Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tribe gets reliever, 2B prospect for Gutierrez

The Tribe was one of the teams involved in a three-team, 12-player trade agreed to last night. It's complicated. The Tribe gets reliever Joe Smith from the Mets and 2B prospect Luis Valbuena from Seattle and sends outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle.

It's too busy on the job for me today (the one I get paid for) to write much more on this. But my other home in the blogosphere - MVN's Tribe Report - has a bit more information about the guys coming to the Tribe. It's penned (keyboarded) by Michael Taylor. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The one thing I didn't want to see this winter

The ink has not yet been applied - let alone dried - on a Kerry Wood contract with the Indians and a little bit of the joy of the likely signing has been zapped.

Zapped by the following headline found this morning on the New York Post Web site:


Although it didn't make most of today's editions of the Post's ink-on-paper product, the tabloid's Web site reports Sabathia has agreed to the Yankees six-year, $140 million offer to play in the new Yankee Stadium.

The agreement apparently came after Yankee GM Brian Cashman slipped away from the winter meetings in Las Vegas and went to Sabathia's SF-area home yesterday evening to talk with the big guy about playing in the Bronx.

I had no illusion that Sabathia would be back with Cleveland. It was never even a thought.

But as a Tribe fan living in the New York area it is going to sting to watch CC pull on the pinstripes or road grays every fifth day for the Yankees.

As time passed, I became increasingly hopeful that Sabathia would just say no to all the bucks and take someone else's money. The Dodgers or Giants would have been nice. Out of site (out on the West Coast) out of mind. Milwaukee would have been fine too - a small market team making a splash is something I could root for.

But knowing that CC will be pitching for the Yankees just because they have the most money to throw around, and just because they decided he's the guy they wanted and they can do whatever they decide, that is the hard part.

The Yanks are said to also be among the final suitors for A.J. Burnett - willing to top a four-year, $60 million offer from the Braves - and Derek Lowe.

Suddenly Chien-Ming Wang becomes their No. 4 starter - or at least No. 3.

Just in case they don't get Burnett and/or Lowe, they've also been in on Ben Sheets, and they have Andy Petttite twisting in the wind. Pettitte likely would retire if he's not offered a chance to come back to New York.

And, for No. 5, the Yanks have Joba Chamberlain. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy - two-fifths of last year's start-of-season rotation - would be toiling in the minors as insurance.

With Sabathia averaging $24 million, and Burnett and Lowe being offered something a little north of $15 million per, the Yankee starting rotation (even though Wang and Chamberlain have not hit the free-agency bonanza yet) would still come in north of $60 million. Throw in $15 million for Mariano Rivera out of the pen and you're already higher than some teams' total payroll.

The worst part about this news is that Yankee fans will be back at full smugness this season, as their store-bought (Tiffany's) rotation likely returns them to the post-season and their fans will act as though their GM is a genius, just because he - like everyone else in baseball - knew who the best three free-agent pitchers were this winter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who Wood of thunk it? Tribe has real closer. (maybe)

If's Anthony Castrovince is right, the Indians are about to sign former Cubs closer Kerry Wood.

No details yet beyond the fact that the two sides are far along into the talks.

So, after months of deafening silence from the Tribe's front office, there's something more than made-up, or sketchy rumors to talk about.

And who would have thought when the Tribe entered the market for a closer with several other teams this fall that they would come home with - perhaps - the second-best option available.

The Mets reportedly have signed the biggest name in the pool - Francisco Rodriguez.

After that an argument could be made for Wood at No. 2, but you might also put Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman or JJ Putz in that second slot.

Putz would have cost Tribe some players they can now trade elsewhere to fill other needs.

Hoffman would have probably come at only one year (Wood is said to be getting two from the Tribe), but at 41 you never know.

Fuentes also would have come without costing players, and he was actually the one I thought the Tribe might get. But he was seeking $10 million to $12 million a year for too many years, which should have been a clue that he would not be wearing a Tribe uni next season.

But Wood is just fine with me. He's not as lights-out fast as he was before his many injuries, but he can still be dominating in the 9th, and when is the last time the Tribe had a closer you would describe as dominating.

Ya. I don't remember either. I guess it would have to be Jose Mesa a dozen years ago.

The news is particularly welcome because, for the most part, all we've heard so far out of the front office is "we looked at these guys at that position, but they cost too much; then we looked at other guys at another position, but they cost too much."

I was beginning to think this year's off-season was going to be a redux of last year, and you see where that got us.

Now at least, I hold out some hope that the Tribe will indeed do what's needed to get back into a very winnable Central Division race.

So far - at least from what we're reading, they have taken the first step.