Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Lazy Sunday Throwing Logs on the Hot Stove

The Winter Meetings are starting!
The Winter Meetings are starting!
Perhaps we’ll have more to discuss than what Tomo Ohka means to the Indians in 2009 (nothing, by the way, he’s an NRI…think Elarton or Bullington in that neither were even thought of until the season was over) soon as the Hot Stove should be kicking off some heat here soon.

And with that excitement duly generated, we’re off on a Lazy Sunday:
Seeing that is Sunday, let’s lead where we often do with Terry Pluto, who comes through with a plethora of information (and I’m not just saying that because he specifically mentions this blog this morning…though he does) about what direction the Indians are looking to take on a number of fronts.

Among the revelations (from someone who knows what the Indians are doing and talking about and not just rumor-mongering) is that the Twins have offered Casey Blake a 2-year, $12M guaranteed deal, and that the Indians have been pleased with what they’ve heard about Jhonny’s performance as a 3B in the Dominican. Jhonny’s performance at 3B would seem to open that door to moving him there for 2009, though Pluto has been told that the Indians don’t feel that Freddy Sanchez is much of an upgrade and that the Orioles are being their usual obstinate selves in the Brian Roberts talks.

Pluto also hits on some of the lesser-lights in terms of relievers, slyly intimating (after discussing the Howry-to-the-Giants news) that Hoffman is the player in the crosshairs, and finishes with a bit about Andy Marte and Josh Barfield, specifically referencing Tuesday’s article here in the process as a piece to “check out”. Pluto bangs the drum for the Indians not to give up on Barfield, who will have one more season in AAA to assert himself back onto the Indians’ radar while Marte, conversely, finds himself stuck in the no-man’s land of almost being removed from the 40-man roster but being out of options.

For an even more in-depth look at what may have gone wrong in the Odyssey of Andy, check out APV’s piece over at the LGT, where he breaks down how Marte devolved from a “can’t-miss-prospect” to the player that Pluto reports was on the cusp of being removed from the 40-man roster a mere 3 years later for Jordan Brown…who is less than two months YOUNGER than Marte.

Elsewere on the Hot Stove burner, as serial poster A.G.B. pointed out in the comments section yesterday, it looks like the A’s are out of the Rafael Furcal Party, as are the Giants with their signing of Edgar Renteria and the Cardinals, who added Khalil Greene. News that those teams are out of the mix comes with Rosenthal’s intimations that Furcal is not opposed to playing 2B and that he is not necessarily locked into looking for a 4-year deal, and to quote A.G.B here, “my head is racing with thoughts of Rafael Furcal playing 2B and batting leadoff at Progressive Field”.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Furcal would absolutely be the type of player (like Hudson) that would represent a significant upgrade over the current infield situation and add a top-of-the-lineup hitter to the club. The back injury that forced him to miss all but 36 games last year is concerning and his full 2007 left a little to be desired – but Furcal is the type of player that represents the upgrade the Indians need in the infield that isn’t just akin to spinning their wheels (as a guy like Mark Grudz or even Casey Blake would be) without blocking any significant prospects in the process. His ability to get on base would be a huge addition to the top of the lineup and his (alleged) willingness to play 2B could give the Indians even more flexibility in their ever-evolving infield alignment.

Furcal’s going to cost a lot (the A’s offer he turned down was 4 years and $35M to $40M), but the Indians have the dollars to commit and, to me, what the Indians could get for $10M to $12M a year for an infielder on a three-year deal is vastly superior to what that type of contract nets you in the Free Agent market for the veteran Starting Pitcher that is (allegedly) on the Tribe wish list.
Even though it was two years ago, Vicente Padilla anyone?

For other Hot Stove rumblings, Anthony Castrovince identifies the Marlins, Reds, and Astros as three teams that might be looking for an inexpensive option at catcher this off-season, which should have Indians’ fans familiarizing themselves with the likes of Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, and Wandy Rodriguez (or maybe even a, gulp, Aaron Harang) if the Indians use their biggest chip to net the biggest return – a young, established, under-club-control starter.

I know that other scenarios have been floated out there with some of these teams, with players like Dan Uggla, Ty Wigginton, Jose Valverde, and Edwin Encarnacion filling holes in the infield or the bullpen as an exchange for Shoppach. However, if I’m trading Mr. Show Pack (and the three years remaining before he hits Free Agency), I’m shooting a little higher than the aforementioned infielders and relievers – I’m looking for a pitcher that has the ability to sit in the #3 hole in the rotation who remains under club control (at a reasonable price, ideally) for the same amount of time that Shoppach would for his receiving team.

