It’s official: Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret is a free agent. In other words, the Indians declined the 2013 club option on Travis Hafner. They also declined the option on RHP Robert Hernandez, but did exercise the 2013 option on RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. Hernandez clearly needs a fresh start, and this isn’t the place to do it. I hope he does well (but perhaps not 2007 well–that would just be too depressing.) As far as Jimenez, why not pick him up for another year? He’ll pitch a lot of innings for you, and reliably inconsistent in that you can tell early in the game whether good Jimenez or bad Jimenez showed up that night.

And then there’s Hafner… As much as I’ve loved watching Travis Hafner in his ten years as an Indian, the past two seasons made it clear that his body has reached the end of the baseball line. The Indians have made some polite noises about possibly picking him up as a free agent depending on how the roster shakes out, but after what happened with Grady Sizemore, I just can’t see them spending the money on a guy whom they know breaks faster than he can heal and has no versatility.

In other roster moves, the Indians outrighted outfielder Vinny Rottino and RHP Kevin Slowey to AAA Columbus roster. LHP Scott Maine was claimed on Outright Waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. Our 40-man roster currently has 34 players with three on the 60-day DL.

8 Comments

  • Steve Alex says:

    Using the projected arbitration salaries from MLBTR, contract values for the guys that have them, non-tenders for Hannahan, Raffy & Slowey, and an average of $450k for every other pre-arbitration spot on the roster, plus Hafner’s buyout, I’m right around $53 million for the payroll for next year. Throw in Francona’s salary and you’re at $57M. Last year’s payroll was $65M and the team lost money. That doesn’t leave much room to maneuver unless they trade Choo and Perez. We still need a 1B, DH and LF, plus a SP unless you want to count on Kluber, McAllister and Carrasco with no depth behind them. Even if the payroll stays at $65M, competently filling four spots with 8 million bucks is impossible. IMHO, the best you could do is fill 2 spots in free agency and the other 2 by trade, acquiring young major league ready players while shedding payroll at the same time. Maybe Youk and Hairston in free agency and a new RF and SP in trade, rolling the dice on Canzler or you-know-who as the DH.

  • DaveR says:

    He’ll always be in the top 10 in walks. So his silver bullet is his controlled wildness. What are they going to fix? 2010 his breakout year, he was 4-7 after the All-Star break. So he had a very good 1/2 season before the wheels fell off. BTW Derek Lowe won 1 less game before he was cut in July.

    I would have hoped they would spend the $5.75M on some young FA pieces. There is more broken on the Tribe than just one player.

  • Steve Alex says:

    With the Rangers, Dodgers, Phillies, Angels et al. drowning in cash, the $100M contracts will be flying this winter. $5.75M won’t even buy you a Josh Hamilton rookie card right now. Anybody worth signing will have a dozen suitors running up the bidding. Every pitcher will get 10M per year or more for multiple years. The good outfielders too. The Indians will be trying to find starting position players at a price most teams pay for their backups.

    • DaveR says:

      I never said a top free agent. Of course the Indians will not get those guys. I’m talking young guys down on the FA lists that are a couple mill or so. There are plenty of guys not commanding $10M/year that can put up less than a 5.50 ERA. That money could also be used for Choo.

  • Drew says:

    To be competitive in MLB, a team needs to have a $100M payroll. As Steve Alex mentioned, the Indians are around $57M as of now. That leaves the team with $40M in flexibility.

    So for $40M, you can sign a SP or 2 with an ERA under 4.50, Youk, and a OF. Then have Canzler as a DH. Hey, a 4.50 ERA would give the SP a quality start on average; I am not talking about Zach Greinke.

    For example Jeremy Guthrie. If he was worth $8.2M that he made last season, KC would have tried to extend him. He is a career 4.30 ERA pitcher whose ERA blew up in Colorado along with most pitchers who averages 30+ starts a season and 6.5 innings per start. I think he can be had for 2 years $10M. He would be a good #3 guy following Masterson at #2, ahead of McAllister and Jimenez at 4/5 respectively. The Indians could then go out and sign Brandon McCarthy, which would be awesome because I would love to follow him on Twitter.

    If the Front Office makes this happen, they’d put way more than 20k fans/game in the seats, probably closer to 30k on average. That would be about $25M in extra revenue for the team.

    • Kevin Price says:

      There is no going back from the last two years and the stinging disappointment at falling down hard after you were competing. I don’t think its possible for the Indians to have more people show up next year even if the Indians’ salary was expanded, the Indians wouldn’t make money because this collapse(and 2011′s) were so disheartening.

  • Steve Alex says:

    I’m not trying to be sarcastic here, but do you really think the Dolans are going to add 40 million dollars to the payroll to bring it up to 90 or 100 million? That’s not even remotely possible. As for the $2 million free agents, those are the Damons and Kotchmans of the world that they signed last year. That didn’t work out well and it won’t again this time if they do it again.

    • Drew says:

      I am not saying that they will do it, actually far from it, but that is what you need to do to be competitive in MLB unless your name is Billy Beane. And since their names are Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro, I am not very optimistic. However, I am intrigued by the Yan Gomes acquisition from Toronto – he is right handed and not named Matt LaPorta!

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