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Free agent fun at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

Free agent fun at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario
January 9, 2013
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The sun is shining brightly here at Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, as Progressive Field has managed to stay out of the dark shadows shrouding Cleveland Browns Stadium only a mile down the road. The Browns have been busy interviewing Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Arizona’s Ray Horton, former Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, Syracuse’s Dog Marrone and the CFL’s Montreal Allouettes’ head coach and former Browns’ offensive coordinator Mark Trestman for their head coaching position. The Browns are also rumored to have sent feelers out to Alabama’s Nick Saban, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, and another former Browns’ offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians. Today, rumors began circulating that former Browns’ special teams and secondary coach, as well as former Steelers’ head football coach Bill Cowher may be interested in returning to the NFL. Did I mention Jon Gruden yet?  

I only mention the Browns seemingly futile head coaching search because while the Browns are rummaging through the typical Cleveland trash bins looking for a head coach that might make a difference, your Cleveland Indians are busy wrapping up their busiest and most productive offseason since the beginning of time. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but it sure does feel good to actually be filling out the plus side of the ledger during the hot stove league season rather than keeping the books closed altogether. The Indians have single-handedly addressed nearly all of their offseason needs, and managed to do it with more money remaining, and still have the time left to make a move should a player fall into their price range or should a player go down to an unforeseen injury.

Last year, the Indians were seemingly behind the eight-ball from the start, having re-signed Grady Sizemore to a $5 million albatross contract that strapped them for the rest of the offseason. They were caught with their pants down in trying to sign Josh Willingham, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Pena and every other free agent they were chasing after because they failed to offer the right years, and/or the right money. They were then caught with their pants off when Sizemore was clearly going to be out for the foreseeable future in spring training, and didn’t have anyone to replace him except for Aaron “Freakin’” Cunningham.

Cleveland is a tough place for any professional team. Browns’ billionaire owner Jimmy Haslam has the all the money in the world. Browns’ CEO Joe Banner has all the NFL pedigree from building a winner in Philadelphia. Even so, the Browns new management team has found themselves stuck in the typical Cleveland hurricane that has seemingly drowned every professional team in the Forest City over the past twenty years.

In the meantime, the Indians have found themselves in the perfect storm of good fortune. One of the best managers in baseball chose the Indians as his redemption and in doing so, the team has on the field credibility that they haven’t had since 2001. Three short months later, the Francona-led Indians have a ship that seems to be sailing in the right direction. While the Browns are stumbling out of the gate, it feels like the Indians are in a drop-dead sprint.

What’s to come in the next 35 days, when pitchers and catchers report? Your guess is as good as mine, but let’s have a bit of fun today and speculate on some folks that the Indians may not sign or trade for, but may be in play for just the same.  Just promise me that our journey will be a short one today, because my interview for the Browns head coaching job is in a few minutes…right after Terry Francona’s.

Adam LaRoche was signed on Tuesday by the Washington Nationals. That move in and of itself doesn’t have significance with regards to the Indians, but what does is the domino effect that the signing may cause. The Nationals have a strength at the corner positions and Mike Morse has become a commodity that the Nats may be trying to trade.

The Indians seemingly filled their need for outfield help when they dealt for Drew Stubbs and signed Nick Swisher. The Indians seemingly filled their first base hole when they signed Mark Reynolds. The only hole that seems to be fairly sizable is the DH slot that currently has Chris McGuiness penciled in.

Could Morse be in play for the Indians in a deal? Nothing has been confirmed, but sources believe that the Indians may have some interest.

What would the Nationals be looking for? According to sources, the Natties are asking for left-handed relievers and/or prospects to help fill their depleted farm system. The Indians don’t have any known commodities with regards to left-handed relievers. They do, however, have players like David Huff and Scott Barnes. Might they be enticing in a deal to the Nationals that would also include a couple of young, top ten Tribe prospects such as Tony Wolters and Luigi Rodriguez? Would the Nationals consider a right-handed reliever, such as Chris Perez or Joe Smith, instead of a lefty? It’s doubtful, since there are several teams that need Morse a lot more than the Indians do, and fit the Nationals terms a lot more clearly as well.

