Monday, December 31, 2007

The same old refrain

There's no crying in baseball, or football for that matter. But there is a lot of whining, at least in Cleveland.

The Browns came up short in their bid for the playoffs, and they did it all on their own - last week in Cincinnati. That is when the season was blown. So please save all the whining about how this kind of stuff (a playoff-bound team playing its scrubs to keep the first-stringers healthy) only happens to Cleveland sports fans.

Once the whining stops, probably by sometime late Monday, the next phase will begin. The "well they did better than we ever thought they would," and "it was a good season and we should be happy with what they accomplished" phase.

It happened when the Indians let a pennant, and a very doable World Series win, slip out of their hands. It will happen with the Browns fans, as I said, sometime late Monday night. Tuesday at the latest.

Having lived the first 27 1/2 of my 51 years in Cleveland, I know the scenario all too well, and I find myself falling into the same old habits myself.

But having lived in New York for the past 23 1/2 years I know what would happen if the Browns or the Tribe played there.

The fans would be merciless and the media would pounce. There would be endless talk about choking, or at least letting a good opportunity slip away.

The fans and the media demand winners in New York, and they get them.

Here in Cleveland, after the initial whining is over, pretty good becomes good enough. And that is why "this keeps happening to us over and over again."

If you want a winning team, don't let the owners think that pretty good will do.

If you want a winner, say so.


The Beaver County (Pa.) Times reported Sunday the Indians and Pirates appear to be at the top Matt Clement's list as the once-dominant pitcher-turned -reclamation project looks for a place to play next season.

It seems Clement, who missed last year rehabbing from shoulder surgery, has built a new home in Butler, Pa. and would like to stay close to home if possible, according to the report.

Clement would be a classic Tribe signing, much like the Kevin Millwood signing in 2005. Clement has a lot of upside and may not even fetch himself a major league contract heading into spring training. If the Tribe were to offer him a major league deal, it wouldn't be for a whole lot of money. He's worth the gamble, whether he takes off after one year or not.


We haven't quite rung in the New Year yet, but Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson has his new power rankings out for MLB. You might think the Tigers would have leapfrogged the Tribe and possibly unseated the Red Sox with their big-time acquisitions this off-season.

But Hensen, who's top five are all from the American League, has the Tribe ranked second, a tiny bit ahead of the Tigers, who are third. Boston is ranked No.1, while the Yanks are No. 4 and the Angles No. 5.

Of course all that can change with Johan Santana still on the block and three months-plus to go for pre-season deal-making.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santana trade winds blow toward Yankeeland

Hope you all had a merry.

Time to check out what little is going on in baseball.

Judging by some recent stories, it appears the odds of Johan Santana packing his bags for the Bronx are growing larger.

The New York Times reported today the Twins appear to be cutting the asking price for Santana, at least as far as the Yankees go. While Minnesota is still insisting Phil Hughes be included in a Santana trade, the paper reports they no longer are holding out for Ian Kennedy as well. As of this moment, the two youngsters are expected to make up 40% of the Yankees rotation in 2008.

Meantime, the Star-Tribune out of Minneapolis is reporting the Twins might lower the price to the point that they would accept defective (or at least ineffective) Japanese import Kei Igawa as the extra pitcher in the deal.

Talk about your after-Christmas sales!

Over the weekend, David Ortiz told the Boston Herald he doubts his good friend Johan will follow him from the Twin Cities to Beantown.

Heading to the homeland tomorrow. Will spend the day on I-80. Santa brought me a laptop, so I just may be able to put up a post or two while I'm in town over the weekend.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays From Yankeeland

To all Tribe fans, whether you find yourself living in the Motherland or some distant shore - or even New York City.

May Santa bring us all a CC signing and a new left fielder who can hit.

May the new year bring that long-elusive trophy we've all been seeking our entire lives.

By the way, I'll be in town next weekend for a family holiday visit. Anyone want to buy my four tickets to the Browns game?

Sorry, I had to let at least some of it go after today's debacle. Let's enjoy Christmas Day anyway.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Tribe's Silva Lining

UPDATE: Since first posting this item, definitive word on Silva's contract surfaced. He's making $48 million over four years, not $44 million, which further proves my point.

The Tribe has seven guys to fit into five rotation spots, and for that Indians fans should be thankful as we head into the holidays.

Especially given the news recently about two of the "top" pitchers available in this year's free agent market - Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse.

