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.

1 comment:

moose said...

for those starving for some baseball


Matt Underwood and Brian Anderson provide daily coverage of the Baseball Winter Meetings from Nashville

CLEVELAND, OH – SportsTime Ohio today announced its weekly Indians show, “The Tribe Report” will travel to Nashville for Baseball’s Winter Meetings beginning Monday December 3.

Tribe broadcasters Matt Underwood and Brian Anderson will host the show. These Special Edition Tribe Reports will be half-hour shows Monday 12/3 thru Thursday 12/6 at 10:00pm. Each show will then be replayed the next day at 3:30pm.

The winter meetings are an annual event where all Major League clubs are represented. Many trades and deals happen at this time. “The Tribe Report” will have all the information about what deals the Indians are involved in along with interviews with Mark Shapiro, other GM’s, and agents.

In addition, beginning Monday December 10 STO will have themed weeks for Classic Indians Games. The week of December 10 will be “Spank the Yankees Week” where every night an Indians win over the Yankees will be shown, including the 2007 playoffs. The following week starting on Monday December 17 will be “Clinch Week” featuring classic clinching games from the ‘90s and 2007.

“Spank the Yankees Week”:

Monday 12/10 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 7/4/06 vs. NYY

Tuesday 12/11 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 8/31/04 vs. NYY

Wednesday 12/12 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 10/4/07 vs. NYY

Thursday 12/13 10:00pm Classic Indians Game: 10/5/07 vs. NYY

Friday 12/14 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 10/8/07 vs. NYY

Saturday 12/15 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 10/2/02 vs. NYY

“Clinch Week”:

Monday 12/17 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 9/8/95 vs. BAL

Tuesday 12/18 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 9/17/96 vs. CWS

Wednesday 12/19 9:00pm Classic Indians Game: 9/16/98 vs. MIN

Thursday 12/20 10:00pm Classic Indians Game: 9/23/07 vs. OAK

Friday 12/21 12:00noon Classic Indians Game: 10/8/07 vs. NYY