The Mariners, Rays and Dodgers may be at the top of that list, and all three figure to have better prospects than the Indians do. The Mariners and Rays have a solid prospect base with which to deal from, while the Dodgers have an abundance of starting pitching, including left-hander Ted Lilly, who could serve as the left-handed reliever that the Nationals desire. Lilly became more readily available when the cash-strapped Dodgers (yeah, right) outbid the Nationals for lefty reliever J.P. Howell.

The Yankees are also interested in Morse, and could make things difficult for the Indians, if they desire to make a move.

With that said, imagine the Indians pulling off some sort of deal that would leave their lineup intact, and include Morse into what they already have. In Morse, you get a guy that can play right field, first and DH. He then allows fluidity with Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds, with the latter likely moving to DH, with Swisher and Morse playing right and first in some form or fashion. Like Swisher, Morse hits righties and lefties nearly the same (.292 vs. righties, .303 vs. lefties), so the lineup wouldn’t need much altering, depending on the pitcher.

The Indians could then bring in Travis Hafner in a platoon role with Reynolds for the DH position.

The Lineup would look pretty impressive:

  1. Kipnis
  2. Cabrera
  3. Swisher
  4. Santana
  5. Morse
  6. Brantley
  7. Hafner/Reynolds
  8. Chisenhall
  9. Stubbs

Of course, the lineup would have some play. Here’s a potential line-up with Brantley leading off:

  1. Brantley
  2. Kipnis
  3. Cabrera
  4. Swisher
  5. Morse
  6. Santana
  7. Chisenhall
  8. Hafner/Reynolds
  9. Stubbs

Morse would certainly be an extravagance at this point, but it sure is fun to at least be in the conversation. The Indians won’t likely add Morse, but you can be sure that Antonetti will be reaching out.

The Indians really do find themselves in the catbird seat as they begin to move through the month of January. Major League baseball’s new compensation rules have seemingly depressed the market for some of the top free agents. Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse and Rafael Soriano are still unsigned because most major league teams don’t want to pay the price it will cost them. All three were offered one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offers from their 2012 teams, and all three declined the offers, which immediately tied them up with draft-pick compensation. Not only will those players cost a boatload in salary, but teams will lost their first round pick, as well as a big chunk of their draft bonus pool case based on where (and how many times) the team picks in the first ten rounds.

Six other players were offered the $13.3 million, one-year deals, and like Soriano, Lohse and Bourn, they all declined. The other six players are Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton, Nick Swisher, David Ortiz, Adam LaRoche and Hiroki Kuroda. David Ortiz (two-years, $26 million), Hiroki Kuroda (one-year, $15 million) and Adam LaRoche (two-year, $24 million) ended up resigning with their teams. It’s significant to note that both Ortiz and Kuroda signed quickly, and above or near the $13.3 million qualifying offer. LaRoche signed this week, two months after the initial offer, and for $1.3 million a year below.

Two players cost their new team a first round pick. Josh Hamilton, arguably one of the top two or three hitters in the game, signed with the Angels. He’ll cost his new club the 22nd pick in 2013, as well as the money slotted to go there. Someone was going to sign Hamilton, but it was a journey to get there, as several teams backed off because of the compensation “strike 3” I mentioned.

B.J. Upton was the first player to sign with the Braves back in November, agreeing to a five-year, $75 million deal, which will pay him on average, $15 million a year. Upton, who’s a 28-year-old, is a five-tool player just entering his prime. He’ll cost the Braves their 28th pick, but certainly seems worth the price.

Top ten picks are protected, so the Indians didn’t have to worry about a first round pick when they signed Nick Swisher, who also declined his qualifying offer from the Yankees. For Swisher, they gave up their second round pick, which was offset by the competitive balance lottery last July which gave the Indians a sandwich pick between the second and third rounds.

Lohse, Bourn and Soriano are still waiting, and may never receive offers even close to that $13.3 million. Bourn is hunting for a reported five-year, $80-to-$100 million dollar deal, and his agent, Scott Boras, isn’t known to back down from his offer. With Upton signing for $75 million, Bourn needs to come down significantly. While many teams are in play, few are willing to pay that much for the slick-fielding centerfielder.

