This week the hot stove season in baseball went crazy early. Heck, the winter meetings, usually the hub of off-season activity doesn’t start until tomorrow.
Tuesday saw a large number of trades, mostly involving the Oakland A’s, and the high-profile signing of OF Jacoby Ellsbury by the Yankees.
Yesterday, Robinson Cano inked a ten-year pact with the Mariners, and the Yankees feeling a need to keep paying players ridiculous amounts of cash, signed OF Carlos Beltran.
Of course, Indians’ fans are filled with angst because so far, GM Chris Antonetti has really only made one move, getting free agent OF David Murphy from Texas to platoon in the outfield.
In that time, Cleveland has lost two starting pitchers in Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, and several bullpen pieces, most notably Joe Smith and Chris Perez.
We are telling fans to relax, take a deep breath. The Tribe will make some moves to improve this club soon.
You see, most baseball experts will tell you that the players who have already signed are being overpaid. Hasn’t Seattle learned from the Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols deals that paying huge amounts of money to a 41-year old player isn’t a good idea?
Kazmir received two years at $11 million per season. With his recent past of pitching in the independent league, would you feel comfortable paying him that kind of money?
As for Smith, we’ve heard several people on MLB Network saying there are many relievers on the same level as the former Tribesman that will be paid far less in 2014.
There are still some quality starting pitchers on the market and our guess is the Tribe is interested in them. The two most interesting names are former Indian Bartolo Colon, who will turn 41 next season, but he won 18 games for Oakland in ’13 and threw 190 innings. His arm is still good because he throws mostly fastballs.
Another veteran arm Cleveland could have interest in is Bronson Arroyo, who pitched for Terry Francona in Boston. Arroyo will turn 37 in a few months, but has thrown 199 innings or more for nine consecutive seasons, and has a career ERA of 4.19. He did very well in Cincinnati despite pitching in a home stadium known for offense.
Antonetti could also work the trade market. Since last winter, SS Asdrubal Cabrera’s name has been bandied about as bait, and it may be time to pull the trigger with top prospect Francisco Lindor nearing ready status.
Stephan Drew is still available and could be intriguing as a one year bridge to Lindor if Cabrera is indeed dealt.
As for the bullpen, Antonetti could sign a veteran arm, but he has several options on the roster to look at as well. The Tribe kept Blake Wood, who they signed last year after Tommy John surgery, and the former Royal was throwing in the high 90’s in his September call up. They also will have Frank Herrmann back too.
And they have youngsters like C.C. Lee, who got some big league time in 2013, and another hard thrower in Austin Adams, who had elbow surgery in 2012.
Just because the Indians didn’t spend money like crazy so far doesn’t mean they won’t improve this ballclub. Hopefully, Antonetti remembers 2007 when the Tribe made the post-season, and followed it up by doing nothing in the off-season.