The money these two guys are getting is just plain crazy. Neither would crack the top four in the Tribe's rotation and would have trouble cracking the top three in most rotations in baseball.

Silva was 13-14 with a 4.19 ERA last year. Not bad, but is that worth $44 million over four years?

Lohse was 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA for two teams last year, and that was one of his better years in the recent past.

There's even a rumor floating about that one of the few pitchers really worth something out there - Johan Santana (who would be a trade-for-and-sign guy) - might be looking for a seven or eight year deal. And he certainly WILL be looking for at least $20 million a year.

Glancing at the other headlines of the day, the Tigers are said to have inked a three-year, $29 million deal with newcomer Dontrelle Willis. This is for a guy too young to have reached the free-agency stage yet.

And reliever Ron Mahay is reportedly heading to Kansas City for $8 million over two years - that's $4 million per for a reliever with a 3.77 lifetime ERA.

So given a glance at just one day's headlines, is it any wonder that the Indians' brass is adamant about holding on to its young, cheap, high-ceiling arms?

As I've already said in previous posts, for a guy like Dan Haren I probably would have pulled the trigger - since he has already proven himself and makes virtually no money in comparison to guys like Lohse, Silva and Cliff Lee.

But there also is something nice about having plenty of spare parts to plug in if the originals blow out or malfunction.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Haren to D'Backs

So much for the Dan Haren-to-Cleveland dream.

Haren was sent to Arizona in an eight-player deal that pretty much emptied the Arizona farm system.

In another deal,
Mike Lamb signed with the Twins.

It's past my bedtime, so we'll leave it at that for now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

WHEW! No new Tribe names on Mitchell list

Good news for Cleveland fans with today's release of the Mitchell report on the use of performance-enhancing drug in baseball. (click link for full report)

Only Paul Byrd's name from the current roster is on that list, and we all found out about that on the morning of Game 7 of the ALCS. (click link for player list)

There are just a few surprises on the list, guys that don't fit the pattern of someone's who's performance, suddenly spiked, or who broke down early and/or often, or some complete nut job.

Roger Clemens was mentioned on nine pages of the report. His pal Andy Pettitte was kind of a surprise. Then, there's Jason Giambi from last year's Yanks club as well. So three Yanks from 2007.

Brian Roberts was kind of a surprising name to me.

Here are the former Indians who made the list. Most fall into at least one of the above categories. I'll let you decide who falls into which:

  • David Segui - one of the stars of the report is mentioned on several pages
  • John Rocker - roid rage?
  • Tim Laker
  • Mark Carreon
  • Jason Grimsley - also one of the most often mentioned in the report
  • David Justice
  • Glenallen Hill
  • Ron Villone
  • David Bell
  • Paul Byrd
  • Matt Williams
  • Kent Mercker (I don't remember him playing for the Tribe, but the report says he did).
There's also an interesting story about a bag that may or may not have belonged to Juan Gonzalez that was detected at the airport in Toronto. The story is on pages 95-98 of the report. In this case, Mitchell reports - you decide.

Just a note to remind you that these guys were not said to have taken performance-enhancing drugs while with the Tribe necessarily. These are just guys who are in the report who also happened to pull on an Indians jersey in a real game at least once in their career.

The rest of the report is all over the Internet. My main concern was whether any current Tribesman would be named. You can check the rest out on your own if that's your thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sharin' the news on Haren

The Indians interest in Oakland's Dan Haren is being more-widely reported today, with some news twists.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported today the A's are keying on Asdrubal Cabrera as one of the players they'd like in return, though, the paper reports, the Tribe might be able to sidestep the A's interest in Cabrera by adding more pitching. I, for one, would be reluctant to see Cabrera included.

The Chronicle reports the Reds may turn their attentions from Baltimore's Erik Bedard and chase Haren as well. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting the same thing.

Monday, Rosenthal listed Cleveland and Arizona as the two teams with the best chance of landing Haren. In today's column he doesn't mention the Tribe and backs off a fair amount on Arizona.

Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a centerpiece of the Diamondbacks' offer for Haren, does not appear to be a good fit for the A's due to his lack of plate discipline. Gonzalez struck out 109 times while drawing 38 walks at Class AA and AAA last season, but one executive points out that he just turned 22. His on-base percentage could improve as he matures, and he projects as a potential 30-homer man and above-average defender-Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports,

And the Plain Dealer finally joined in on the speculation. Paul Hoynes lists the Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks as having the "inside track."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Haren to the Tribe?

