Did you ever want to sit in on baseball's winter meetings and get the real stories?
Wouldn't you love to know what really transpires in trade negotiations?
The Cleveland Indians are in a somewhat enviable/somewhat tough situation as the winter meetings are about to begin in Tennessee. In 2007, they were one win away from going to the World Series and they have all of their players coming back for the 2008 season. That is enviable to many teams but the tough part is that early on in the hot stove trading season, most teams are not staying pat. The Tigers and Angels have made great acquisitions and will strongly compete again for the American League playoffs. If the Indians stay with their current players, how do they advance past the Red Sox while holding off the Tigers, Angels, and Yankees again?
Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro says he will not enter the "high priced, low talented" free agent market and will take an observer's approach. Early on, Shapiro claims that he has been close on two trades, we all know that one involved Marlins slugger/third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Since that deal fell through, Shapiro speaks of having still an "outside interest" in Cabrera.
What about their Cy Young award winner, C.C. Sabathia? He can become a free agent after the 2008 season. His market value which was already high, has just increased with the award. C.C. claims that he wants to stay in Cleveland, the only team he has ever played for. Can the Indians afford to sign him? Can they afford to lose him? Can they afford to trade him now?
Right now, there appears to be a great deal of poker faces on general managers and double talk being quoted in the media.
Here is what we can take to the bank. The Indians have a surplus of starting pitching which is a huge advantage in the current market. They have a surplus of infielders as well. With a short list of "untouchable" players and shallow pockets for free agent payroll, they cannot afford to stay pat with the team that finished second in the American League.