelled back to us that that meant so much to her and she thanked us. what a sweet woman.

JoAnna Garcia with baby Emme talking to me after the May 9, 2015 game

i'm super bummed i got never got to take an actual photo with her. guess it wasn't meant to be. O-H! goodbye. i wish nothing but good things for Nick, JoAnna, and their daughter Emerson Jay.

here's what Swish had to say after being informed he was traded: "it kind of caught me off guard. you never think it's going to be you. then i came in here [Friday] and got the news. i really didn't know what was going on in the locker room. i know this is a great clubhouse. we have a lot of great guys in here. i wish them the best of luck. we weren't playing well and i thought i could bring some energy and leadership in this locker room. but i wasn't able to do it on the field. that's the biggest thing. now i'm ready to do it on the field. it just won't be here."

Swish continued, "i think more than anything, i'd like to thank the fans for all they've done--the ones that supported me through all this time. this was the place it all started for me. it didn't go exactly the way i wanted it to, but baseball is a game. there's always moves being made. for myself, for Atlanta, for as bad as they wanted us, man, i'll go down there. you always want to go where you're wanted." (thanks to Joe Noga, Jordan Bastian, and Zack Meisel for these quotes.)

he also tweeted this the day after he was traded, right after he touched down in Atlanta: "although things didn't work out the way i hoped it's been great to play in the O-H. thank you to the fans! i wish this organization the best."

in my final farewell to all 5 former Indians, i just want to say thanks for the memories. good or bad, you gave everyone something to talk about. such a shame that NONE of you ever signed for me lol but good luck to all of you in your futures as professional baseball players.

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