Been away from the computer the past couple of days. A bit of surgery for a family member. For those of you who know me, not to worry. Nothing serious but something that needed immediate attention.

Anyway. I'm here now and I apparently missed a BIG rumor, though so far that's all it is.
Good thing my friend Pat Tabler over at the DiaTribe was on the prowl - as he always is - for Tribe news.

It seems the Tribe is quietly -
at least until Ken Rosenthal's column on the FOX Sport site yesterday - one of the leaders (along with Arizona) in the in the Dan Haren Derby.

Rosenthal writes:

The Indians' advantage is that they can offer superior major-league ready pitching, including righty Adam Miller, who projects as either a top-of-the-rotation starter or closer, and lefty Aaron Laffey, a sinker-baller who could develop into another Mark Buehrle.

Haren, the starting pitcher for the American League in the 2007 All-Star Game, could form a potent trio with C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona in Cleveland — and protect the Indians against the loss of Sabathia as a free agent at the end of the season.

This would be the type of blockbuster the Tribe would most likely be inclined to do - involving a top-flight player, but one who comes at a reasonable salary and under the team's control for a while. Under circumstances such as those the Tribe is more likely to part with prospects of the caliber of Miller and Laffey.

Haren is due to be paid $4 million next year and $5.5 million the following year. There's a club option on his contract for $6.75 million in 2010.

To put that in perspective, that's not even half of "Cliff Lee money," at least not 'til the option year.

This is one of those rare times when, for a team in a Cleveland-like market, that a can't-miss-prospects-for-star deal is a no-brainer.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tribe makes a post-meeting deal

I presume you are already sitting down since you are at the computer. But if you are a "weirdy-freak," (as my daughter likes to call people - mostly me) and read your computer standing up, please sit down.

We've got a blockbuster end-of-winter-meeting deal for the Tribe to tell you about.

Or at least so says

Yes, THE Jamey Carroll is coming to Cleveland.

Carroll was the utility infielder in Colorado this year and hit .225 for the Rockies.

He's not exactly Mike Rouse and he's certainly more capable at SS than Chris Gomez, so that makes him a better defensive utility guy.
But the Tribe has plenty of versatility in the infield and I kind of liked Gomez's bat off the bench even though he was merely capable in the field.
The Tribe will give up a player to be named later and add $2.3 million to its payroll for the utility infielder.
Not sure I get it, but to be honest I haven't seen much of the Rockies or the Nationals/Expos over the years, so maybe I'll see what the Tribe sees after watching Carroll play a little.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Oh those crazy Tigers; Plus - Bay trade is dead - again.

So you'd think the Tigers would be content to pack up their bags and head out of Opryland, having opened all their Christmas presents early. But NOOOOO...

Now there's talk the Tigers may be looking to re-route the D-Train to Queens.

The theory behind the rumor is the Tigers would send Dontrelle Willis and Pudge Rodriguez to the Mets to lop off some if its recently added payroll.

But Booth Newspapers' Danny Knobler quoted a Mets official as saying there's nothing to the rumor, although there was talk of a three-way deal sending Willis and Pudge to NY in last night's blockbuster.

The Mets official more or less says the Tigers couldn't wave filet mignon under their fans noses than replace it with sirloin.

``There's no turning back now for them,'' a Mets official said tonight. ``If anything was going to be done, it had to be done before (the trade became public). They've energized their fan base now. They can't go back.''

No word on who the Tigers would be looking for from the Mets.


And so, for the second night in a row, the Jason-Bay-to-the-Tribe deal is being declared dead, this time not only by the Indians, but the Pirates as well - at least for now.

We get this quote from Pirate GM Neal Huntington via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

“Today, it's dead. Forty-eight hours from now, four weeks from now, who knows?"

Tribe jolted back to life by shocking Tiger deal

The Indians apparently have been roused from their complacency by last night's blockbuster trade that brought Miguel Cabrera and the D-Train to Detroit.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Tribe and Pirates are talking Jason Bay again, and this time the Tribe seems to be serious and moving quickly.

The paper reported this morning that the framework of a deal is in place, but I'm not sure I like it.

According to the report, the Tribe would get Bay and catcher Ronnie Paulino for Franklin Gutierrez, Kelly Shoppach and a pitcher -- either Cliff Lee or a prospect.

