Experts are debating the reasons for the lack of offense in this year's FIFA World Cup. One theory proposes that the ball being used might be contributing to the proliferation of low-scoring matches.
This theory seems to make sense. It is, after all, a soccer ball.
Lack of scoring aside, the World Cup is an enrapturing event. You've got national pride on the line, which raises the emotional barometer several notches, yet you maintain the comforting familiarity that the outcome could ultimately be decided by a bumbling referee.
The World Cup lasts one month. This is helpful, considering I'll need at least that long to decipher what I'm watching. But since we have such long breaks between goals, let's take a gander at what's landed in the Indians Inbox this week, shall we?
I know they are just rumors, but I don't understand why Fausto Carmona's name comes up so much as someone the Indians may trade. He might never go 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA again, but he should be a solid starter to keep around and be a part of this team when it can contend again. Do the Indians not share that view? -- Chris W., Columbus, Ohio
Carmona's name began to churn in the rumor mill over the winter, which made absolutely no sense. He was coming off two disastrous seasons, so the Indians would have certainly been selling low.
Now that the 26-year-old Carmona has controlled his walks and become an effective starter again, he actually does possess trade value. He's locked in for $6.1 million in 2011, with a $7 million club option in 2012, a $9 million club option in 2013 and a $12 million club option in 2014. It's too early to know if Carmona can sustain his performance in the first half, but that's shaping up to be a potentially club-friendly deal.
Ultimately, if an offer is made for Carmona, the Indians will have to ask themselves if they'd be selling high or selling prematurely. Is what we're seeing from Carmona real and sustainable, or will it prove as fleeting as that '07 dominance?
My opinion is that if the Indians are serious about contending next year, they'll keep Carmona. As we discussed in the last Inbox, this club's rotation outlook continues to look flimsy, as none of the top pitching prospects in Triple-A Columbus has stepped forward with an eye-catching season. You can't win without starting pitching, obviously, and Carmona represents affordable upside.
If the Indians are more inclined to prolong this rebuilding period by acquiring as many top-flight prospects as possible, they'll cash in on Carmona now. Who knows? His value might never be higher if he flames out again.
With the appearance of the Indians going with the youth movement, do you see them trading away Jhonny Peralta and promoting Jared Goedert from Triple-A to see what he can do until Lonnie Chisenhall is ready? -- Daniel K., Cayce, S.C.
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The Indians should certainly give strong consideration to any reasonable offer for Peralta's services. It's hard to imagine them exercising his $7 million option for next year, so best to explore his value now. Given Peralta's shaky defensive play and average contributions at the plate, I wouldn't expect the returns to be overwhelming. But if a deal is made, the Tribe could stick Andy Marte at third for the remainder of the season or give Goedert a shot.
Chisenhall certainly projects as the future at third base but likely won't be ready by Opening Day 2011. Goedert (.325 average/.922 OPS at Double-A Akron; .375 average/1.194 OPS at Columbus) is putting up numbers that lead you to believe he could be a bridge to Chisenhall.
Keep in mind that this is the same Goedert who entered the year with a career Minor League batting average of .264 and OPS of .767. He had just one outstanding stretch, before this season, and that came when he hit 16 homers and had a 1.190 OPS in 46 games at Lake County in 2007. At 25, it could be that he's put it all together to become a viable prospect. It's hard to say for certain, but he's done nothing but hit this year.
With the recent surge by Travis Hafner, is now the time to unload this overpaid former superstar? -- Don D., Chicago
Hafner has four homers in his last eight games started. If there's an American League team that thinks that's worth the remainder of his $11.5 million contract this year and the $28.75 million he's owed over the next three years, I'm sure the Indians would love to listen.
I have been a Tribe fan for 50 years and have grown very fond of Chief Wahoo. I have a concern that there is a subtle [maybe not so subtle] play afoot to gradually eliminate the Chief Wahoo logo. As I see new gear hitting the market, it is evident that the script "I" or block "C" have become more prevalent, and, where included, Wahoo is smaller. Maybe I am paranoid, but it feels like the end is near. -- Jeff K., Orange County, Calif.
The other day, I attended the grand opening of the Indians' new Team Shop in Fairview Park. They were selling toasters that emblazon the Chief Wahoo logo onto your Wonder Bread. Sure, you can cover him with grape jelly, but he's not going anywhere.
Wahoo is not as visible in Progressive Field as he once was, and the Indians have certainly diversified their marketing offerings over the years with the prevalence of alternate logos. That might partly be to appease those offended by Wahoo, though it also makes sense, from a business perspective. The Tribe is far from the only team in professional sports to use multiple logos.
In response to your request for a new nickname for Carlos Santana, how about "The Clone," because he is so much like Victor Martinez? He even wears the same number. -- Adam H., Worcester, Mass.Santana reminds me of Bamm-Bamm Rubble from the "Flintstones" with his swing at the plate. So I vote that his nickname be "Bamm Bamm." What do you think? -- Rob, Columbus, Ohio
My fondness and appreciation for my readers is well-documented. But if this is really the best you can do, I'm sticking with "C-Sant."
Is it possible for the Tribe to tie Santana up in a long-term contract now that he is in the bigs? -- Garry J., Lakeland, Fla.
It wouldn't be unheard of. In 2006, the Tribe signed Sizemore to a long-term deal when he had less than two years of big league service time. In 2008, the Rays took that notion a step further when they locked up Evan Longoria to a nine-year deal, mere days after his Major League debut.
The Indians traditionally don't negotiate with players in-season. Even if they were to explore such a deal with Santana, those talks probably wouldn't come until the winter.
For 20 seconds I was excited about Santana's promotion. I thought about how he's crushed Minor League pitching and advanced briskly through the Minors. I thought about how he has most of the hallmarks of a prospect that will one day develop into a top-tier Major League player. Then I realized if he ever became a top-tier Major Leaguer, he'll skip town the first chance he gets for a huge contract or be traded before he can skip town. I can't get excited about the potential of success. Is there a cure, or am I just hopeless? -- Monty R., Beaver Dam, Wis.
Has it really come to this, Monty? The Indians have contractual control of Santana through at least 2016. If you can't get excited about 2010 because you're worried about 2016, I don't know what to tell you. I guess I'd advise you not to buy a new car or get a pet dog.
What's the latest on Anthony Reyes' recovery from Tommy John surgery? -- Chris C., Jackson, Ohio
Last I heard, Reyes continued to progress on-schedule and should be ready to begin pitching in Minor League games within the next few weeks.
Does Austin Kearns ever smile or look happy? I have seen him hit left, right and center. I have seen him come home and nary a smile or a laugh has shown on his face. Is he just a serious chap? -- Colin G., Hong Kong
Kearns is easily one of the most laid-back people I've ever encountered. I wouldn't mistake that demeanor for a lack of effort, as Kearns is known to have a strong work ethic. To answer your question, I'd submit that as well as this season has gone for Kearns on the personal front, his team hasn't given him much to smile about.
And finally ... Having seen Trevor Crowe play in-person this year, I'm convinced that, aside from power, he's actually a better overall player than Grady Sizemore. Would there ever be a possibility of Sizemore moving to first base due to his weak arm? -- Ed D., Baltimore
I think I'll just let this submission hang in the Internet stratosphere for all to gawk at in amazement.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.