Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lasy Sunday at the Old Mill

With the Winter Meetings starting tonight and the Hot Stove really kicking off some heat, Lazy Sunday is best served to scan “all the news that’s fit to print” and examine some of the more intriguing rumors and hearsay leading up to the events that will be taking place at the “Old Mill” (more specifically the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center shown here) in Nashville.

The Boston Globe previews each team’s possible (and I stress “possible”) agenda for the meetings, with a lot of good stuff including a few nuggets that Tribe fans may find interesting. Among them are indications that the Oakland A’s may be shopping pitchers Dan Haren, Huston Street, and Joe Blanton to replenish their farm system. While the Indians are pretty pitching-rich, it would come as no surprise if Shapiro expressed interest in Haren or Street as both have track records in MLB and the Indians would have the depth in their farm system to acquire them.

Another intriguing match, as has been discussed here already at length, is that the Diamondbacks are looking for young, cheap starting pitching with depth in the outfield to deal from. Could the Indians make a deal for Carlos Gonzalez (who would start the season in Buffalo) or Carlos Quentin (who is recovering from an injury), allowing them some flexibility to make a move with their other young OF (everyone seems to be looking for CF) to add another arm to the bullpen.

In the LF category, Toronto’s Reed Johnson (not Alex Rios) may be available, though he doesn’t project to be too much of an upgrade over what the Indians already possess. Also in the LF category, from the Boston Herald, talk persists that the Indians and Pirates are discussing a Jason Bay for deal that would include Kelly Shoppach, among others. While Shoppach certainly shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for acquiring a player like Bay, one would have to wonder who, exactly, the Indians feel will serve as their backup C in 2008 if The ShopVac is dealt. With Victor obviously thriving with a few games from out behind the plate, the trickle-down effect of dealing Shoppach might be greater than just parting with a backup C.

Also on Bay, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Bay’s value is not what the Pirates thought it would be, so the Indians could take a wait-and-see approach as the price drops as the Buccos could be selling low on Bay.

So what would I like to see the Indians do in Nashville?
As much as I’d like to see them turn Dellichaels and Cliff Lee into an everyday OF and a lockdown closer, I remain bogged down by this whole “sense of reality” thing.

I’d like to see the Indians flip Michaels for a reliever (probably from the NL) allowing them to open the season with a platoon of Blake/Marte/Dellucci at 3B/LF (Blake at 3B, Dellucci in LF against RHP, Marte at 3B, Blake in LF against LHP). That arrangement, I think, would allow Andy Marte to ease into the MLB against mainly LHP, whom he has consistently hit throughout his career. If, and when, Marte is ready to take the reins at 3B, Blake moves to his super-utility role and out of the everyday lineup.

To fill the remaining “long-term solution” issue in LF, I’d make a move with the Diamondbacks for either Carlos Gonzalez or Carlos Quentin (which, as much as it pains me to realize, will probably cost the Indians a cheap MLB-ready player like Aaron Laffey) to work his way into LF at some point in 2008, not necessarily out of Spring Training, which is the path that many of the youngsters took to Jacobs Field in 2007 coming to Cleveland after finding success in Buffalo.

I think that the Pirates and Indians will make a deal of some sort, though not involving Jason Bay. With the history between Huntington and Shapiro (and the Pirates’ arms in the bullpen), I could see the Indians asking Huntington which prospects (there’s no reason for him to add unnecessary payroll) he would like to get Damaso Marte or Matt Capps to Cleveland. In my mind, I still think that Shapiro knows which players are Huntington’s favorites and which players he held in higher regard than others in the organization and will use that to pry an arm out of PNC. What it would allow would be to fortify the bullpen as every year, somebody (just to throw it out there, like a Raffy Perez) that was thought to be a vital part of the bullpen regresses, gets injured, or simply disappoints; so more arms are never a bad thing.

Outside of that (and that’s probably a LOT more than the Indians will do), the Tribe brass doesn’t have too many items on the checklist in Tennessee. One big one would be to get a certain Hefty Lefty to autograph the bottom of a legally-binding document before Hurricane Johan makes landfall on one of the coasts, destroying the pattern that the Zambrano, Oswalt, and Buehrle extensions set for pitchers NOT exactly on the FA market.

STO is broadcasting a show from Nashville on Monday through Thursday nights at 10 PM this week. If you’re out of town, the best site that I’ve found for reported rumors (that aren’t ALL just the fanciful thoughts of uninformed beat writers) is the Yahoo rumors site.

Pull up a chair everyone and make yourselves warm around the Hot Stove!


Les Savy Ferd said...

Hurricane Johan, indeed. I just hope folks treat this as an A-rod situation, but in pitching form, that this guy is other-worldly good, yes, but that he will be over-paid, perhaps monumentally, and that the way teams pay for THEIR FAs shouldn't have to take into account Johan's deal.


t-bone said...

D-backs to trade Quentin to White Sox
12/03/2007 1:15 PM ET
By Steve Gilbert /

NASHVILLE -- The D-backs are close to finalizing a deal that would send outfielder Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for Minor League first baseman Chris Carter, an industry source said Monday. The deal is expected to be announced Monday afternoon.

Carter, who will turn 21 later this month, was ranked among the White Sox top 10 prospects by Baseball America. A 15th-round pick by Chicago in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, he has tremendous power and a good idea of the strike zone.

Last year with Kannapolis of the Class A South Atlantic League, Carter hit .291 with 25 homers and 93 RBIs. He drew 67 walks, which led to a .383 on-base percentage, and he slugged .522.

With the tremendous power also comes strikeouts. Carter fanned 112 times in 467 at-bats.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Unknown said...

A great site for viewing completed trades, (or is it linked from here already?):

btw, I'm not having any fun reliving 1986 baseball, sorry PC.