Winter Meetings: Tuesday
It is Day 2 of these Winter Meetings and the Indians are, well, right where they were on Day 1. There has been plenty of talk, lots of meetings, but we’ll see if anything develops into anything of substance before we depart Nashville.
It has been well documented that Cleveland is opening to hearing out trade offers for its top players, including Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez and Justin Masterson. Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported last night that the Tribe actually came close to dealing Cabrera.
The potential acquiring club remains a mystery, but Hoynes wrote that the Indians had the framework in place for a deal that could have netted one Major League pitcher and two “high-level” prospects. The Indians insisted on a third prospect added to the mix, and that’s when things fell apart.
What this shows is that the Indians are not going to trade a player just to trade a player. The club wants a lot in return, and is not going to budge this early in the offseason game.
The way I see it, Cabrera’s value can only go down once the season starts. This is the time to deal him: 27 years old, two All-Star games, controllable at an affordable rate for two full seasons. Cleveland should try to get as much as they can, and that is what the team is trying to do.
As for someone like Choo, I think his value could actually go up as the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches. If the right fielder — a Scott Boras client, and likely free agent next winter — gets off to a good start, he could be a highly-sought rental player for a contender in the second half.
With a rotation filled with question marks, depth is needed, and so is a strong bullpen. That is why I don’t sense as much urgency to deal the likes of Masterson or Perez. Right now, it makes the most sense for the Indians to find a taker, and the right deal, for Cabrera.
Stay tuned for more rumors and updates throughout the day…
- A reminder that the Stand Up To Cancer auction ends on Thursday. It’s a cause that hits close to home for many people, including myself. I wrote about that HERE.
- According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, the Mets have targeted Indians setup man Vinnie Pestano. Why not? He’s young, controllable, cheap and good. And those are all reasons why Cleveland should (and likely will) hang on to him.
- 1:20 p.m. CT — Negotiations with free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino are heating up, according to multiple reports, and the Indians continue to be in the mix. It could take a four-year contract to sign the Flyin’ Hawaiian, who also has suitors in the Reds Sox, Cubs and Yankees. The Phillies have also been mentioned, with Reds and Braves to a lesser degree.
- 1:48 p.m. CT — Rubin also checks in with a report that free-agent outfielder Jason Bay is nearing a deal with the Mariners. Bay, a native of British Columbia, would be closer to home in Seattle. The Indians have expressed interest in Bay all winter.
- 4:39 p.m. CT — Indians are out on Victorino, who has agreed to a three-year deal, per numerous reports. Boston gave him $39 million, according to FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal. No word yet what Cleveland was offering. The Tribe is, however, still in on Bay. The earlier report was deemed “premature” by a source.
- 5:32 p.m. CT — ESPN’s Buster Olney says the D-backs have laid the groundwork for a four-team trade — currently dormant — that would net them Asdrubal Cabrera. Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com also notes that Indians have checked in with Arizona about outfielder Justin Upton. Reports have indicated that Cleveland has asked for pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs from Arizona in any deal. D-backs also have highly-touted pitcher Trevor Bauer, who would presumably be of interest as well.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer hears that free-agent third baseman Jack Hannahan has a big league offer from an AL Central club. White Sox might be a fit, but so might Hannahan’s hometown Twins. Hoynes also hears that the Tribe met with Kevin Youkilis’ agent on Tuesday.
- The Indians offered Victorino a four-year contract worth more than $40 million. Ken Rosenthal pegged down the specific total at $44 million, or $11 million per season. Victorino will earn $13 million annually in Boston.
Highlights of our sit-down with Antonetti:
- Our daily chat with Antonetti took place shortly before Victorino reached his agreement with the Red Sox, so much of the session included questions related to possibly adding him to the Indians’ outfield. Other topics were addressed as well.
- On Monday, Antonetti said free agents will often ask for his vision for the team in 2013, and beyond in the case of possible multi-year signings. Asked what he tells them, Antonetti said, “Same thing that we shared with you guys at the end of the season. We have a very talented nucleus of young players around which to build. I think we feel that, if we can complement that group with the right players moving forward, we have a chance to be a very good team.”
- Asked if Indians could benefit from having another player with leadoff experience, Antonetti said, “It could. The thing we concern ourselves with is adding the best players. With some of the players we have, they have some versatility with where they can hit in the lineup. So I think we could add guys that can hit towards the top of the lineup or add guys that hit in the middle of the lineup, and adjust with our other personnel around the player that we acquire.”
- Similar to Monday, Antonetti was asked if the team’s preference would still be to keep Michael Brantley in center field if the club signed another outfielder with exeperience as both a center and left fielder. The GM said, “As we’ve said, we’re very comfortable with Michael as our center fielder. If we were to acquire a player that we felt improved our team by playing center field, then we have the ability to shift Michael over to left. But we have all the confidence in Michael playing center field and look at him as our center fielder.”
- Antonetti praised Terry Francona’s work behind the scenes in recruiting free agents: “With the information we have so far, it’s made a huge impact. As we talked yesterday, every agent who we’ve talked to, where Terry has talked to their client, has come back and said how impressed their clients were not only with the conversation, and how fired up they’d be to play for Terry, but his reputation in the game and the reputation about the environment he creates for players to play. That is certainly been a very positive dynamic in our conversations with agents.”
- Antonetti said offering three- or four-year deals was in no way related to a perceived window for contention: “I wouldn’t want to put any timeframes on it and say how many years. We have a very talented group of players. Now, again, we need to build around that and complement them and then go to Spring Training and get our work done and play games. Ultimately, that will determine how competitive we are.”