With the Winter Meetings taking place December 3-6, the hot stove will be full of rumors. Nino Colla and I (Adam Burke) will keep a live blog in the Hitting the Fan section of any pertinent Indians news and notes, as well as other big news to come out of Nashville, TN. Bookmark this link as there's no telling when breaking news will pop up. Any major Indians news will have a corresponding front page article, but all of the rumors and potential trade talks will be discussed in this post. You can also keep up on Twitter by following our main website Twitter page (@TheClevelandFan), by following Nino (@TheTribeDaily), or following me (@SkatingTripods).
10:30 p.m: Jon Morosi of Fox Sports is reporting that Asdrubal Cabrera, who will be the source of several trade rumors this week, has a limited no-trade clause that includes six teams. Morosi lists those teams as the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Giants, and Mets. Earlier this offseason, the Cardinals reportedly had interest in Cabrera. The Cabrera situation is definitely worth watching throughout the week. - AB
9:10 a.m: Turns out that the fact the Tigers are on Asdrubal Cabrera's no-trade list does not matter. The Tigers are not, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, looking to acquire a shortstop. A long with that, they have not, contrary to other rumros floated out there, pursued the Indians for Cabrera's services. The Tigers had interest in Stephen Drew, which is perhaps the reasoning for some thinking Cabrera could be a target for them. Of course if they were to somehow pull off a trade within the division for the Indians shortstop, it would be the second time Jhonny Peralta was replaced at short by Cabrera. For now though, the job belongs to old Jhonny P. - NC
11:07 a.m: From Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch...The Indians have a "steep asking price" on Asdrubal Cabrera that revolves around young pitching. All I can say is that it is good the Indians know that they need to infuse some young pitching into this system and that they are looking for a big haul. They should accept nothing less than their desired asking price for Cabrera, or hold onto him. This follows up the note Adam had about the Cardinals having interest in Cabrera and Goold mentions they would be willing to part with pitching if they could get an infielder they could control for a few years, which they would indeed get in Cabrera. -NC
11:27 a.m: Still pretty quiet on the trade rumors front, regarding the Indians. From an ESPN Insider link, Buster Olney suggests the Mariners and Diamondbacks as teams the Indians could extract high-upside pitching talent from. A Seattle Times article from Saturday by Geoff Baker mentioned Choo as a target for Seattle, while Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe discussed Arizona's potential interest in both Choo and Cabrera back in November. The Diamondbacks have reportedly been one of the most aggressive teams so far at the Winter Meetings tweets Buster Olney. It's likely they still have interest in Choo and Cabrera, as they are actively shopping Justin Upton and have yet to acquire a shortshop. - AB
1:15 p.m: Earlier this morning, the Tampa Bay Rays signed 1B James Loney to a 1-year contract worth $2 million, with an additional $1 million in possible bonus money. Buster Olney of ESPN now reports that the Indians had an interest in Loney prior to him going to Tampa. I remarked after the deal that the Indians would probably look at something similiar for a similar price. Loney is just another version of what the Indians have to look at in regards to filling their first base void if they can't find a young or cheap power option. Loney won't hit for a whole lot of power, but he can play first base and maybe give you some talent with the stick if he happens to have a good year. I can take Loney or leave him, so I guess it is a good thing the Rays nabbed him. -NC
1:22 p.m: Last week it was reported that the Indians, among a host of other teams, had interest in free agent outfielder Shane Victorino. Of course at that time, any interest is good interest. Now the Indians remain a suitor for him as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports mentions the Indians, with Boston and San Francisco, as possible destinations for the former Phillie and Dodger. Furthering that, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald says that the Indians interest is 'serious'. Last week, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman noted that clubs were willing to go three years for Victorino, which indicates the Indians may be put in a situation similar to the one last year when they did not sign Josh Willingham and he went to Minnesota. Cleveland was offering two, wouldn't budge on a third, and Willingham picked the Twins. The Indians may be forced into the same situation and if they don't go three, may fall short in gaining Victorino's services, if that is in fact something they are seriously interested in doing. -NC