Moving on, AC also has a nice summation of what the Indians have on their “To-Do List” heading into the Meeting in Vegas and promises to dispense news (by his own admission, real or fabricated) via his blog, CastroTurf.

For a national (or at least Boston) perspective on what each team may be looking to do in Vegas, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe has an exhaustive trip around the horn with a few nuggets that could play into the Indians’ plans, even if he intimates that the Indians have little money to spend, without full knowledge of what Castrovince correctly summarizes (in his piece linked above) as a payroll that has “about $57 million tied up in guaranteed contracts for 11 players for next season. The rest of their contracts, plus any free-agent or trade acquisitions, will probably have the payroll somewhere in the $80-million range, which is where it was last season.”

Cafardo asserts that Seattle may be willing to move JJ Putz and Adrian Beltre (though the prospects the M’s would demand for one-year of Beltre goes against everything we’ve ever seen executed by the current Tribe brass), that Toronto may also be looking for catching help, perhaps dangling BJ Ryan on the market, and that the Astros may be looking to move the aforementioned Wigginton and Valverde (who will probably command $9M in his final year of arbitration before becoming a FA after 2009).

Entirely unrelated to anything simmering on the Hot Stove but completely related to excellent writing, one of my favorite Clevelanders, Joe Posnanski, offers more brilliance in his piece on King George and how growing up in Cleveland may have shaped the way that The Big Stein evolved through the years as the owner of the Bombers.

Also, in case you missed the Tomahawks from Thursday, news around the Wigwam is that I’ve (gulp) created a Facebook page for “The DiaTribe” and have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of people who have joined. If you missed it, here’s the link again as everyone is welcome to join and participate however they want to.

I was wondering what the best way to utilize that group on Facebook would be (outside of reminding me to organize a “DiaTribe outing” at Wrigley next year) and this is what I’ve got – I thought it would be a good place to put your favorite pictures of yourself pertaining to the Tribe. Whereas your normal Facebook friends might scoff at your obvious obsession, put those pictures in a safe place, where they will be enjoyed by like-minded Tribe fans. To get it started, I threw a few up there from Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS (yes, the one that The Atomic Wedgie left the aCCe in too long for), as painful as it was to remember. It starts with The Baltimoran and myself, confident as can be that we were ready to celebrate a World Series berth with a Game 5 win until it spiraled downward into…well, some unhappiness.

Planes should be touching down in Las Vegas soon to initiate some gossip and rumors, with some of it hopefully involving our beloved Erie Warriors.
Plenty (hopefully) to talk about soon, but for now I’m off to bring the Christmas stuff down from the attic and attempt to avert my eyes from CBS from 1 PM to 4 PM.


ClevelandFan said...

"Lazy" is right... may as well just do a link post to different MSM sources...

Paul Cousineau said...

Welcome if you're new around these parts (or just visiting from, as your unnecessarily incendiary tone implies) and thank you for the comment.

The whole concept of LS was, in fact, tied to the excitement that I USED to have to read the Sunday "Notes" or "Baseball Insider" page in the paper. Now, with the magic of these Interwebs, it is a once-a-week attempt to pull together the relevant portions of said "Notes" pages that pertain specifically to the Indians.

While I could simply post links to all of the MSM sources (as some websites are designed specifically to do), I try to discern the sources to articles that are actually compelling or are worth commenting on.

Again, thanks for the comment and say hi to everyone over at the boards!

A.G.B said...

Congrats on the Papa Bear Pluto shout-out! You now walk in the hallowed halls of Pluto-greatness.

The more I read up on Ricky Nolasco and delve into his stats, the closer I come to dropping my staunch Don'ttradeKellyShoppach stance.

26-year-old righty with a year's experience as an Ace of a staff. A 15-8 record on a mediocre team. 3.52 ERA. 4.43:1 K:BB ratio.

It's not everyday you can get that kind of talent to slide into the #3 spot in the rotation.

ClevelandFan said...

I applaud your attempt at rounding up your material. I just don't understand wasting as many words as you did just to link to other people's work...

And I also think that you're doing a disservice to other bloggers out there while linking to only main stream media pieces that we can all find on our own. There are countless Cleveland-based blogs that come up with a bevy of information, insight and analysis - it's the linking to places that I visit anyways that seems like a waste of a trip to these parts.

