Saturday, August 05, 2006

Carmona: 0-for-3

Three save opportunities, three game-winning hits surrendered.
After tonight's 4-3 loss to the Tigers, Eric Wedge and Mark Shapiro might be the only two people on the face of the Earth who aren't yet convinced that the Fausto Carmona closer experiment should be put out of its misery.
Carmona isn't a closer. He is a starter who did some admirable fill-in work for a depleted bullpen. But he is not the closer of the future. He's not the closer of the present. He's not a closer, period.
You know it, I know it. It remains to be seen whether Wedge and Shapiro can bring themselves to admit it.
This isn't a rash judgment. We should have seen it coming. Carmona is a starter. He was never schooled in the art of the save. And, then, because of a couple of good months of fill-in relief, he's suddenly the next great fireman?
Excuse me, but aren't the Indians supposed to be the logical team in town? Aren't they supposed to be led by a band of business eggheads who pass every player through a state-of-the-art computer program before making a decision on him?
Because this Carmona decision is really starting to reek of a Butch Davis-esque flight of fancy, rooted in nothing more firm than a "because I said so" assertion.
One of the worst aspects of Davis' character was that he couldn't bring himself to admit a wrong decision, even as seasons crumbled around him. If the Wedgiro Twins continue to run Carmona out there for more emotionally-scarring dramatic losses, they will be exposed as Davis clones.
In the decision to throw an ill-equipped Carmona to the ninth-inning wolves, I see more evidence of an alarming talent-evaluation trend with Indians management. As I have written before, they missed badly on gauging the readiness of Fernando Cabrera and Jason Davis to be late-inning relievers. In Carmona, I see an even more extreme example of a misread by the Indians.
Whatever is going on, Indians management is not developing a good picture of what their young pitchers are and aren't capable of. It's one thing to develop talent. It's another to know how to properly use it.
Carmona has a great arm, an arm that can help the Indians in some form in the coming years. It would be a shame to ruin his confidence by allowing him to be repeatedly gored in save situations.
If this keeps happening, it's a story that is going to write its own end: a frustrated Indians front office shipping an emotionally-wrecked Carmona off to another team for peanuts, and then all of us watching as Carmona blossoms into a Cy Young Award winner in another team's uniform.

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