Kyle Lohse is 34-years-old, and was looking for a three or four year deal in the $40-$60 million range, it’s clear there isn’t a team that is even close. He stated this past week that he hasn’t even received an offer yet. He’s just too old for those kind of years, and for that kind of cash.

Soriano just isn’t worth losing a draft pick for.

Why I mention all of this with regards to the Indians is that should the Indians get involved in discussions with any of these players, they still won’t have to give up a first rounder, and since their second rounder is already gone, they’ll move down to the third round. This could put the Indians in play, should they open the checkbook.

The Indians have been tied to Lohse and were mentioned with regards to Bourn prior to the Swisher signing. They haven’t been, nor will they be tied to Soriano, although you have to wonder if ANYONE will sign a closer. Can they sign Lohse or Bourn?

My initial reaction is no. In a best case scenario, Lohse will get a one-year, $9 million deal, and that’s a reach. It’s believed that the Cardinals are moving on, since they are loaded with young pitching. That said, would the Cardinals sign Lohse if they could get him at two-years and $20 million? I can’t imagine they wouldn’t. Let’s face facts. A best case scenario would seemingly put Lohse out of play. Nine million is just too much.

Bourn’s ceiling right now is B.J. Upton’s contract, but that ship has likely sailed. If $15 million is off the table, then what can a slick-fielder, .270 hitter expect to get in a contract? Shane Victorino just signed a three-year, $39 million deal, and Bourn is two years younger. A best case scenario for any team would be a one-year, $10 million contract, and I really don’t see that happening. Instead, I could see a two year, $24 million deal similar to LaRoche. I also don’t think the Braves would back off a deal like that, or even a little more. Again, Bourn appears to be out of play.

So here are the two questions you have to ponder:

  1. Would the Indians be willing to overspend this year to add pieces that could put them over the top, but get them players on a short-term, below-market contract?
  2. Will the market play out and drop Lohse or Bourn WAY below market value so that the Indians COULD afford them?

I think the answer to both questions will be a big no. This IS the land of the unknown though, so these players could still be in play come the end of the month. If they are, I can’t imagine the Indians won’t entertain the thought of trying to sign them to a creative deal. With the Indians only having to give up a third rounder should they sign another of these three players, they may even be competitive.

Is it possible that any of these free agents could sit out the year? It sure is doubtful, but you just never know.

Don’t count on it. Don’t even plan on it. Here’s the thing though: the Indians are a legitimate contender for any free agent available. Yeah, I know, say that out loud to yourself a few times. You may even believe it after the second or third time you say it.

This team’s biggest need is starting pitching, so Lohse would be the most important guy to go out and get, but he’s not the only pitcher out there.

 

PLAYER

AGE

2012 TEAM

Aaron Cook

33

Boston

Freddy Garcia

36

NY Yankees

Colby Lewis

33

Texas

Kyle Lohse

34

St. Louis

Derek Lowe

39

NY Yankees

Shaun Marcum

31

Milwaukee

Daisuke Matsuzaka

32

Boston

Kevin Millwood

38

Seattle

Roy Oswalt

35

Texas

Carl Pavano

37

Minnesota

Jonathan Sanchez

30

Colorado

Joe Saunders

31

Baltimore

Ben Sheets

34

Atlanta

Chien-Ming Wang

32

Washington

Randy Wolf

36

Baltimore

Chris Young

33

NY Mets

Carlos Zambrano

31

Miami

There are some interesting candidates that are still available, and all come with various risks and some upside. There are names on here that I wouldn’t touch, and names on here that are risks, and there are also some guys up here who will either take minimum deals or minor league contracts. There are also several names not listed in the list above. Who will the Indians get, and who have they targeted? I’m sure like everyone else, they are waiting for the first few big names to drop off the list, then go from there.

I wonder if the Indians will be this fun when they actually play baseball games? It’s hard to believe that they won’t, but it’s hard to worry about the games actually being played, when the front office has been moving this team methodically towards contention. How good will they be? Well, they ARE in first place, aren’t they?