In a follow-up tweet, Lauber says that Victorino was looking for a three-year deal worth around $30M. If true, that would likely put Victorino out of the Indians' price range. - AB
2:45 p.m.: A source has told Alex Speier of Boston radio station WEEI that Asdrubal Cabrera's limited no-trade clause, which includes the Red Sox, would not limit the chances of a trade happening between the Indians and Red Sox. In reading the tea leaves here, the fact that somebody has commented on Cabrera's limited no-trade clause regarding the Red Sox means that there have definitely been serious discussions between the two clubs. R.J. White of CBSSports.com reported the Red Sox interest in Cabrera earlier this offseason. - AB
9:50 p.m.: No updates of late because there hasn't been anything to report. All has been quiet on the trade front as teams appear to be waiting for the big dominoes to fall. Those dominoes include Zack Greinke, R.A. Dickey, Justin Upton, and Josh Hamilton. From MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, the Indians have been linked to Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona). The article notes that the Indians are one of five teams interested. Two have offered Hernandez a contract, but Sanchez does not specify which teams have made formal offers.
One interesting name who has been in trade talks is Astros right hander Bud Norris, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan via Twitter. The Indians have not directly been linked to Norris, but with their starting pitching needs, it's reasonable to assume that they have at least inquired on the asking price. Norris has 553 strikeouts in 563.2 career innings, with a 4.42 ERA. Norris has some incredible home/road splits in his career, with a 3.51 ERA in Minute Maid Park, but a 5.39 ERA away from home. This past season, his home ERA was 1.71 and his road ERA was 6.94. Norris is not eligible for free agency until 2016, making him even more attractive to the Indians. - AB
9:15 a.m.: Morning, y'all. Just trying to get into a Nashville frame of mind. Late last night, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer posted that the Indians are looking for three-to-four players in an Asdrubal Cabrera trade. The article goes on to note that the Indians reportedly had agreed upon a deal with a team to receive one big league pitcher and two high-level prospects, but the deal fell through when the Indians asked for a third prospect. Hoynes also says that the acquiring team would have changed Cabrera's position, presumably to second base. Hoynes directly mentions the Yankees, with a need for a third baseman after Alex Rodriguez's latest hip surgery, the Cardinals, and the Athletics as teams who have the parts to get a deal done.
The same Hoynes piece says that the Padres, who have been linked to Ubaldo Jimenez, have asked about Tribe right hander Justin Masterson. Keep checking in with us today as a trade or signing could happen at a moment's notice. Since the preliminary talks are mostly out of the way, things may start to develop quicker throughout the week, so make sure you're tuned in to Nino and I here at TheClevelandFan. - AB
11:20 a.m: This is a purely speculative thing on my part, but I had this idea towards the end of the season and even touched up on in some of my other pieces since then. But the Rangers are reportedly willing to deal one of their young pieces, Mike Olt, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Of course if they could swing a deal for Justin Upton, I'm sure they'd willingly include him. If it were for Shin-Soo Choo though, that would be another story considering he would be a one-year rental, unless the Rangers got a negotiating window with his agent, Scott Boras. Again, this is just all in my mind as an idea due to a good fit between the Rangers looking to potentially replace Josh Hamilton, and the Indians looking to add a powerful first baseman. Only take from this a crazy idea one schmoe had.
