BALTIMORE - MAY 14: Matt LaPorta #7 of the Cleveland Indians walks to the dugout after striking out against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on May 14, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
In a surprising move Tuesday the Indians optioned first baseman Matt LaPorta to Class AAA Columbus to make room for right-hander Jeanmar Gomez on the 25-man roster. Gomez will start against Oakland on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
LaPorta, one of the few healthy regulars left on the Indians, has had a disappointing year. He's hitting .238 (76-for-319) with 18 doubles, 11 homers and 44 RBI in 97 games.
Nobody hits on every trade. I'm going to guess that almost exactly the same front-office personnel and front-office processes were in place when the Indians traded Bartolo Colon for Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips and when they traded CC Sabathia for Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson.
Sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss, but rarely is the contrast between hit and miss so stark as it's been for the Indians in these two deals.
LaPorta was the seventh pick in the 2007 June draft; roughly one year later, he was tearing up the double-A Southern League. Granted, he wasn't young for that circuit, at all. But the general consensus was that he would develop into a good major-league hitter, at least.
Brantley was a pretty good prospect, too, and has actually been fairly useful to the Indians.
When the Indians traded Bartolo Colon, they got three future stars.
When the Indians traded CC Sabathia, they got zero future stars.
The average, one-and-a-half stars, is probably about what you would expect when trading two superstar pitchers with two months left on their contracts. At best. On balance, the Indians made about as well as they could have. Which doesn't really help much now, since Sizemore's hurt and Lee and Phillips are long gone.