Monday, December 03, 2007

Music City Machinations

A mildly disappointing first day in Nashville as Arizona moved LF Carlos Quentin for a promising Low-A 1B to the South Side of Chicago. While I’ve been pushing for Quentin for a while (and it certainly will be easy to track how his career path continues as he’ll be joining the AL Central), the fact that Quentin and Lastings Milledge (both identified as possible solutions in LF for the Tribe via trade) have both been moved for less than overwhelming packages makes me think that Shapiro and the boys had their reservations about both of them. One would think that if the Tribe thought highly enough of either Quentin or Milledge that they could put together a package that would top what the D-Backs and Mets received. The fact that the Diamondbacks are still dying for a starting pitcher means that the Indians either didn’t want to deal a high-level prospect for Quentin or other options remain on the horizon.

One rumor fire that refuses to be put out is that Jason Bay is the subject of trade speculation for Cliff Lee and Kelly Shoppach. Not sure I get it from the Pirates’ perspective as Bay is their biggest trading chip and trading for a pitcher that was demoted in the middle of 2007 and a catcher who MIGHT translate to an MLB catcher would certainly fall under the category of “selling low” on Bay. Again, as I said yesterday, I don’t know who the Indians would find to be their backup catcher if Shoppach is dealt, but filling a hole in LF (whether it be Bay or someone else) would mean that there are a quite a few chips (Dellucci, Michaels, Francisco, Choo) that could be moved to fill the backup catcher spot on the roster.

Interestingly, Shapiro was on the Baseball Tonight Winter Meetings Show and said that having 7 starters is a luxury that the Indians are comfortable with heading into 2008 as rotation depth is never a bad thing. Then something interesting happened…Gammons (who is a big fan of Shapiro) kept asking about Cliff Lee – very specifically – and where he fit into the plan. Shapiro went out of his way to praise Lee, pointing out that he has won 18 games in MLB, he’s under contract for 3 more years on an affordable contract, and that he (according to Shapiro this afternoon) figures in very significantly for the 2008 team. Not to go all Ollie Stone on you, but what was strange was that it almost sounded like a plant Gammons to give Shapiro an opportunity to hype up Lee to any of the other GM’s minions who were undoubtedly tuned in to the show. It was almost like Shapiro wanted somebody to think (on their own), “yeah, Cliff Lee was pretty good a few years ago and he would cost less than Kyle Lohse…get the Indians on the phone.”

Of course, that could be me just looking WAY too far into this, but the fact that Lee is out of options meaning he would have to break camp with the team (instead of Laffey or Sowers who would join Miller in the Buffalo rotation, assuming Byrd isn’t suspended) makes me think more and more that Shapiro was simply attempting to put more polish on Lee’s apple via ESPN and Gammons.

The other interesting comment by Shapiro was that he stated that he didn’t really care if Santana went to New York or Boston because it would move Santana out of the division. He went on to say that if the Indians are worried about Santana pitching for one of the AL East teams in the playoffs against the Tribe that it meant that the Indians were in the playoffs – where anything can happen. Shapiro also said that he’d be most interested in the package of prospects that went to Minnesota as the right group of prospects would go a long way to giving the Twins a legitimate base of players to consistently contend – at Minnesota’s desired price.

From another perspective, if Santana remains a Twin (and doesn’t negotiate a new deal with the team that acquires him from Minnesota), the bar for the Sabathia negotiations doesn’t go through the roof in one fell swoop (with the 6 to 7 year deal that Gammons is reporting that Santana is seeking, worth between $120M and $175M) and would keep the Indians’ bargaining comparables of Zambrano, Oswalt, and Buehrle intact. Don’t think that Shapiro’s not aware of the implication as he told reporters, "What's more important for you guys to focus on is Peavy, not Santana. That deal is more important, because it's done and Santana is fiction."

By the way, since the Yahoo Rumors Page that I linked yesterday isn’t apparently being used for the Winter Meetings, here’s the WWL Blog page (but beware that it includes anything that the painfully-tan Steve Phillips writes), Rotoworld’s MLB page, and the Rosenthal page. Also, here’s the excellent analysis page that serial poster doby14 linked in the comments section that comments on the deals that ARE done.

Things are heating up in Nashville and, even if the DiaBride couldn’t be less thrilled about “three guys in suits or two guys in polo shirts standing in a hotel lobby” taking up space on the DVR in the beginning of December but as a wise man recently said “There’s Only One December”.

1 comment:

Baltimoran said...

detroit getting cabrera and dontrelle...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!