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.

15 Comments

  • Chris Burnham says:

    Marte for DH? Just so I’m not totally wrong?

  • jeremy cronig says:

    So you all would be in favor of having a PART TIME dh platoon? Having a dh who doesn’t play the field at all is slowly desloving. Having a guy who is only a dh but would platoon can’t be worth a roster spot. And wouldn’t thome coming back be awkward? He already made his big return and we gave him a statue

  • Chris Burnham says:

    I’m not sure why or how you’d consider him finishing up here would be awkward.

    • Jeremy C says:

      He already made his triumphant return, got his ceremony and had all the fans cheer him. I was at his last game as an indian and it was all nice seeing his last game in a tribe uniform. And now hes coming back? And will probably get cut at some point in the season because he wont produce enough to be a part-time no position playing dh

    • Jeremy C says:

      we already said our goodbyes and gave him statue and now hes back and we have to do it all again

  • Chris Burnham says:

    Seriously? You are bugged by that?

  • Steve Alex says:

    I think the Indians have had an excellent off-season to date, but I don’t understand how Chris Antonetti can say the team is out of money after only $74 million (which is the projected payroll after arbitration raises plus the Stubbs trade and the Hafner buyout). The local TV deal adds $10 million per year to previous revenue and the network sale brought $230 million right now. We still have no DH. How can you go into the season with no DH?! That’s crazy. You went to all this trouble to improve the team and sign all these guys. Come on. Even the Royals bumped payroll into the 80′s this year, and everyone else in the division is over 100. After that big TV deal, we’re only going from $65 to $74 million? What gives?

  • Chris Burnham says:

    He might be trying to keep things quiet.

    • Drew says:

      I am going to equate the possibility of a Thome signing to that of a classic rock band that makes an appearance on the Grammy’s, disappears for awhile and then finally has reunion tour. Come on people, all of you would be pumped! You’d let your freak flag fly like it was 1997!

  • Steve Alex says:

    Great PR. Not so great production at 42 with a bad back.

  • Swift says:

    Call me dense, but I’m having trouble telling if people are joking about bringing back Thome as a DH.

    Assuming they are serious, I think it is a bad idea. We just had Pronk as a has-been DH with back problems that can’t play any other position and you want to pick someone in even worse shape and even older? Thome needs to retire already, and if he hasn’t figured it out, we (The Indians) should not be encouraging his delusions. I love Jimmy, but that ship has long sailed. I’d rather we hired him as a hitting coach than a player, and give some young guy out of AAA a chance at DH.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I will freely admit that at times, I am guided more by nostalgia and emotion than I am by logic and reasoning. This is likely one of those times!

  • Chris Burnham says:

    It’s a bit of both. Is he a guy that we can trot out everyday? I doubt it. But platooning at DH makes a heck of a lot more sense than some of the platoons we’ve had in recent years.

    • Jeremy C says:

      Taking up a roster spot for a part time DH who cant play any position makes absolutely no sense. Each spot is too valuable to take up by that

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