Tuesday, July 17, 2012

LaPorta, Canzler have to be an upgrade, don't they?

OK, has everybody seen enough?

Does anyone want to see more of Shelley Duncan's bat flailing away in the night-time air of Progressive Field? Likewise, will anyone miss seeing past-his-prime Johnny Damon needing two cutoff men to get the ball from the warning track to the infield?

Along those same lines, is Casey Kotchman nearing some sort of record for infield dribblers?

It's time for the Indians to promote Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler from Triple-A Columbus and give the Indians' offense a shot in the arm it needs to make a push for a Central Division championship or AL wild card berth..

LaPorta is hitting. 286 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI. Why not plug him into left field and put him, say, in the No. 7 slot in the batting order? His offensive productivity CAN'T be any worse than the left-field triumvirate of Duncan, Damon and defensive replacement Aaron Cunningham, who have combined for 14 home runs and 47 RBI.

There's no way LaPorta is worse in the field than Duncan or Damon. Let one or both of them walk, bring up LaPorta and keep Cunningham for a defensive replacement if you want. Just get LaPorta's bat in Cleveland, and get it here quick.

Canzler (.277, 14, 53) deserves a shot, too, and is a good fit if he can play first base. He's an offensive threat, something neither Jack Hannahan nor Kotchman are.

Why should the Indians do it? Because heading into Tuesday's game at Tampa Bay, the Indians are three games out of first place in the American League Central.

That's also why the Indians WON'T make the move. A roster upheaval in the midst of a pennant race, by bringing up two youngsters and releasing two veterans like, say, Duncan and Damon, will be deemed as too risky.

"We're only three games out," will be the battle cry.

That's the reason the moves SHOULD be made. For 89 games, the Indians have been mediocre. Hovering around .500 with a 46-43 record attests to that. The team's .258 batting average and 82 home runs are both in the bottom half of the major league baseball rankings.

Why not give the offense some help with the promotion of LaPorta and Canzler? The offense can't get any more punchless than it already is, and it's not like Duncan and Damon are tearing things up offensively or defensively in left field.

The Indians have played more than half of their 162 regular-season games. With their lack of any sort of productivity in left field, and lack of offensive production at the corner infield spots, they can be considered fortunate to be only three games out of the division lead today.

If they finish three games - or worse - out of the playoff picture, they may very well end up regret not making a move to LaPorta and Canzler when they had the opportunity to do so.

- John Kampf


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