I'm not a fly on the wall in Nashville, but my guess is it's the pitcher that's holding things up, with the Tribe trying to foist off Cliff Lee onto the Buccos and the Pirates -quite rightly from their point of view - seeking someone younger.

Paulino hit .263 with 11 HRs and 55 RBI in 133 games with the Pirates last year. His OBP was just .314 and his slugging average just .389.

Earlier this week, in a Post-Gazette story, Pirates GM Neal Huntington questioned Paulino's fire.

"We need to see the hunger, the fire, a guy who's in better condition, a guy who has better motivation." - Neal Huntington on Ronnie Paulino

In addition to watching his average drop from .310 in his rookie year to .263 last year, Paulino's defense took a turn for the worse as well.

Presumably, based on his fine rookie season and with a change of scenery, Paulino would be a decent replacement for Shoppach.

I don't mind giving up a starter in this deal. My preference would be Lee, Sowers, Laffey - in that order.

But here's the part I don't get.

By trading for Bay, the Tribe fills the void in left field and gets a needed right-handed bat. But by trading Gutierrez, aren't they just shuffling their left field mess to right field?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

UGH!! Cabrera, D-Train headed for Motown; Also: Cliff Lee: 'pitch me or trade me'

By taking just one step forward (signing Japanese reliever Masa Kobayashi) the Tribe appears to be taking a big step backward this off-season.

That's because it looks like the Tigers are putting all their chips on 2008 - and the pot is sweet indeed.

The latest word is the Tigers have a deal in place with the Marlins to acquire 3B Miguel Cabrera and starter Dontrelle Willis for promising starter Andrew Miller, top-rated young outfielder Cameron Maybin and four other prospects.

The deal would clean out the Tigers' farm system, but wow what a big-league club they would have.

Having already acquired Edgar Rnteria to play short (a move to allow Carlos Guillen to 1B full-time), and Jacque Jones to platoon in left field, the Tigers today are making a huge "now's-the-time" move here.

If the move is made, here's their everyday lineup:

C Pudge Rodriguez
1B Carlos Guillen
2B Placido Polanco
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Miguel Cabrera
LF Jones/Thames
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Magglio Ordonez
DH Gary Sheffield

Do you see an 'out' in that lineup? - because I don't.

In giving up Miller, and Jair Jurrjens in an earlier deal, the Tigers may be digging themselves a pitching hole about three years from now, but at the moment they're pretty well set in the starting rotation.

Jeremy Bonderman
Justin Verlander
Dontrelle Willis
Kenny Rogers
Nate Robertson

Chad Durbin/Denny Bautistsa (just picked up today) would be in the hole.

It's not the 1971 Orioles - there is probably one possible 20-game winner rather than four - but with that lineup this rotation is more than good enough.

The bullpen is still somewhat of a mess, but if Joel Zumaya is able to make it back fresh and healthy in the second half, that would be a big boost for the Tiges (as Ernie Harwell used to call them).

For now, if I'm the Tribe, I looking to spend a little of that excess at starting pitcher to get myself a real left fielder.

You can say that you can't let what others do dictate your own actions, but sometime you have to bend to that notion. This may be one of those times.

The Twins are loading up too, but with young guys - unless they end up settling for Coco Crisp in a Santana deal. We'll take a look at their active off-season if/when one of the 87 rumored Santana deals gets done.


Cliff Lee's agent says the Tribe lefty wants to be a starter for the Cleveland Indians. If not, he wants to be gone.

"Cliff's preference is to be one of the five starting pitchers for the Cleveland Indians," said Darek Braunecker. "If that's not the case, he wants to be one of the five starting pitchers for somebody else." -- from the Plain Dealer Web site.

The New York Post reported today that the Tribe was trying to get Alex Rios from Toronto, with Lee part of the package. But the Indians have debunked that. Of course he was also rumored to be part of a deal for Jason Bay, but that just made no sense for the Pirates. And there continues to be talk of a deal with Seattle involving Raul Ibanez and Lee. But there's nothing to that either, the Indians have told the PD.

Then there's this rumor that popped up today: Lee to the Cardnals for Anthony Reyes a/or catching prospect Brian Anderson. (click the link and then scroll down to 4:13 p.m.).

The only way the Anderson part of that makes any sense is if the Indians have plan to trade Kelly Shoppach.

