On Wednesday, I flew back to snowy Cleveland from my vacation in Florida. A short time after my flight landed, I noticed that I had an e-mail from the Indians’ Director of Baseball Information Bart Swain. Susan, who had received the same e-mail, wanted to discuss what it referenced since it was quite vague. Under the subject of “Probability” it simply said “Please keep your afternoon open tomorrow. Thinking 4PM you will want to come down and visit the Press Interview Room at the ballpark. Details in the morning, hopefully 11am ish.” We weren’t thinking about the fact that Nick Swisher had not been formally introduced to the Cleveland media at that point, and we immediately started to wonder what was taking place at this media event.
I decided to e-mail the rest of the IPL writers in order to collect their thoughts on the subject (whether or not their thoughts were serious or sarcastic). Once it became clear that the event was Swisher’s formal introduction, I decided that this could still make for an interesting post. The main reason for this is that we all had somewhat similar thoughts on the matter, whether our thoughts were wishful thinking or what we would expect as a “big move” from the Indians. (Even our sarcastic guesses were similar in many ways). I think this could open a new line of discussion on what moves we realistically believe the Indians could still make before the season starts.
Stephanie: I honestly thought it was an announcement that they were signing Jim Thome to a 1-year deal, or that he was going to formally announce his retirement. Since I saw that he would still like to play, I doubt we’ll be hearing about his retirement any time soon (unless a team fails to sign him). My sarcastic guess was something to do with the hot dogs (an elusive fourth hot dog?) but I didn’t really think about it that much. I should add that I mentioned the Thome guess when I sent this out to everyone else, so that’s why you’ll see it referenced in other guesses.
Susan: In order of probability:
1. Official introduction of Nick Swisher. (Free season tickets if you get a Nike Nick Swish tattoo.)
2. We’ve signed Jim Thome to a one-year deal.
3. Slider and Onion announce they’re having a baby. (Do we call them Slinion or Onder?)
Chris: It better be Thome. He fits a need and continues the bridge-fixing between the paying customer and front office. It’ll probably be the return of Andy Marte though. Sorry to be a buzzkill. (Sent in a second e-mail) – Now that I really think about it, it could be an official announcement of the FOX deal.
Ryan P.: I love the Thome idea as well – a cheap source of power and the fan base will love it. However, I’ll step out of the box to change it up as well. Here are my guesses:
1) The Tribe has signed Shaun Marcum – I know he’s been on their radar for a while.
2) For an obviously sarcastic guess: The Tribe announces the signing of “Relish the hot dog” to a 5-year, $1,000 deal to primarily serve in a utility role when any of the other three hot dogs are unable to race.
Brenden: I guess I will be the daring one and say it’s not Thome. I will say that it is either one of two things:
1) A Brett Myers press conference (boringggg).
2) The Tribe announces that they have signed Kyle Lohse. If you think about it, it could make sense. His market has been slow, and despite rumors of teams being interested, perhaps he sees the light and signs in Cleveland. The rotation would be “meh” then, at least.
Justin: Maybe they are announcing the suspension of ketchup, for taking PEDs. I’ve always wondered how he always wins the hot dog race.
Ryan M.: My best guess is also that they’re bringing Thome back. MLB Trade Rumors recently mentioned that he was working out and still interested in returning. There’s certainly room for him to platoon at DH and get 200-250 at-bats against righties. And if they’re honestly hoping to compete this year, having a guy like Thome available to pinch-hit late in the season would be a nice alternative to Thomas Neal or Chris McGuiness.
Vern: The header “Probability…” had me thinking they were going to announce some sort of promotion with the Horseshoe Casino, but I don’t think MLB would really go for a club doing anything like that, would they? So here’s my jokey contribution: the new Premium Club seating will be officially known as the Swisher Suites.
As you can see, something with the hot dogs really led the way when it came to sarcastic guesses. Two of the guesses (Ryan P. and Brenden) involved the signing of an additional pitcher. Even with the Brett Myers signing, you can see that people still believe that the Indians need more starting pitching. Several of us thought Jim Thome, but if this was an actual polling study, the results would be tainted by the fact that I initially addressed that in my e-mail to everyone (could be considered as “leading” or planting the idea). I still think it shows that people would like to see Thome come back to the Indians on a one-year deal.
It’s tough to say whether the desire for a Thome return would be driven by nostalgia, or an actual need – in my own case, I’d say it’s a little of both. Without an additional signing, it seems like the DH job will be a contest between several young fringe candidates, like McGuiness, Matt LaPorta, or Mike McDade. Even though the Indians reportedly don’t have much money left to spend (with the signing of Myers) it’s tough to believe they’ll sign more players at this point. Thome could come cheap though, as I doubt he’s looking for some insane sum on a one-year deal.
What moves would you like to see the Indians make before pitchers and catchers report next month? You can be realistic or overly optimistic…what you’d like to see, or even what you think will happen. I think they’re mostly done at this point, except for one or two small moves. Maybe a few more people on minor league deals with invites to spring training, hoping to strike gold with a minor signing.