In actual real news, the Washington Nationals are at it again and if this signing comes to fruition, the Nats have the best rotation in baseball now. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Dan Haren has signed a one year contract worth $13 million in guarenteed money, pending a physical. That means, if he is healthy of course, Haren will join Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, and Gio Gonzalez in a rotation that helped the Nationals make a legit postseason run. Huge deal for the Nationals and a huge blow to the Padres, who were interested in Haren. Obviously any Indians fans that had a dream of signing Haren to a one year deal, that price was way too rich for them. This creates an interesting situation as the Nats appear to be moving on from starter John Lannan, who was mentioned by Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian as someone the Indians should look into. Of course that is also speculation on his part, but given the Haren signing, that definitely means Lannan will be switching teams and it wouldn't hurt for the Indians to look into it. -NC
11:45 a.m: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York says the Mets are pursuing Vinnie Pestano. I'm not sure there is a deal that the Mets could offer that would make sense for them that the Indians would accept. Obviously if it is one of those deals that you "couldn't refuse" then the Indians would take it, but why would the Mets offer such a deal like that for a reliever? Even if they think he could be an excellent closer? The Indians have control of a young, cheap, and very good bullpen arm that will be their closer at some point. You don't deal that unless it is one that makes no sense for the Mets and nets you a huge return. This is a silly rumor. - NC
1:45 p.m.: It appears that the Indians have not been scared off by Shane Victorino's asking price. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the Indians are a "prime suitor" for Victorino and that new manager Terry Francona reached out to Victorino earlier this offseason. Victorino likely has reservations about moving to the American League and about the direction of the team, so the Indians may eventually lose out to a contender, but this will be a situation to monitor throughout the day and the rest of the week. - AB
3:25 p.m.: The Indians chose not to trade Shin-Soo Choo at the trade deadline, although, we don't know what the market or the offers were like. Now, Ken Rosenthal believes that the market for Choo may not be what the Indians had hoped. We already knew that Choo, who is only signed for this year and is a client of super-agent Scott Boras, would lose some value based on his impending free agency. Rosenthal adds another angle, citing the recent Minnesota Twins trade of Denard Span to Washington for pitching prospect Alex Meyer. It was a one-for-one deal between the Twins and Nats and Meyer is only in Single-A. Even though Choo is more productive player than Span, Span is also under Nats' control for three years. It appears that the Indians may have to sell low on Choo, keep him and wait until the trade deadline, or hope for draft pick compensation when he hits free agency next offseason.
Also, the Shane Victorino sweepstakes are reportedly down to three teams - Indians, Red Sox, and a third team - according to CBS Sports's Jon Heyman. Victorino is looking for a three or four-year deal worth around $10M per season. - AB
4:25 p.m: Good news if you are, well everyone who is hopeful that the Indians save themselves from a bad finanical mistake. The Red Sox are now the favorites to land Shane Victorino. To update Adam's previous note, Nick Cafardo of Boston.com notes that the Red Sox have a three year, $38 million dollar deal out for the outfielder. That is over $10 million per and unless the Indians want to vastly overpay or give him a deal that is one year over what makes sense, it appears Boston will win his services. Victorino just does not make sense at a deal more than two years at this juncture, especially since the Indians have finally found a way out of the contracts that have burdened them the past few seasons. - NC
4:45 p.m.: A name Nino and I somehow haven't mentioned yet is that of Jason Bay. Jordan Bastian, the MLB.com Indians beat writer, tweets that reports of Bay to Seattle are premature and that the Indians are still in the mix for Bay. Bay fits the Indians' mold as a 30-something reclamation project, but is an attractive option because he'd be willing to sign for a low base salary and incentives. The Indians have been linked to Bay in the past, possibly by reputation, but this is the first we've really seen it mentioned this week. - AB
6:15 p.m.: Shane Victorino has signed with the Red Sox, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $37.5M. Disaster averted for the Indians.
The only other bit of news is that we now have clarification of what we have known all along. Per Ken Rosenthal, the Indians are targeting pitching help for Asdrubal Cabrera and one of the names directly mentioned in the linked tweet is that of Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs, a 2009 supplemental round pick of the Angels, made his Major League debut on August 22 and made six starts for the Diamondbacks. He posted a 5.83 ERA. The tall lefty was Baseball America's 12th ranked prospect entering the 2012 season. In 389 minor league innings, Skaggs has a 2.98 ERA and has struck out 429 batters. The Indians and Diamondbacks appear to be a great match for Cabrera or Shin-Soo Choo since the Diamondbacks have one of the most pitching-rich systems in baseball.
