Yet while some of us were still waiting for our morning coffee to kick in, Ken Rosenthal brings along the news of the Indians being in the kitchen with the Diamondbacks, Rangers and Rays to potentially gain a high-level prospect or two. The Bow-Tied One suggests that the Tribe would flip Asdrubal Cabrera to Arizona for a package that potentially (somehow) nets them Rangers blue-chipper outfielder Mike Olt. The parameters of mega-deals like this are hard to pull off in any sport, so there’s no real incentive to be throwing parties yet.
But the thing is this: The Indians appear serious about this whole “retooling” thing; as they are clearly walking the line between immediately upgrading the Indians themselves, while restocking the lower levels.
No matter what level of spin that has been given to us over the past few years, the Indians really haven’t been this aggressive in a long time. Sure, they swung the Ubaldo Jimenez deal with the Rockies (which continues to descend into infamy and awfulness with the Rockies trading former Indians prospect Alex White to the Astros for a set-up guy), but it now looks like it was simply a panic move to combat the Tigers’ acquisition of Doug Fister.
Aside from that, it looks like neither Eric Wedge (despite being so close to facing the Rockies in the World Series in ’07) or Manny Acta were big enough straws to stir the drinks. Having Terry Francona’s two sparkly World Series rings sets the bar of expectation a bit higher. And that sneaky contractual out-clause of his, too: Nice touch in buying himself, along with Shapiro and Antonetti some time to set the ship in the right direction.
The exciting part is that the Tribe appear attractive to free-agents right now. For a change, they appear willing to at least willing to listen to the Indians’ sales pitch, and the Indians appear willing to spend a bit more than usual, as evidenced by the four year, $44 million pact that they offered Victorino.
For the first time in a long time, it’s exciting to see the movement. They might strike out again on their attempts, but after seeing so much bargain-hunting and not much else, the aggressiveness is a breath of fresh air.
We have the Francona Effect to thank for that. Play ball.