In 20 starts and 22 overall appearances with the Cards last year Reyes was 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP

Uh, no thanks!!!!

Tribe-Bucco 'Jason' talks at bay

About the only thing certain about the Jason Bay trade talks is they haven't resulted in a trade of the slugging left fielder to the Tribe.

If you read this morning's Plain Dealer you were told the talks "ended without a deal being reached."

That sentence appears in the middle of a lengthy story about upcoming contract talks between the Tribe and CC Sabathia. The sentence stands alone, with no further explanation.

Several paragraphs later is another orphaned sentence.
"The possibility of the Indians acquiring the right-handed-hitting Bay died before the Indians and Pirates arrived in Nashville."
Again, nothing to back that up. No explanation of how or why or when the talks "died."

As a member of the mainstream media myself, I'm not one of those blog guys who jumps all over newspaper guys just for sport. But in journalism 101 you learn that if you make a statement you need to back it up with something.

Hunting for that something, I took a look at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Their piece was almost as fuzzy, but not nearly as final.

The Gazette reports that neither Mark Shapiro nor the Pirates' Neal Huntington spoke specifically about a Bay deal.

Here was Huntington's response:

"If you'd hit me two weeks ago, I would've thought we had a good chance to make a trade before the meetings. If you hit me again in two weeks, I could tell you we've got a chance to make a trade the next day. The ebb and flow of trade talks is absolutely amazing. You might seem perfectly aligned, and another club comes in and shifts things."

The paper then quoted Shapiro as saying two recent near-deals "aren't even active," any longer.

The Gazette reports it got confirmation of a report that the White Sox were "really" interested in Bay, but that those talks didn't get very far. The Sox seemed to move on to fill their left field need with the acquisition of Carlos Quentin from Arizona.

That same source told the Gazette:

"I really see this as Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Or nothing at all."

Then there was that report yesterday of a Bay for Charles Nagy and Kelly Shoppach deal. (click the link and scroll down to the 3:09 p.m. entry).

Is it any wonder the Pirates didn't do that deal, if it was even seriously considered?

I presume the Pirates are considering a trade of Bay in the hopes that he'll bring a load of young talent that will develop into solid major leaguers. I think it's pretty clear they're not expecting to win anything in the next year or two.

Kelly Shoppach is a man looking for an opportunity. He'd fit in nicely with the Pirates' plans to build for the future.

But why would they want Lee? He'll be 30 during the upcoming season, was sent to the minors without a recall in mid-season this year, was a non-entity when the rosters expanded in September and was left off the Tribe's playoff roster.

If the Pirates were a team making a run this year and in need of another starter to bolster their chances, taking a shot on Lee might make sense.

But in the position they are in, and given the Tribe's abundance of young pitching, you would expect the Pirates to be looking at Aaron Laffey or Jeremy Sowers, not Cliff Lee.

It appears the Johan Santana sweepstakes winner may be drawn soon, and the likely winner will be the Red Sox.

A Boston Globe blog reported officials of the Twins and Red Sox went to bed late last night with visions of a big deal dancing in their heads.

In exchange for Santana, the Twins would get pitcher Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, pitcher Justin Masterson and infielder Jed Lowrie.

A further indication that something big may about to boil over is a story in this morning's (NY) Daily News, which says the Yankees appear to moving on from Santana to Oakland's Dan Haren.

The Twins, meanwhile, appear to be in full rebuild mode, as they apparently have also begun taking offers for closer Joe Nathan.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bay Watch

A note to readers:

It's been a while. Been struggling with a virus that won't go away, a series of assignments for my grad school class, a ton a crap at the job I get paid to do and some other issues that I don't need to get into here.

Needless to say, the blogging wouldn't be taking a back seat unless it were absolutely necessary.

Thanks to those who keep checking in looking for something new. Today there's finally something here.
The Winter Meetings get under way Monday. In fact, the principles are all pretty much gathered in Nashville, and it's not to see Merle Haggard.

For the Indians, this year's meetings should be an episode of Bay Watch, only lots more interesting. Will they or won't they pull the trigger on a deal for Pittsburgh's slugging left fielder Jason Bay?

The Pittsbugh Post-Gazette had a story Sunday which seemed to indicate Xavier Nady would be more likely to go than Bay. As the paper tells it, the Pirates are looking to move one of the two outfielders, were hoping to get a huge haul for Bay but are finding the interest to be not as great as they thought it would be.