One final note here at the Corner: if you haven't had a chance to read and vote in the IBI Power Polls over the past month, please take a second to take a walk down memory lane. Once you're done reading, please vote for the best Indians catcher, first baseman and second baseman of all-time at the bottom. The polls will be fluid, but at the end of all this, Indians Baseball Insider will be creating the IBI All-Time All Indians team. Click on the links below:

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Thanks for taking part! Alright, I'm off to my interview...wish me luck. Hey, Rutigliano's here...hmmm....

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Seth
January 9, 2013 - 5:41 PM EST
Roto, Bourn would be a huge upgrade over Stubbs though. Brantley's the LF in either situation. Bourn has been a 4-5 win player, Stubbs has been replacement-level the last 2 years and would be best-utilized in a backup role. Money and contract-length aside (and these are obviously the two biggest issues), having Bourn would greatly improve them in 2013, there is probably no player available who would provide a bigger upgrade, including Lohse. If he could be had on a 1-year deal, the Indians should be interested, but if Bourn could be had on a 1-year deal, so would many other teams. I'm surprised Texas hasn't snatched Bourn up, would think they could use him.
RotoSaurus
January 9, 2013 - 3:58 PM EST
I disagree with you guys. I don't see Bourn as a fit, and here's why. If we signed Bourn, then Stubbs becomes the 4th OF, but it doesn't help us move Reynolds to DH which would really help the infield defense. Brantley is a starter, he's not a 4th OF. Morse is a fit. He can play 1B, RF, and DH... which are our areas of need. Aside from Swisher no one else can play RF. Morse would allow us to move Reynolds off 1B and use him as our DH as Morse and Swisher can both play RF and 1B. Morse is also a right-handed power bat, which is exactly what we need... not another light-hitting left-handed bat. Believe me, I realize Bourn's value... he's the best base-stealer in baseball, and a great lead-off hitter... he just doesn't fit our needs. As for Lohse... stop. He's 34 years old, and pitching over his head the last 2 seasons. He's a 5-6 K/9 pitcher who relies on good control and good luck to get by. His peripheral stats tell the real story as he is not the 2.9-3.3 ERA pitcher his stats say he was the past 2 seasons... he's a high 3s to 4 ERA pitcher... and in the AL he's likely a 4.1-4.3 ERA pitcher... mediocre. Anyone who gives him more than a year or two will deeply regret it, especially an AL club. Morse and Marcum are the targets you want for the Indians... get them and this is a legit contender. Lohse and Bourn will do very little to help this team. They'll help, but their value will be far below what you're paying them.
Seth
January 9, 2013 - 2:28 PM EST
There would be no reason why Detroit would sign Bourn. They already have Austin Jackson. The Tigers like to collect DHs, not CFs who get a ton of value from their defense.

It's nice to dream, but I think Bourn and Lohse sign much higher than the nubmers in the article. If Lohse would take a 1-year deal, I can't imagine multiple teams wouldn't be very interested at around $15 million, after all, the Royals thought it was a good idea to pay Santana $12 million. Sure, you lose a draft pick, but you get a guy who should be pretty good, and if you don't re-sign, nets you a draft pick in the subsequent draft. Same with Bourn.

I'd be pretty ambivalent on a Chris Perez for Morse trade. I would have to think the Nats would be interested in Perez, sure you might want left-handed relief, but a LOOGY versus an established closer who's been equally tough on LH and RH, you pick the closer, right? From the Indians end, I do think paying $7 million to Perez is a bad investment, when you're basically talking about him taking the spot of Cody Allen in the bullpen. With Pestano, and especially now that Myers is in the fold, Perez is expendable. Morse is certainly better than having McGuiness as the primary DH, but I'd think if they were down with trading Perez, there'd be better players to go after. I'd be okay with that trade though, if they were to do it.
Norm
January 9, 2013 - 2:26 PM EST
Nice article Jim. I would love to see Morse in an Indian uni. Not sure who among us would not. For the life of me, I cannot see how a deal with the Nats would work but it is a nice wish.

