No Suprise-Cleveland Indians Asleep in the Free Agent Market

In this MLB offseason, the Cleveland Indians have been sluggish in the free agent market and have not really pursued any big name players available on the market. The Indians seem sluggish and unwanting to participate in bidding for services of some of the league’s best players but cannot really afford to play this game as a result of poor attendance and performance last season.

With how the Indians have had to cut costs, General Manager Mark Shapiro had to trade veteran players such as Ryan Garko, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia and minor league prospects. Shapiro has tried to make himself look so smart and clever with these trades but has failed to build the team from the ground up with this approach. Many of the prospects traded for still have not proven themselves worthy of playing in the big leagues on a daily basis and Shapiro has traded for players with attitude and injury problems. Shaprio has accomplished the need to cut payroll but has really traded for some prospects that didn’t live up to the hype.

Rumors have been circulating that the Indians might consider bringing Russell Branyan into training camp to earn a shot at a roster spot. Branyan was impressive for the Mariners in the first half  of last season but fizzled after the All-Star Break batting only .194. Branyan has proven to be uncoachable with almost every team he has played for, streaks out at an incredibly high rate, and has been a Major League vagabond for these reasons. As a prospect for the Indians, Branyan proved he could play in the minor leagues but didn’t want to be coached at all as a member of the big league ball club. The Indians have already gone down this path with Branyan and with how inconsistent and uncoachable and bringing him in would be a waste.

As a result of the Indians bad trades and need to cut payroll, the ball club cannot afford to go after big name free agents. The team will have to build from within and will have to get better talent in the minors in order to be competitive in the American League.


~ by jeffrsabo on January 31, 2010.

2 Responses to “No Suprise-Cleveland Indians Asleep in the Free Agent Market”

  1. Woah, now. Slow down there partner. Shapiro just made the trades over the last season-and-a-half. Don’t you think it’s a little soon to be writing them off as failures?? CC was dealt in 2008 and by the end of 2009, all three of the prospects received in the deal had appeared in Cleveland. While Zach Johnson did not pan out (and was subsequently dealt this winter) LaPorta and Brantley are still seen as cornerstones for this next reloading. As for other deals he’s made, do the names Choo, Cabrera, and Valbuena mean anything to you? All are starters, and pretty decent ones at that. Let’s hold off on rolling Shapiro under the bus just yet.

    As for the free agent market, it would make no sense for this club to go out and add a big-name free agent this offseason. First, it would expand a payroll already bloated with big deals (see: Kerry Wood, Jake Westbrook, and Travis Hafner.) Adding a marketable name to a lineup of youngsters might spur a few ticket sales but it would not make enough difference to cover the costs of a Jason Bay or John Lackey. Besides, with an obvious reload happening, who would want to sign right now?

    Finally, the first veteran you listed, Ryan Garko, was not resigned by the Giants and has yet to gain employment with another team. So this may be an example of addition by subtraction. While Garko was a fan favorite, he may never end up an everyday player.

    • Jason,

      Okay, we can give LaPorta and Brantley a shot this season and you are right that Choo, Cabera and Valbuena have been good additions. Didn’t we give up an underachieving Ben Broussard for Choo?

      I was trying to make the point the Indians couldn’t participate in the free agent market because it would expand the payroll! We are trying to get rid of Kerry Wood so it wouldn’t make sense to go after anyone else.

      I did not realize that Garko was not resigned. Knowing the Indians, they will probably invite him to camp.


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