This is the kind of thing that sticks in the craws of Cleveland fans. The Indians outrighted first baseman Matt LaPorta to triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, according to R.J. White of CBS Sports. The move clears space on their 40-man roster ahead of the Winter Meetings and Rule 5 draft.
LaPorta was the centerpiece of the trade that sent C.C. Sabathia from the Indians to the Milwaukee Brewers in July of 2008. He was widely considered a top-25 prospect in all of baseball, a big right-handed bat with power, patience and an ability to make contact. He was called up to the Indians in May of 2009, but struggled to hit consistently. He was given much longer auditions in 2010 and 2011, but again failed to capitalize on the opportunity and potential. 2012 was his nadir, spending most of the season in Columbus and struggling mightily in 22 games with the Indians as a September call-up.
LaPorta was supposed to anchor the lineup for this rebuilt Indians' team following the trades of Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned, and now the Indians are pondering trading off stars Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo in another attempt at rebuilding.