On the other hand, I would really like another SP and a 3rd round pick for Lohse could be an acceptable cost if the money is right.

I really liked Tony's projected lineup based on where the roster is now. Signing Hafner is a fallback position if our rule 5, McGuiness doesn't cut it from my perspective. Frankly, I would not give Hafner any more than a minor league deal and he is my favorite Indian. Hafner would probably improve Yan Gomes' chances because of his versatility.

A lot of time before they have to make a decision since they have sorting out to do with SP and RP before a final roster.
Carl
January 9, 2013 - 1:07 PM EST
Nice column Jim. It is nice to dream. All the excitement over the excellent moves has fans a little giddy. I am excited about going to Tribe Fest. You listed Colby Lewis, however I thought he resigned with Texas. I believe we need more pitching. You can never have too much pitching, as the saying goes. I have heard almost nothing on Shaun Marcum. I would like to see him signed. K Lohse, there has to be a creative way to get him here. Cheap year one contract, maybe 3 years, with player option. Maybe he can opt out after two years. Something. For only a 3rd rounder, lets get creative. It really surprises me how much these teams value draft pick. They miss the pick, bad drafting, so often that it really is hard to imagine such an impact. I think the money limit is probably bigger then the pick itself. my fear is that Detroit, will sweep in and sign a Lohse or Bourn. Yes imagine, Bourn leading off with Detroit, or Lohse as the number five starter. Scary.
Jim
January 9, 2013 - 12:19 PM EST
Lol...I didn't count that...watch it be 26 players...lol...yeah...Jurjjens is a guy many have talked about...and all agree would be a good pick up...

Guess who his agent is?

Hmmm...wonder why the market is bogged down? Boras is an idiot...but does get his players their cash...
Jim
January 9, 2013 - 12:14 PM EST
1 bat...but Morse/Stubbs/Brantley/swish is your outfield (def be damned), meaning Haf would be your one bat, and no need for 4th OF. Would be plenty of at bats for all, with Haf getting the least. Wouldn't be any diff than current talk to bring in Haf wit Cabrera or Fedroff as 4th....and aviles as your utility.

Santana
Reynolds
Kip
Chis
Acab
Stubbs
Brantley
Swish
Morse
Hafner
Aviles
Marson
Masterson
Jimenez
Myers
Mcallister
5th starter
Perez
Pestano
Smith
Allen
Hagadone
Albers
Shaw
Marson
(Just getting six in the pen, put whoever u want)

Now, I wouldn't want Haf as that bat, but used him because he's been mentioned. I'd want someone more versatile, but I guess that would be Reynolds, who would be dhing for the most part, play first part-time, with Haf filling in.

Again...playing the what if card u love so much tony...;)...but could fit if they wanted to go that route...

Still thin Aviles gets his at bats in the infield, and think The outfielders would get there at bats, and give Stubbs a chance to sit against the more difficult lefties, as Morse can hit well against both...

