December 2011

Dallas bound

On Sunday morning, I will be boarding a rocket ship and flying to Planet Texas. At least that’s what my2-year-old  kid thinks.

I think he might be watching a bit too much “Little Einsteins”. I told him I was going on a trip tomorrow and his eyes lit up and he blurted out “YOU’RE GOING ON A ROCKET, DADDY?!”

It took me a second to figure out that “going on a trip” sets off that show’s theme song inside that amazing little brain of his. He seemed a little disappointed when I told him that, no, I wasn’t going on a rocket. I was going on an airplane.

Rocket or not, I’ll be at the Hilton Anatole (pictured) starting Sunday for coverage of MLB’s Winter Meetings. The meetings don’t start until Monday, so day-to-day coverage on and will really be getting serious by then.

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter (@MLBastian) and keep checking back here on the blog for updates throughout the day. The blog posts have been sporadic lately, but I’ll be updating daily from Dallas with rumors and news involving the Indians.

Right now, the Indians’ main need remains adding another bat to the mix. The way I see it — barring a trade or two — there appears to be two slots open on the 25-man roster. One for a first baseman and another for the last reliever. Obviously, more acquisitions would create more competition and depth come Spring Training.

The starting outfield looks set, but Cleveland could still use some added bodies to throw into the mix for the fourth role. Matt LaPorta is guaranteed nothing for first base, so the Tribe could add more players to fight for that spot. As they hunt for help, the Indians will keep in mind that Carlos Santana will see time at first, too.

As for the bullpen, it’s possible that the Indians might consider adding a veteran arm like they did last year with Chad Durbin. Perhaps bringing an arm or two into camp on Minor League deals is a way to go. Otherwise, the Indians like the bullpen depth they have in the Majors and in the upper levels of the Minors.

Cleveland will also probably be looking for some other options for utility roles. Shelley Duncan is being considered as a fourth outfield/DH/first baseman and Jason Donald is in the mix for a super utility role, too. Jack Hannahan can play multiple spots, but third is his best position. Someone who can play the corner spots would be of interest. That’s one reason a guy like Casey Blake has reportedly drawn interest from the Indians.

I’m not expecting the Indians to make a major splash in free agency. Things could change, but the trade route seems like the best way for the Tribe to go. Players who are still in their pre-arb or early arb years would be of the most interest. Over the next few days, when so many baseball minds will be under the same roof for four days, we’ll see what names start popping up.

In the meantime, I have a suitcase to pack and a Big Ten title game to watch. Go Spartans!