I love that pitchers and catchers always report for Spring Training sometime around Valentine’s Day. It’s like a little Valentine’s gift to baseball fans who’ve been waiting impatiently for the season to start. As an Indians fan, I’m currently waiting for three things (in no particular order):

1) Whether or not Asdrubal Cabrera and the Indians can come to a pre-arbitration agreement
2) For pitchers and catchers to report
3) Whether or not my husband will actually remember that it’s Valentine’s Day and wouldn’t it be nice to get his wife something more than a cheesey card that he got at the drugstore five minutes before he came home.

Many years ago, back before Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret was even a rookie, I got married. The Man Who Would Be Husband and I had been together for a while. People we knew would mistakenly refer to us as married. Heck, one time my mother was over for dinner and when I gave the boyfriend a hard time about his poor dish-washing skills she said, “Don’t be mean to that nice husband of yours.” The three of us were, in turn, mortified, embarrassed, and amused.

It was a foregone conclusion that we’d end up together. Everybody wanted us to be together. We knew we wanted to be together. It took us a little while to get around to actually deciding to get married, but once we did, it was great.

When you find the right match, the person who complements you, whose strengths balance your weaknesses, you want to be with that person. And you don’t say, “Oh, well, I just want to marry you for a year,” you want something more long-term–a multi-year agreement, if you will.

The Indians are in pre-arbitration talks with Asdrubal Cabrera. The actual date of his arbitration hearing, should it come to that, is not public. However, the arbitration hearings end on February 21. There’s still time. Reportedly Cabrera is interested in a multi-year deal, and as of last week, the Indians had offered some sort of multi-year deal. But there hasn’t been any public announcement since then, so we’re still waiting. Cabrera is under club control until 2013–in other words, at the end of the 2013 season, he’ll be a free agent. Indians fans could sing quite a few choruses of The Man That Got Away for players we traded because we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to keep them once they reached free agency. I don’t want to sing that for Cabrera in a year or two.

If you’re concerned with the long-term viability of a franchise, you need some core players. Cabrera is young, talented, and shows every sign of being someone around whom you can build. I know nothing is guaranteed in baseball or business, and this is both. But a multi-year contract for Cabrera would be a much nicer Valentine’s Day gift than the drugstore greeting card.


  • steve Turkish says:

    Great article as always!!

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Thanks, Steve.

  • Will McIlroy says:

    Nice thought and I hope you are right. However, as always there are wet blanket considerations.

    Which Cabrera would you be getting over the long term? Last year’s strong version with career highs in HRs and RBI or the out of shape, gets worn down, inconsistent version from the year before? Players always want to be paid based on one good year.

    Also, we control him through 2013 but in 2 years Lindor may be about ready for his run at SS. If Kipnis and Chisenhall pan out, where do you move ACab at that point?

    As you suggest, I’d like to see us keep some core players. Asdrubal took on a desperately needed leadership role last year and is part of the core. Hopefully a happy medium is reached (and with Masterson at some point; Choo is likely gone)..

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Will. I’d like to think that 2010 was the fluke, not 2011. In 2009, pre-injury, Cabrera played 131 games, 581 plate appearances, .308 BA/.361 OBP/.799 OPS with a fielding percentage of .980 (5th among AL shortstops). That’s more than respectable. I’m the eternally optimist breed of Indians fan, although I know we’re a dying breed.

    Sure, long-term contracts can turn around and bite you and on the (e.g., Travis Hafner, whom I love but wish we could reasonably unload). At the same, I guess I’d like to see us signing a few long-terms. The Tribe signed Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Joe Smith, Jack Hannahan, Rafael Perez and now Casey Kotchman to one-year deals. What does that mean for the future? It’s frustrating. Find ways to keep these guys and build a team. Small-market shouldn’t equate to Yankee and Red Sox farm team.

  • rick says:

    At least Cabrera seems to have an upside. We have seen the very best of Hannahan, he will never hit in clutch this year like he did last year (I predict he wont even last the year on the roster). It would seem reasonable to sign Choo and Raf Perez for a few years they have produced over course of more than one year. I have no problem with Kotchman and Masterson for 1 year, they seem a little flukey to me.