Unless the Tribe decides to make some trades, expect a pretty quiet offseason in Cleveland.
The Tribe has invested the majority of their available money into Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and the extensions to their young stars, which means there’s not much left for this year’s free agent class. Additionally, just about everyone of significance is under contract – or at least under team control – for the 2015 season.
Here’s a look at the players who the Indians will have to make decisions on during the offseason.
Jason Giambi – Despite stating that he’s like to play for another year if someone will take him, it’s unlikely that the Indians will give him another shot. But it’s unlikely anyone will give him another shot, so it’s possible Terry Francona will find a spot for him on the coaching staff.
Nyjer Morgan – I wouldn’t be surprised if Morgan gets invited to spring training again, but the Indians have a few guys who are a year older and ready to compete for that fourth outfielder spot, most notably Tyler Holt. He’s unlikely to return.
Elliot Johnson – Since he spent most of the year batting .236 for the Clippers, it’s safe to assume we’ll never see Johnson again. He may have value as a utility player somewhere else, but the Indians have younger options with more upside.
Mark Lowe – The young relievers performed so well this year, it’s hard to envision Lowe or even anyone else of his ilk making the Indians roster out of spring training next year. Lowe and/or others like him will certainly be in Spring Training for depth, but they’ll be a longshot to make the club.
Marc Rzepczynski – He earned $1.375M this year and was well worth it. With two arbitration years left, I think it’s a safe bet the Indians will work something out to keep him around.
Josh Tomlin – He only made $0.8M last year and he’s proven to be a serviceable spot starter at worst. So I would assume the Indians will bring him back. But Francona also doesn’t seem to have much faith in him, so maybe they decide to simply part ways.
Bryan Shaw – He’s due for a substantial raise, but he’s under team control for three more years so he’ll obviously be back.
Lonnie Chisenhall – This could be a tough negotiation considering how great he was in the first half and how awful he was in the second. His overall stats were respectable in the end, but how much do the Indians trust him? He’ll be back, but it will be interesting to see what the cost is to keep him.
Carlos Carrasco – Another one who will certainly be back due to the fact that the Tribe controls him for three more years. But how much will they have to pay? He was brilliant at the end of the year but his lack of consistency could mean the two sides are far apart. I would bet on either Chisenhall or Carrasco needing arbitration to settle things.
Mike Aviles – Francona loves Aviles, so who knows what will happen, but his $3.5M team option for 2015 is far more than he’s worth. The buyout is only $250,000 so it should be an easy choice for the Tribe to let him go.
Ryan Raburn – Raburn is owed $2.5M in 2015 and has a $1M buyout on his 2016 contract. $3.5M is a lot to pay someone to just go away, but in this case it’s probably worth it. When you look at Raburn’s last four seasons, it’s clear that his 2013 success was just a fluke due to the small sample size. Since turning 30, he has a .289 OBP in 348 games. He just isn’t a major league hitter anymore.