On top of asking about Arizona's young pitching, Jon Morosi notes that the Indians have had discussions with the Diamondbacks about outfielder Justin Upton.
One final update here, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Indians met with Kevin Youkilis's agent, Joe Bick, today. The tweet goes on to say that Indians would like Youkilis to play first base. - AB
7:00 p.m.: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Indians' offer to Shane Victorino was four years at $44M. (Author's note: Major disaster averted). Rosenthal notes that this shows the Indians' payroll flexibility and means that they may have more money available than most people think.
As expected, the Indians have been linked to recently non-tendered Mark Reynolds, according to Jon Heyman. Reynolds, a 1B/3B, is a strikeout machine, but would provide a right handed hitter with power.- AB
10:00 p.m.: All seems quiet now as Day Two of the Winter Meetings comes to a close. It was obviously a busy day of negotiations for the Indians, but they made zero moves. A lot of groundwork appears to have been done on an Asdrubal Cabrera trade and it seems like it would be a bit of a shock if Cabrera was still an Indian on Friday. One very interesting thing we found out today is that the Indians appear to have some money to spend in free agency based on their very competitive offer of four years and $44M to Shane Victorino.
Just a gut feeling, but I'd expect a very busy Wednesday from the Indians. Outside of the potential Cabrera trade, the Indians have kicked the tires on guys like Mark Reynolds and Jason Bay. Also, I would think they have had discussions, internally, and possibly externally, with some of the free agent pitchers. Unlike the relatively docile offseasons over the last few years, the Indians appear to be one of the more aggressive teams at the Meetings this year and there's no reason to expect them to slow down on Wednesday or Thursday. - AB
10:30 a.m.: Lots of smoke, a couple embers, but no fires as of yet for the Indians. Let's get caught up on the morning news.
First, it's being reported by former MLB.com Indians beat writer and current MLB.com feature writer Anthony Castrovince that Trevor Bauer could be the centerpiece of an Asdrubal Cabrera deal. Bauer was Baseball America's ninth ranked prospect entering 2012 and would not be eligible for free agency until 2019. Danny Knobler of CBSSports, however, tweets that one executive involved in the negotiations says that Bauer is a long shot. Either way, it appears that a deal between the Diamondbacks and Indians will be reached at some point, it's all a matter of both sides agreeing on what pitchers the Diamondbacks are sending to the Indians.
Second, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports says that Jason Bay is nearing a decision and that the Indians, Mariners, and a couple of other teams are involved.
Third, the four-team deal that was rumored to be in the works yesterday now has a few more details thanks to Ken Rosenthal. According to Rosenthal, the primary pieces would have been Justin Upton, Asdrubal Cabrera, James Shields, and prospects. A deal of that magnitude seems to be a long shot, but something to keep an eye on throughout the day.
