Cleveland Indians first baseman/left fielder Matt LaPorta underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left hip Thursday, October 18, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. LaPorta spent the main part of the 2012 season playing for the Tribe's class AAA affiliate Columbus Clippers. He did see action in an Indians uniform during 22 games, hitting .241 with an unimpressive one home run and five RBIs.
Given a three-to-four month recovery period, Matt LaPorta remains probable to begin spring training on time when the occasion arrives. As everything stands currently, the Indians need to address likely vacancies at first base, left field, and designated hitter. Admittedly, LaPorta doesn't appear a top candidate to fill these positions. However, he can still offer competition.
In fairness to LaPorta, the Cleveland Indians don't possess too many internal options to get excited about. I know outside first baseman/left fielder Russ Canzler I lack enthusiasm towards in-house candidates. I'm putting my overly optimistic 2013 contention hopes into Cleveland utilizing the money they will save from expectedly declining designated hitter Travis Hafner's $13 million and starter Roberto Hernandez's $6 million club options.
Unfortunately Travis Hafner's $13 million option includes a $2.75 million buyout so either way the injury prone veteran will cost the Indians money. On the bright side if Cleveland declines both Hafner and Hernandez's options like expected, the team still frees up $16.25 million in payroll. Add an $8 million between first baseman Casey Kotchman and outfielder Grady Sizemore's expiring contracts and suddenly the free capital totals $24.25 million.
Now that $24.25 million shrinks in size once you calculate in the Indians' needs. I mean I could proceed to write a tale featuring countless Tribe woes. Besides the aforementioned positions, Cleveland needs to pick up at least one starting pitcher. Plus salary increases from arbitration eligible players will certainly eat up a small portion of the previously discussed $24.25 million. Yet instead let me return to today's topic, Matt LaPorta.
Talking to my father regarding LaPorta's surgery, he questioned whether the reason the first baseman suffered less than desirable 2012 production stems from LaPorta harboring the injury throughout the season. After all Matt LaPorta didn't exactly metaphorically own class AAA pitching down in Columbus.
Even if my father's speculation proves spot on, I'm not convinced Matt LaPorta holds a future with the Cleveland Indians. Yep, I no longer consider myself a LaPorta fan. He seems like a nice guy so I wish him the best, but his career big league numbers underwhelm. The Tribe should intently explore a lineup upgrade.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
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