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Free agency not to their liking, Indians looking to trade for bat

Dec 6, 2011, 7:13 PM EDT

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7:13 p.m. EST update: Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Astros tried to interest the Indians in Carlos Lee, but that even covering half of his $18 million salary wasn’t enough to tempt Cleveland. Lee does offer a solid right-handed bat, but he’d have to come in at significantly less than $9 million to be attractive. Willingham isn’t likely to get any more than that annually, and Derrek Lee could probably be had for $7 million-$8 million.

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With the price tags for Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham proving high, the Indians are looking to trade for a right-handed hitter to help at first base and/or in the outfield, FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports.

Morosi states that the Indians would be willing to tap into their relief depth to facilitate a deal. Closer Chris Perez seems likely to stay, but righties Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith and lefties Tony Sipp and Rafael Perez could potentially be had, though Pestano wouldn’t come cheap.

Florida’s Gaby Sanchez would be an obvious target for Cleveland if the Marlins can sign Albert Pujols. Sanchez hit .266/.352/.427 with 19 homers and 78 RBI in 572 at-bats last season, and since he’s not even arbitration eligible yet, his addition would still leave the Indians with money to play with. The problem there is that the Marlins are content with their pen and will likely seek a young starter in return for Sanchez.

San Diego’s Kyle Blanks is another who would make sense, and the Padres are looking for relief help. Blanks, 25, hit .229/.300/.406 9n 170 at-bats for the Padres after returning from Tommy John surgery last season. He’s miscast as an outfielder, but he’d offer plenty of power potential at first base. Despite playing half his games in Petco, he’s hit 20 homers in 420 at-bats as a major leaguer.

  1. moondoggcavalier - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Hey Dolan/Shapiro/Antonetti you are never going win a World Series by constantly trading for guys. Shell out the money for Cuddyer and Willingham. It will balance out this lineup and give the lineup more proven power. Though I actually like Gaby Sanchez idea. I’ll just say this, if you trade to improve this team, then you need to give Choo/Asdrubal extensions.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      We don’t know what kinds of funds they have. If they’re strapped, Matthew’s ideas make a lot of sense.

      • moondoggcavalier - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:42 PM

        I would say with the attendance they had last year, and the attendance they will have this year (if they make big moves) they have quite a bit of room financially. I think awhile back I estimated they have around 25 million to spend, which would put the payroll around 74 million. Sanchez still is arbitration eligible, Choo/Cabrera could demand 8-10 million per year. What I would really like to see is resign ACab, sign Willingham, and get Sanchez. If Choo bounces back and is productive throughout the year, work an extension out then.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM

        I don’t think attendance directly correlates to payroll budgets. An MLB team is a large entity with lots of complicated and moving financial parts; I’m sure Antonetti will do what he can with what he can.

      • moondoggcavalier - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        I sure hope so

    • jtk1985 - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:44 PM

      So overspend on an average player (and neither of those guys are more then that) or give up some relief depth (and bullpens are as fluid a position as there is in MLB) and get a young bat with a few years before they get a forced raise? I know the Yanks and Sox make it look like teams can just write a blank check but it doesnt work like that for the other teams.

      The 90′s Indians werent built by huge FA signings, they traded for unknown young players and coached them up. Sadly we havent had the same success since but it does work if executed correctly.

      • moondoggcavalier - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM

        I just want to win. And I want management that they REALLY want to win. If they trade for Sanchez, I would still like another right-handed bat for the outfield. Willingham really fits that role. He could also DH when Hafner needs a day off or is injured.

    • Lukehart80 - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      They aren’t going to win the World Series by throwing a bunch of money at Michael Cuddyer either.

      • moondoggcavalier - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:53 PM

        Fair enough. I retract my statement about Cuddyer. Willingham though, is a must.

  2. jtk1985 - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Moondogg what attendance are you talking about? Indians were 24th in the Majors in attendance with barely over 50% average. Thats pathetic and leads to cut backs in salary not raises.

    • moondoggcavalier - Dec 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      Their attendance was higher than projected, so they have extra money to spend. They actually sold out a handful of games which balances out the crappy attendance in April/May due to shitty weather.

    • dirtyalaskan - Dec 6, 2011 at 6:29 PM

      Look at how the attendance was when they were winning all those games in the middle of the season. If the front office spends the money to get good players, fans will buy in because of the wins the signings will bring.

      • jtk1985 - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM

        Actually I was at many of the early season games (when the Indians were hot) and there was no one there. Yes on weekends when we were winning the stadium was fairly full, but it was also completely barren any other day.

        And they sold out games against the Yanks (yankee fans) Tigers (Tiger fans) and Reds (in state rivals). Other then that and the Thomecoming the Indians had 0 complete sell outs.

        Believe me I went to 20 games this past season and each time I was able to walk up to the box office 15 minutes before first pitch and get my normal Outfield Lower Reserve seats right over the wall. Again 50% full means the owners didnt make much money as Concessions were low and merchandise was low.

        Also the Indians had said before the season their expectations were 60% plus for attendance and they fell below that goal.

  3. bigtrav425 - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    No Lee,willingham,Blake or any of those has beens or nobody’s!! if they are serious about makin the next step then they will get a impact bat and if none is there then wait till the trading deadline.don’t waste money on dead weight.and don’t do another dumbass Jimenez trade!

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