Given that, your comparison piece was in fact good. I just think that if you're going to link to 17 places, shouldn't some of them be of a broader brush?

Paul Cousineau said...

And my Nolasco jersey's on hold right now.

I DO attempt to link to a number of other Indians' blogs every Sunday.
Perhaps you saw the LGT link?

The boys at LGT, Tony Lastoria, Todd Dery, WFNY, Brian LeShier, Michael Taylor, Ron Vallo and James Pete are all guys that I read on a regular basis and pimp either via link or sidebar link.

Truth is, there's not a lot happening these days and what they've been writing is essentially what I've been writing. With the fact that the "news" is coming from MSM sources is no fault of ours that we aren't the ones hearing about who's talking to whom (altough Tony's right there on the minor-league stuff). I'm all about getting things out there that people don't often see - did you see the Posnanski piece before today?

Essentially, the LS is cathartic for me as I sit there and read Pluto's article on Sunday and have thoughts on it (as I would imagine most do) or use a Rosenthal nugget as a segue into a Rafael Furcal discussion. If you think I missing something, e-mail me or link it in the comments...this isn't a closed-door meeting.

If you're new here, you'll find that I waste A LOT of words on many thoughts - my own, those of others, etc. Just wait until something happens and I pound out my 10,000 monologue on a Futility Infielder.

t-bone said...

A belated congrats on another Pluto reference!

Cy Slapnicka said...

PC, I can't help but wonder if you hyped Livingston all the time if he'd link to you and say it was his favorite blog too, even though it is written by someone that sleeps on the couch in his mother's basement.

I kid, I kid...

CKTribe said...

Are you the source for SI's speculation of Furcal? J/K. Wonderful job on this article, I linked you on my blog (tribetimesonline, giving you the full credit you deserve. Besides Castrovince's blog, you destroy the local media on Indians coverage. I will now go wipe the brown stuff off my nose.

rodells said...

Been a while, gents.

Make some waves this week? Wishful thinking, as always.

Hi, ClevelandFan.

Paul, saw your Iggy comments...they must have gotten back to their old ways...heavy recruiting and da 'roids. Glad to see the trophy back in Ctown though.

Rockdawg said...

ClevelandFan sounds like...well...a Cleveland Fan. Angry, bitter, quick to criticize, even when there is no reason to do so...

KonstrucktaTribe said...

Cleveland Fan.... don't post here anymore I recognize you from the Plain Dealer posts. You never have anything of consequence to say. Keep your negative comments to the "PD" with the other slingers of "retardese."
This blog has been the ONLY place of real in depth statistical analysis blended with editorial presumptions one can find on the internet. I live in NYC and this is the ONLY source that consistently compensates the vacuume of dis and un-information on our beloved tribe. In short F' off!

Keep at it Paul!

Cy Slapnicka said...

if you didn't smile upon reading that last post, he was likely talking to you...

R.M. Jennings said...

Looks like Mr. Blake signed with the Dodgers. Wanna know why Ned Coletti gave him three years? Same reason the Indians got Jo(h)n Meloan and Carlos Santana for half a season of Casey Blake:

"It gives us a solid third baseman who has character, is team-oriented and is a grinder. We love to have players like that."


Also, does anyone give any credit to the Miguel Tejada rumors? That doesn't seem even remotely likely - not the kind of deal Shapiro would make.

A.G.B said...

Per Anthony Castrovince (perhaps the best Bobcat of them all):

An report speculated that the Indians might have renewed interest in shortstop Rafael Furcal, who recently turned down what some outlets reported to be a four-year, $35 million offer from the A's. But it seems unlikely the Indians would extend such an offer to the 32-year-old Furcal, who played just 36 games for the Dodgers last season. Shapiro said he has not spoken to Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, thus far at the Winter Meetings.

....well, I guess that's the end of that. I am going to go find a dark room and cry for a while. Anyone care to join me?

Cy Slapnicka said...

I haven't read anything about this, but reread the comment: "Shapiro said he has not spoken to Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, THUS FAR AT the Winter Meetings."

they did just start, so its not out of the question he talked to him just prior to? could be one of those quotes said with a smirk?

Baltimoran said...

Indians sell Tom Mastny to Japan...didn't see that one coming

i agree with paul that barfield is not on the indians radar, but i hope he gets at least get one more shot to prove he can play...and i hope its with the tribe

KonstrucktaTribe said...


please....stay healthy! Exciting nonetheless