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Shapiro Speaks

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Mark Shapiro talked with Jim Ingraham over the All-Star Break, and said some interesting and revealing things:

On the bullpen problems:

Our bullpen was really good last year because our starters were getting us into the seventh inning every night. Our bullpen is good now, when our starters give us seven innings. It's when you have to pitch your middle relievers so much -- that's not good. Middle relievers aren't meant to be in there that frequently. And last year our middle relievers were good. They kept us in games. That's why we had so many one-run losses, the middle relievers allowed us to stay close. Games didn't get away from us.

I don't think that entirely covers why the bullpen has been so bad. Sure, middle relievers as a rule are going to be your weakest link, but the Indians didn't have anybody reliable setting up Bob Wickman. In the past couple of years, the Indians have been able to find guys to plug into the bullpen even after the season began, but not this year.

On Jhonny Peralta:

I guess you're probably pointing toward Jhonny Peralta. At the end of the year we're going to look up and Peralta's going to have had a good offensive year, a disappointing defensive year, but nothing that he can't address and get better at. The less money you've got, the more efficiency you've got to have in your payroll, meaning the more younger players you've got to have. And the more younger players you have, the harder it is to contend. It's a very simple equation. Not impossible, just more challenging.

In other words, his defensive shortcomings aren't really due to physical limitations, but mental and mechanical lapses. Peralta is probably the one guy on the team who seems to need a wakeup call. This is one situation where Alex Cora would have been useful.

On the Eduardo Perez deal and trading deadline:

The Eduardo Perez trade, it may be hard to believe, but even if we were five games up in the standings we still would have had to consider making that deal. That's how much we liked the player we were getting, and the fact that it addressed a need we had. So I think if the right trade is there, for some one-year veteran guys. But if we don't have a replaceable answer -- I felt we did for Perez, between Franklin Gutierrez and Victor playing first, I felt like we had alternatives. If it's a position that we don't have any alternative, of a quality major league player who can give us a chance to win every night, we'd have to be bowled over.

Aaron Boone and Todd Hollandsworth fit that template, Ronnie Belliard and Bob Wickman less so. Still, the latter two are going to fetch more on the trade market than the former pair. I don't think the Indians want Joe Inglett starting at second base, but at some point you take the hit if you get the right return.

Asdrubal Cabrera seems to have been on the Indians' "wish list," a group of prospects that the front office has previously identified. Shapiro's description of the deal sounded a lot like when they acquired Travis Hafner, so hopefully that bodes well for Cabrera.

There's much, much more, so I urge you to read the entire thing.