First, there are no matinee games to get us down to the ballpark and out of the office on Wednesday afternoons. Which, I think we can all agree, sucks eggs.
But second, the Winter Meetings seem to be taking place DURING NORMAL WORKING HOURS, which means I can’t follow my twitter feed quite as closely as I’d prefer. It also means my nights are spent scrolling through e-reams of tweets to find out what the heck is happening on the Hot Stove.
From what I can gather, here’s what’s been happening on the Indians’ front.
- It seems more and more likely that we’re going to use a trade to add a bat, rather than a free agent signing. This seems both wise and necessary. Outside of Pujols and Fielder—and yes, we are decidedly OUTSIDE of Pujols and Fielder—there just aren’t a bunch of free agents who’ve caught my eye this season who make a lot of sense for the Indians. This strategy could mean you don’t see much movement before the meetings end, since the trade market typically picks up after the free agent market has died down. Mark Shapiro tweeted as much last night.
- The Astros approached the Indians about trading Carlos Lee. The catch was that we’d be on the hook for $9 million of Carlos Lee’s 2012 salary (he’s owed $18 million; the Astros would pay the remaining $9 million). To me, that’s a steep price for a 36 year old guy whose sole value comes from his bat—a bat that hasn’t produced an OPS above .800 since 2009. And that’s without knowing what we’d be expected to send to Houston in a trade. Right now, this looks fairly unlikely, but the market will change quite a bit over the next week.
- In addition to Casey Blake and Mark DeRosa, the Indians are apparently in on Casey Kotchman. File this under: rumors that just won’t go away. I believe our front office really likes Kotchman. I do not like him as an upgrade over Matt LaPorta. It’s true that Kotchman was decent in 2011 (.800 OPS). It’s also true that he was terrible in 2010, has no power, bats left handed, and is two and a half years older than LaPorta. I got into this on twitter the other night, but IF FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO, I’d rather bet on LaPorta’s (albeit slight) upside than Kotchman’s assured mediocrity. In other words, it doesn’t feel like the kind of high-upside gamble we need, even if Kotchman probably is a better overall player than LaPorta. (Although, I would point out that LaPorta’s 2012 projections are better than Kotchman’s, for whatever that’s worth.)
- It appears that if the Marlins acquire Albert Pujols, they will make Gaby Sanchez available, most likely for starting pitching. First, I can’t believe I wrote a sentence about the Marlins signing Albert Pujols. Gross. But second, Paul Cousineau mentioned this as a possibility several months ago, and I admit: I didn’t see it coming at all. If I were the Marlins, there’s no way I’d give up a cheap, young, good bat who’s under club control for FOUR MORE YEARS for a mid- to back-of-the-rotation pitcher. But that’s apparently what they’re considering if they can get their Hombre. So, um, don’t buy your new Josh Tomlin jersey just yet. For the record, I’d swap Tomlin for Sanchez in a heartbeat, if it comes to that. I’d even throw in a bullpen arm not named Vinnie to make it happen.
- Chris Antonetti said this to Jordan Bastian: the Tribe has one trade proposal that “you guys wouldn’t believe. I could probably give you 50 guesses & you wouldn’t get it.” I hate that he said this to a reporter. It’s complete manipulation of the basest sort. It’s designed to promote interest, which I totally get. It’s also designed to provoke speculation and mouth-breathing e-gasms, which I can generally do without. As I emailed to Rick last night, until I hear otherwise, I assume it’s a deal to add Jason Michaels’ mulletted step-brother. You heard it here first.