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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 28, 2009

MLB: Indians on DeRosa trade: 'It's our fault'

Associated Press

CLEVELAND Mark DeRosa's three-month stay in Cleveland was much shorter than anybody envisioned, and his former teammates are putting the blame squarely on themselves.

"I don't think the intention was to get him for a couple months and then trade him," AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee said Sunday.

The versatile DeRosa was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night for right-hander Chris Perez, who's expected to join the Indians bullpen Monday, and a player to be named later.

The move came after Cleveland, expecting to be competitive this season, acquired DeRosa from the Chicago Cubs on New Year's Eve for three minor-league pitchers.

"This is the result of how we've played as a team," Indians closer Kerry Wood said. "This is nobody's fault but ours. We have underachieved as a team and forced the front office to try and do what they can to make us stronger.

"We lost a good player, a leader, but at the same time are getting players we hope can help."

The Indians entered the final game of an interleague series Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds last in the AL Central.

General manager Mark Shapiro said the deal was made to help a beleaguered bullpen that has blown half of its 26 save chances and has a 4.97 relief ERA that's next-to-last in the AL.

"We feel we've acquired a pitcher whose upside is pitching in the back end of the bullpen," Shapiro said of Perez, who will turn 24 on July 1. "His fastball is 93 to 95 (mph) and has touched 98, he's got a swing-and-miss slider, but has some development to do."

The Indians are not involved in any other trade talks, Shapiro said, but he'll continue to try and make improvements to a team that he believed would be a postseason contender.

Lee, who will be entering the option year of his contract, isn't sure if he'll still be with the Indians next season.

"Until you have a no-trade clause in your contract, there's always a chance something will happen," said the left-hander, whose 4-6 record despite a 2.92 ERA has been the result of the bad bullpen and a lack of offensive support.

"It is up to (the front office) to mix, match and make it work. My job is to go out and pitch."

While DeRosa was considered a key player, the Indians have others capable of filling in.

Jhonny Peralta has been moved from shortstop to third base, where DeRosa opened the season. Asdrubal Cabrera, activated Sunday from the disabled list, is expected to move full-time from second base to short, and rookie Luis Valbuena and veteran Jamey Carroll will play second.

"De-Ro is a great player and great in the clubhouse," designated hitter Travis Hafner said. "We're going to miss him.

"At the same time, this team has a lot of depth at positions and we're still looking to win as many games as we can. Baseball can be funny. You plan one thing and then something else you never expected makes you a winner."