Plenty of things going on today, so make sure you keep checking on the live blog. Nino and I are sure to be updating this quite a bit today. - AB
10:50 a.m.: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Indians may be in the lead for Jason Bay's services.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes that the Braves have checked in on Shin-Soo Choo in case their pursuit of Justin Upton falls short. - AB
12:15 p.m: Jordan Bastian and others have reported that the Indians are pursuing Jason Bay, but Bastian notes that the Tribe has offered Bay a one-year deal. As Adam has noted earlier this morning, the Mariners remain involved in trying to nab the Canadian-born outfielder. Probably should have news by the end of the day on this matter. - NC
12:35 p.m.: Another name has been added to the 1B/OF mix for the Indians. According to Buster Olney on Twitter, the Indians have had discussions with Ohio State University alum Nick Swisher. Swisher, a switch hitter, can play either corner spot and first base. Swisher has been linked to the Orioles, Giants, and Mariners, among others. - AB
1:10 p.m.: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports just dropped a very interesting note on Twitter. Trevor Bauer, who was pretty much untouchable last offseason, is now the pitcher the Diamondbacks want to trade before Tyler Skaggs. The Indians, reportedly, covet Skaggs more than Bauer. (Author's note: Sign me up for either one!) The base of a deal would be Cabrera for Bauer/Skaggs, with the Indians getting additional pieces, at least, according to the Indians' earlier demands of three or four players coming back in a Cabrera deal. - AB
2:20 p.m.: It appears that, for the second straight day, the Indians will finish second in the bidding for a free agent outfielder. Jason Bay is close to a deal with the Seattle Mariners, according to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com. Bay, who is a British Columbia native, lives in Seattle, which is his wife's hometown. That certainly plays a huge part in his decision. - AB
4:05 p.m.: Cabrera to Arizona talks to continue to progress, but the Indians have apparently stepped up their pursuit of Kevin Youkilis, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Indians are viewing Youkilis as a first baseman, though it's reasonable to assume that they could occasionally use him at third base to spell Lonnie Chisenhall against left handers. Earlier, though I can't find the Tweet right this second, the Indians were reportedly one of the teams that had a multi-year offer on the table to Youkilis. - AB
5:10 p.m.: The Indians remain in a holding pattern with the Asdrubal Cabrera trade, but they're in discussions to have a fallback option if/when Cabrera is dealt. Sources have told both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi that the Indians are having talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers for speedster shortstop Dee Gordon. Gordon, who posted a .561 OPS last season, stole 32 bases for the Dodgers. - AB
7:15 p.m: To update Adam's previous note, the Indians are also looking at Stephen Drew as a possible replacement if they were to trade Asdrubal Cabrera, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Drew is an interesting name in that he does not need to be traded for, just simply signed off the market. Drew continues to gain interest from some of the same teams that have an interest in Cabrera, obviously as an option at short if they can't nab Asdrubal or fill the spot in some other way. - NC
10:15 p.m.: Well, it's been a while without an update because there's been nothing to update. As we end Day Three of the Winter Meetings, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Diamondbacks and Indians are no closer to a Cabrera deal than they were prior to the meetings after speaking with somebody who has been involved in the negotiations.
Despite all of the talks and rumors, it appears that a deal may not get done this week after all. It would have to be considered a disappointment for the Indians if they are unable to come to any agreements tomorrow, with free agents or otherwise. They have laid a lot of groundwork, and it's obviously very early in the offseason, but they have finished second for both Shane Victorino and Jason Bay, have been in bidding wars for Kevin Youkilis, Nick Swisher, and Mark Reynolds, and have not yet been linked to any of the free agent pitchers. Depending on what happens on Thursday, the only silver lining for the Tribe may be the sheer number of lines of communication they have opened with various GMs, agents, and players. - AB
8:18 a.m: When we look back on this, we may just have to refer to it as the "Blockbuster That Never Happened." After Danny Knobler said that Cleveland and Arizona are no closer to a deal than they were when they arrived in Nashville, Ken Rosenthal has been able to find out what is the hitch in the four-team blockbuster that has been talked about since Monday. FOX Sports' reporter says the Mariners are the fourth team in the mix and are ultimately the reason why this deal has not progressed. Of course now it is understandable as to why the D'Backs and Indians haven't made any progress in trading Cabrera. They've been devoting all their time to this 'blockbuster' swap that is very unlikely to happen, yet is still being talked about. The details are fun to dive into though.