Again T...just spec...never gonna happen...but could, for all the Haf fans out there!!!
Homer
January 9, 2013 - 12:11 PM EST
Jim,
I actually think the Tribe should try to sign one of Bourn or Lohse bc the penalty (3rd rd pk & $$$) would be more reasonable this yr.
The Tribe could take a number of options into Spring Training or they could offset the signing by trading away Chris Perez or Asdrubal Cabrera. Preferably Perez, bc of the depth of the bullpen and ACab would help supply more offense and keep Aviles in a ultra UTL guy.
Personally, I'd want at least 3 prospects (2 B prospects) in the upper levels for Perez.
Joe
January 9, 2013 - 12:07 PM EST
I agree Kory. Have been touting Jurjiens for some time now. Could be a good pick up for a reasonable price.
Joe
January 9, 2013 - 12:04 PM EST
Great line Jim. Only sorry it took so long for him. Probably the greatest influence in escalating contract values over the years. Small-mid market teams simply cannot compete for his stable of "horses"!
Kory
January 9, 2013 - 12:00 PM EST
I think Jair Jurrjens would be a nice cheap pick up for the Tribe. I think he has comeback written all over him. What do you guys think?
Tony
January 9, 2013 - 11:51 AM EST
I'm not saying the Indians can't sign Hafner for cheap....but he is going to get $1-3M when all is said and done. Also, I don't see how both Morse and Hafner can be added because Reynolds is a starter and Morse should be in there almost every day. Only room for one bat.
Roger
January 9, 2013 - 11:47 AM EST
dream is right!!!!!!!!!!! i dont for once agree with tony!!!! i think the most money haf is gonna see he got in severance pay from the tribe if he get 2mill i will be surprised he doesnt have much of a bargaining position. not like he can play anywhere. i have no idea who his agent is however it dont matter hafner only needs cleats and a bat no glove necessary unless he is needed to play catch. like i said IT IS BUYERS MARKET Haf take what you can get and as for collusion all of it is spelled out in the CBA no collution and the players union agreed so file the papers all you want this isnt flood or messersmith deja vu. you can file all the papers you want with a law degree and a paralegal employee but getting to court is an entire different thing and the CBA is what it is!!!!!!!
Jim
January 9, 2013 - 11:30 AM EST
Joe...I'm sure Boras has the collusion plan already ready to go...
Jim
January 9, 2013 - 11:28 AM EST
Homer, I don't disagree at all...and why I even mentioned it today. There's a small part of me that thinks the Indians could do exactly that...throw all their eggs in a barrel...and GEt one or both. It would immediately make them a favorite in the AL...and with Bourn, Stubbs, Brantley, u would have the best defensive outfield in baseball...would cure your dh issue and 4th outfielder issue...would have play at first with swish and Reynolds...could platoon Stubbs a bit...would be crazy. Lohse immediately becomes #1...less pressure on 2&3, with Ub/Masterson, have Myers as your 4, and have mccalister/Carrasco/Bauer/Kluber/huff/Tomlin...all fighting for 5...or could move Myers to pen.

Bourn immediately becomes your leadoff hitter, kip at 2, acab 3, swish 4, Santana 5, Brantley 6 (although I'd live him at 9), Reynolds 7, Chis 8 and Stubbs 9 (although I could see Chis moving to 6, Stubbs 8 and Brantley 9, and play in the middle as well)...

Solid Pen...tradeable assets...

Ah, to dream..
Joe
January 9, 2013 - 11:27 AM EST
Lohse and Bourne would be nice. Major holdback here would be their agent. Bor-ass is not a Tribe favorite, and I think he is their agent.
Morse would have to be at a most friendly price only. He is a FA after '13, I believe, Also, did he not have PED issues a while ago. He will be 31 yrs. old by the time the season starts, and has only put in one year where he played 140 games. Some red flags there. Would like to see him in Cleveland, but don't think it will happen.
Interesting to see quite a few Bor-ass clients having a hard time landing big contracts this year.
Homer
January 9, 2013 - 11:15 AM EST
Honestly, I'm probably a little crazy for thinking it but I think the Tribe should be in on both Bourn and Lohse. Signing either for that matter is far different but perhaps they land one of the two remaining upper level FA's at a friendly price.

I've made several suggestions, how the Tribe could land either Bourn or Lohse. IF they can they should...we are talking some of the premier FA's on the mkt. To sign the same qlty of player next season would potentially cost the Tribe a 1st rd pk.

Here's an outside idea how the Tribe could creatively land Kyle Lohse...
1st I'll use Cody Ross as an example. Ross reportedly wanted 3 yrs / $25 M and eventually signed for 3 yrs / $26 M including the $1 M buyout on the fourth yr.
2nd I'll use the Ross contract as a model, and meet the avg. annual salary that Edwin Jackson got from the Cubs.
3rd Here's how... 3 yrs with a 4th yr team option for a buyout of $3 M, now here's how the deal could stack up...
2012: 1st yr $6 M
2013: 2nd yr $15 M
2014: 3rd yr $15 M
2015: 4th yr $3 M buyout (of potentially $15 M)
Total contract value: $39 M over 3 yrs

