"I love these guys."
Call it a eulogy of sorts, because the popular Gerut was being shuttled off to the Cubs for Jason Dubois, a 26-year-old outfielder. Dubois had spent most of the '05 season in the Majors, where he batted .239 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 52 games.
Last season at Triple-A Iowa, Dubois hit .316 (122-for-386) with 31 home runs and 99 RBIs in 109 games. He was fifth in the Pacific Coast League in RBIs, tied for fifth in home runs and fourth with a .630 slugging percentage.
"We looked at the trade as an opportunity to add a right-handed with a lot of offensive potential," assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He's a different type of player than Jody in a lot of respects.
"We feel like he complements the guys currently on our roster very well."
Unlike Gerut, Dubois isn't a center fielder. He's a corner outfielder, although he's played a little bit of first base.
In making the move, the Indians are not picking up a proven run-producer. Dubois hasn't yet, as Antonetti said, reached his potential as a player. Though he owns a career Minor League batting average of .301 with 91 home runs and 355 RBIs in 460 games, he's hit just .236 in the Majors.
So the decision to move the 27-year-old Gerut, the team's player rep, seemed to reflect the team's disappointment in Gerut's inability to show the power he displayed in 2003 when he was named The Sporting News Rookie of the Year.
Since that rookie year, Gerut has had knee problems. He spent the last part of the 2004 season on the disabled list and had surgery on his right knee Sept. 19. He'd been trying to rehab it ever since.
After starting the '05 season in extended Spring Training, Gerut was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on May 18. He had a .275 average, one homer and 12 RBIs after Monday's game.
One Major League scout expected the 27-year-old Gerut to eat up the outfield innings that Corey Patterson had for the Cubs. Patterson was demoted to Iowa last week.
"Obviously, I had an injury that was pretty serious and I was still coming back from," Gerut said. "There's nothing wrong with the way I played this year with the playing time that I've had.
"We've had a situation here where there were four outfielders for three spots. What are you gonna do with that?"