Texas obviously would be nabbing themselves Josh Hamilton's replacement in Justin Upton, enabling them to sign Zack Greinke. Arizona gets themselves a shortstop, and Seattle would be after Texas starter Derek Holland. The Indians? Not only would they get Bauer, but it looks like names like Rangers prospect Mike Olt would be in play. Whether or not he would go to Cleveland is up in the air, but that would be my assumption. I mentioned Olt on Tuesday of course, so it's funny to see his name come up in this deal. A "blockbuster" deal of this sorts would really be value to the Indians because they stand a chance of getting a more wide variety of prospects, instead of a bunch from one team. If you could get a Trevor Bauer from Arizona and a Mike Olt from Texas as your two center piece prospects in trading Asdrubal Cabrera. Well, you are doing well. We'll see if anything comes to fruition today, but it appears highly unlikely. Unfortunately, it is the only thing the reporters have to talk about right now. - NC
10:13 a.m: The Rule V Draft is not only underway, but the Major League portion has just ended and the Indians were heavily involved. The first loss was right-hander Hector Rondon to the Chicago Cubs. Not soon after that the Indians actually made a pick, selecting first baseman Chris McGuiness from Texas. And towards the end of the round, the Baltimore Orioles took starting left-hander T.J. McFarland. More in a bit. - NC
10:25 a.m: Here's the scoop on the three players involved in the Indians transactions. Remember that these players all must remain on the 25-man roster of their new team for the entire season or be returned to their previous team.
Hector Rondon: The right-hander has been someone who was once regarded as one of the next big arms the Indians had coming up to their rotation. All was good, Rondon once made the MLB Futures Game and he was assumed to join the mix of Carlos Carrasco and as he was then, Fausto Carmona. But just as quickly as Carmona was non-existent, Rondon suffered elbow issues, has had Tommy John surgery and is on a two-year rehab process that led to him thriving in winter ball. Rondon could fit into the Cubs bullpen as he continues to strengthen his arm and certainly, as a team that is not expected to contend, this looks like a situation where they could definitely hold onto him the entire year.
T.J. McFarland. This is more puzzling for a team that is fresh off contention, but McFarland is left-handed and could be an extra long man left-hander out of the Baltimore bullpen. T.J. has spent the past few years in Akron and Columbus and was slowly building his way towards the major leagues. He'll be 24 in the middle of next year and considering he is close to the major leagues, presents an interesting situation between Cleveland and Baltimore.
Chris McGuiness: En route to this year's AFL MVP award, McGuiness belted four home runs and hit .283 in the Fall League. McGuiness hit 23 home runs and knocked in 77 runs for Double-A Frisco in the Rangers organization. This is interesting and perhaps just a 25,000 gamble that McGuiness comes in and wins a job in the spring. I have a hard time seeing someone jump from Double-A to the majors and playing a big part in the Indians plans, but stranger things have happened.
It should be noted that the Indians were able to retain the rights of Jesus Aguilar. Much in the same position as McGuiness, Aguilar is a power first baseman that has high upside, but with a lack of versatility and just overall unliklihood of him sticking around on a 25 man roster all year, had little chance to get selected. -NC
12:30 p.m.: The Asdrubal Cabrera to Arizona deal might be dead. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com tweets that Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks GM, made it clear that they want a shortstop who is under team control for more than two seasons. That would eliminate Asdrubal Cabrera, who is signed through 2014. The only hope for the Indians is that Towers was speaking in the context of a Justin Upton trade and not speaking in general. - AB
1:00 p.m.: Apologies for giving no updates throughout the day on Thursday. Everything that we heard was recycled news surrounding Kevin Youkilis and Nick Swisher. The Indians reportedly have an offer of two years, $18M out to Youkilis. No money figures have been thrown around regarding Swisher.
Nino and I would like to thank you for keeping up with the blog and checking in throughout the week. Adam will wrap up the Winter Meetings with his thoughts in Saturday's View from the Porch. If anything breaks regarding Youkilis or Swisher, there will be a front page article detailing the signing(s).
Unfortunately, it wasn't the end result that the Indians wanted from the Winter Meetings, but they proved that they are going to be aggressive this offseason, so we'll just have to see what the future holds - AB
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