Monday, July 10, 2006

To-Do List

Rather than focusing on the negative things that have happened in the first half, let’s take a look at some pro-active moves (not trading veterans for prospects) that the Indians can make to get some momentum through the second half and into 2007.

A few suggestions:
Sign Lee to a long-term deal
With all of the talk that the Dolans are unwilling to spend money, why not give Lee a 3 to 4 year deal to lock him into the 3 spot in the rotation for a while? He’s arbitration-eligible at the end of the season and, with his record over the past 3 years, he’s in line for a BIG raise.

As surprising as it was that the Tribe didn’t lock him up last off-season, I’d be just as surprised if the Indians didn’t try to create some good pub and some goodwill by approaching their young lefty before the end of the season.

Sign Belliard to a multi-year deal
With the dearth of 2B in the organization, and in the off-season FA market, Belliard is looking better and better. He would be likely to stick around if the Tribe offered him 3 years in the vicinity of $12M to $15M and there’s no better option here, there, or on the horizon.

Signing Belliard to a long-term deal (relatively speaking) would answer a big off-season question early and would mean that the Indians have one less position to figure out for 2007.

Extend and rework Hafner’s contract
Right now, he’s locked into 2007 to the tune of $3.75M with a 2008 club option for $4.75M. How’s that for a value? Consider that David Ortiz (another DH whose numbers are comparable to Pronk) starts on a 4 year-$52M contract next year, and Hafner looks even better at that price.

Well, seeing that Hafner has established himself as an elite hitter (and just seems to be getting better), what’s the harm in approaching him about re-working his contract? If the Dolans want to send a message that they’re willing to spend, particularly on their own stars, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Hafner has connected enough with Cleveland that this would be a respected move by ownership that would have a positive effect on the clubhouse, the fans, and league-wide perception.

And, from the A Man Can Dream, Can't He? Category:
Trade for Carl Crawford
How good would Crawford look at the top of the Indians’ lineup, in LF? Who says that if Crawford’s on the block that he has to go to a contender? He’s signed through 2009 with a club option for 2010 (at $10M), so it’s not like he’s a rent-a-player. So what could Tribe offer the Rays to pry Crawford out of the crowded Tampa OF?

How about Garko, Guthrie, and Kouzmanoff – that gives them a ML-ready (and cheap) 1B, starter, and a 3B to replace Aubrey Huff when he leaves the Sunshine State. The Devil Rays would likely want A LOT more than that, but his speed and overall game would allow the Indians to move Grady to the 3 hole, Hafner to the cleanup spot (with the way that Pronk hits LH, it doesn’t matter that both he and Sizemore are both left-handed).

Some of these moves involve some cash, but Wickman, Boone, Mota, and (presumably) Broussard coming off of the books before next year – there should be some wiggle room. Those 4 made about $14.5M this year, not even counting the $6.25M that Johnson, E. Perez, and Sauerbeck were scheduled to collect.

This team (to me, at least) is still unquestionably talented; it just needs some tweaking and determination of whether the youngsters (Gutierrez, Marte, Carmona, Mujica, Perez, Sowers, Garko, and Shoppach) are competent enough to fill holes in 2007 – or if those holes need to be filled in other ways.

Next, we’ll take a look, position-by-position, at what we saw in the 1st half, what to expect for the 2nd half, and into 2007.


t-bone said...

Crawford? Oh my. That would be nice. May have been imaginable had they not traded Gathright. Hell, maybe if Baldelli stays healthy, and ump killa Delmon Young gets brought up, they may be looking to move someone else. At one point about a month ago on the MLB rumors section it said several teams were interested in Crawford, but they said the Rays werent looking to move him. Who knows. wishful thinking at least.

Did Howard put on a show tonight or what?

Baltimoran said...

my biggest concern for next year is defense, crawford would help, but the infield is the main problem and having the same SS and 2nd base with a rookie 3rd basemen doesn't seem to be an upgrade on the weakest part of our team...and it doesn't seem that there are any easy answers in the minors or free agency