The Pirates had sought to get two strong prospects, perhaps a pitcher and catcher, in the type of deal that successful, low-spending teams often make. But the Cleveland Indians are the only party known to have had firm talks with the Pirates, and their interest is not to that extreme.-- Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nady hit .280 with 20 homers and 72 RBI despite missing about one-fourth of the season to injuries last year. Nady made $2.15 million in 2007 and would likely come in north of $3 million in arbitration. He can become a free agent in 2009 and - and this is the real minus - he's a Scott Boras client.

Back to Bay. The Boston Herald reported over the weekend that talks between the Tribe and Pirates about Bay have been "heating up" and that the Pirates have made Kelly Shoppach a part of the price tage.

Bay had an off year - a very off year - last year, hitting just .247 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs. But in each of the two previous seasons he bested the 30 HR, 100 RBI marks. In 2006 he hit 35 HR and had a .532 slugging percentage. In 2005 he hit 31 dingers and slugged at a .559 rate.

Today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article quoted one official from an American League team as saying Bay is not a hot commodity because of his poor 2007.

Right now, nobody wants Bay," another American League executive said. "That will change if he shows he's right again. But not now. He's got to get out there and be Jason Bay again."

The tendinitis he battled much of the year didn't help him much at the plate and it certainly isn't helping his trade value.

Bay's contract is not a huge problem. He's due $5.75 million next year and $7.5 million in 2009.

Nady, meanwhile, had never hit 20 homers until last season. His previous high was 17. His career slugging percentage is roughly 100 points lower than Bay's and his biggest RBI year prior to 2007 was the 63 he put up in 2006. The Tribe has that kind of 'talent' already hanging out in left field.

The Pirates are said to be taking a passive approach. Waiting to see who offers what for whom. It's kind of a strange approach - if you ask me - for a team as awful as the Pirates and with a new general manager who, you would think, would be anxious to do something, even if it is to blow things up and start from scratch.

As far as the Tribe is concerned, Xavier Nady is not worth spending much time on. If they're going to do a deal for a Pirate outfielder, it should be for Bay or it shouldn't be done at all.
As far as what could have been, Paul Hoynes reported Sunday the Indians were after Delmon Young until he got traded to the Twins. One reason the Twins got him and the Tribe didn't - according to Hoynes - is the Twins were willing to give up top pitching prospect Matt Garza but the Tribe was not into the idea of trading Adam Miller.
The Tribe decided against offering arbitration to Kenny Lofton, Trot Nixon, Chris Gomez and Keith Foulke.
No surprises here. Lofton would possibly accepted, adding to the muddle in the outfield. I think the Tribe would like Lofton back, but only if they don't get a Bay-like player or if they can cull the herd of outfielders they have now by sending some of them away in trade.
The decision on Trot Nixon was a no-brainer.
I kind of like Chris Gomez - he's a nice stick off the bench and knows how to play the game. But, since the Indians rarely go to arbitration with anyone I couldn't imagine they would do so with a player of Gomez's skill set.
The really interesting one is Foulke. I'm not surprised the Indians don't want him after what he pulled last winter. The part that surprises me is that a team could conceivably find itself at an arbitration table with a player who - one year earlier - wussed out on them when they needed him.
The Johan Santana sweepstakes will make the headlines nationally as the meeting progress.
The story changes day-to-day and hour-to-hour.
The latest rumors I've read is that the Yankees will pull their offer off the table by Monday if it's not accepted.
The offer is now said to include Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes - one the the elite pitching prospects in the league - and one other top prospect. I even read in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Yankees were willing to make that third player Ian Kennedy, who - like Hughes- is slated for the Yanks rotation as of now. You'll notice in that story the little sentence marked "UPDATE," which, when journalism was really journalism, would have said "CORRECTION" instead. It seems the reporter got a little overzealous on the Ian Kennedy thing.
Meanwhile the Providence Journal reports that Santana is doing just about everything he can to force the issue, saying not only that he wouldn't waive his no-trade clause in-season, but also that he won't wave it for anyone but the Yanks and Red Sox. Kinda puts the handcuffs on the Twins no?
And so the meetings are underway. In addition to the Bay watch, I'd look for the Tribe to try to add yet-another bullpen arm. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Bullpen guys, no matter how good, have a history of showing serious fatigue a season after they've been worked to death in a deep playoff run. It may not happen to the Tribe, but then again it just might. The more arms the better.