Offseason recap: Indians meet goals to date
The good news is that the Indians don’t have to spend the next month negotiating or preparing for an arbitration hearing now that all six of their eligible players have agreed to deals.
For those hoping that means this can possibly free something up for a right-handed bat, there’s hardly anything on the free-agent market.
With a little more than a month remaining until spring training, the Tribe has accomplished their major offseason goals of adding some power in the middle of the lineup with Brandon Moss and getting a veteran starter to offset some of the youth in the rotation in Gavin Floyd. It hasn’t been a flashy offseason like the White Sox but it also hasn’t been as tumultuous as the Athletics.
For the most part, things have gone according to plan. Jason Giambi was the team’s only free agent and there were plenty of in-house candidates for bullpen coach when Kevin Cash got the manager’s job in Tampa Bay.
The fact that things have been pretty much sedate at the corner of Ontario and Carnegie might also not be a bad thing considering the Cleveland sports scene the past four months.
Any goodwill the Browns generated with a 7-4 start evaporated in December while everyone remains flummoxed on the Cavs being at the .500 mark midway through the season. While nothing gets fans heart rates up like change, it doesn’t necessarily translate to results.
"I feel good about the group of guys that we have and if there is an opportunity to try to improve we will be open to doing that," general manager Chris Antonetti said.
When it comes to that right-handed bat, the only name that jumps out is former Red Ryan Ludwick and that is only if you can get him on a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. After hitting 26 home runs and driving in 80 runs in 2012, Ludwick has seen his power numbers dip the past two seasons (11 home runs, 57 RBI) after he suffered a shoulder injury on opening day the following year.
Rickie Weeks hit .302 against lefties last season, but is mainly a second baseman and outfielder Jonny Gomes, who has a .277 career average against lefties, is tough to project where to fit.
Signing a right-handed bat to a minor-league deal would be similar to the move earlier this week when the Indians added some bullpen competition with Anthony Swarzak.
Financially, Antonetti said there is some wiggle room to make a deal but that might be better served toward an extension for Corey Kluber. Coming off a Cy Young and now the ace of the staff, it would be better served to get an extension done before opening day instead of trying to get something done next offseason, when the right-hander becomes arbitration eligible.