This is just an example of how the Tribe could be creative and add a FA they want. It's unlikely, but after seeing the Dbax sign Cody Ross as inspiration, maybe, just maybe the Tribe gets creative and makes it happen.
Jim
January 9, 2013 - 11:08 AM EST
I think there are a lot of folks that think Lohse and Bourn may eventually have to go low, but I just don't believe they will. I think my minimums for both ate likely too low. I think Boras is their agent...maybe for all three. If that's the case, I don't think they'll sign a low deal. Right now, I'm sure Bourn is looking for an Upton deal or better. My bet is if someone would come in at a Victorino type deal, they may still be in the no stage...but eventually, that'll be the deal they sign...maybe a little less...or a little more. No stealing Bourn. Lohse is a little more interesting because of his age...but I do think he hasn't been offered because he's going for a Greinke contract. Not as big, mind u, but I'm sure Boras is saying "last big contract..." He has to want a 4-year deal, and while Lohse is saying no one has offered, do u think Boras isnt making calls?! He is...just asking too much. Can he be affordable? I say no. I think Boras will get them to hold out, waiting for someone to blink...

But who knows...unknown territory. Where this gets fun is next year...what will happen? Seems like signing early pays off...and "saves teams money." Of course, will some players bite on the offer sheet next year? Soriano, in particular, is a moron. He won't get offered anywhere near 11-13 million because u can get a guy like Perez for 1/3 or more less, and likely give up less than first rounders...and not give up bonus pool money.

Crazy
Tony
January 9, 2013 - 10:28 AM EST
I'd like Morse, though I don't see a fit with the Indians and Nats on a deal. If they want lefty relief help, obviously the Indians are of no help there since the Indians have lefty relief issues themselves. If they want a near ML ready good prospect, the Indians probably can't help there either. But, if they want two B- or C+ prospects, then there may be a fit. It looks unlikely and a long shot, especially since the other teams interested in Morse have more to trade. If the Indians were to get Morse, I have to say I disagree with Jim on his idea to bring back Hafner too. I just don't see that at all. They would have to pay both Morse and Hafner close to $10 million total, and Reynolds was brought in to play almost every day and won't platoon. They have room for a bat....not two.

As for Lohse and Bourn....I have a piece for Sunday's Happenings where I will talk about both provided they are still unsigned by then. I agree with Jim in that the Indians should look to add them in what is a unique situation for them to strike and get a good player for a below market value contract. I agree it is a longshot still, but I still think they are lying in the weeds waiting to see how far their price drops....and could eventually strike. Wow, what an offseason it would be if they found a way to bring in Lohse.
Roger
January 9, 2013 - 10:15 AM EST
after reading jim's hypothesis. a few points soriano isnt a free agent but has huge dollar contract. He is like Edwin Jackson always been available with that talent makes you wonder why.As for Morse he is interesting but again the sox gave up on him sending him to the mariners and he did nothing there and there are just so many jose bautista's out there and no thanks on scott baker he may be a stud and i would rather not deal him for a "rent a player" scenario. Morse is a free agent after this year i think and frankly his and the nationals asking price is above what he may be worth. He very well could be like the guy the nats got from the phillies. Worth. So sitting back isnt the worse case scenario Pronk of course is doable but again it is a buyers market for Pronk. Morse is sellers market.. As for more pitching i know you can never have too much pitching but again dont mortgage the future for another pircher or player, to proly finish second in the division. Detroit under performed for the regular season in 2012, and it may be more likely for them to win 100 games then to win 90. Again the division is theirs to lose and no trade or free agent is likely to bridge the gap in talent between the two lake erie teams, If smitty can be moved for another starter go for it but dont mortgage the future. Didnt the ranger play in the 10 and 11 series and lost the one game wild card playoff to baltimore. so the end does not justify the mean in 2012. sorry for the double blog i read the article after the first blog
Roger
January 9, 2013 - 9:53 AM EST
see you got a twitter from austin adams how is his shoulder tony? The odds are surely against him but again the medical reports are never fully disclosed due to privacy concerns, it could have been a clean out, not like bert jones or wayne garland surgeries and rehabilitatable. so what did he say or is it privileged tony?

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