Trade rumors have been bandied about since the season ended for the Cleveland Indians, with no action being taken so far. The Winter Meetings are finally here and now the fun begins. Every year we see major signings at the meetings, and usually a blockbuster trade or two.
The Winter Meetings are a time for players, agents and general managers to meet and discuss contracts, make trades and discuss parameters of future deals.
The Indians have not met expectations over the past few seasons, and as a result they have some very good players that teams are starting to show very strong interest in. With former Boston Red Sox skipper and two-time World Series Champion Terry Francona now at the helm, it appears as though the tribe may have a very different roster come opening day.
Chris Perez has been the Indians closer for the past few seasons. He is by no means a dominant closer, but he is very good, and gets the job done more often than not. The fiery Perez sometimes flies off the handle, or runs his mouth a little too much, but when the game is on the line there are not many closers you would rather have on the mound.
The 27-year-old Perez is coming off his best season as a pro, saving 39 games for a team that won just 68 overall. Perez drew the ire of Cleveland fans this past season when he criticized them for their lack of support. Here is what he said: “It feels like I can’t even give up a baserunner without people booing me. It’s even worse when there are only 5,000 in the stands, because you can hear it. It ticks me off.”
What he said may have been true, but sometimes things are just better left unsaid. He may have punched his ticket out of Cleveland with that tirade, something he might not be too upset about. If put on the block the Indians could receive a nice haul for the young right-hander.
Asdrubal Cabrera is a name that has surfaced a lot this offseason. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti made teams aware earlier this offseason that Cabrera was available, but also made it known he will not come cheap.
The 27-year-old shortstop has improved his offensive game over the past two seasons, hitting 23 home runs in 2011 and 16 in 2012. He may not be a superstar, but he is definitely a top-10 talent at a premium position, not to mention the best shortstop on the block right now.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox have shown interest in Cabrera, and the Indians are looking for a front-line pitcher in any deal. Cabrera is under contract for two more years, making $6.5 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014.
Shin-Soo Choo is scheduled to hit free agency following the 2013 season, and the Indians are making it known that he is very available this winter.
Choo has spent his entire eight-year career with the Indians. He has good speed and is a career .289 hitter. He has hit 20 home runs twice in his career, and is coming off a season in which he hit .283 with 16 home runs and 43 doubles.
Choo is a nice player, but at age 30 he doesn't seem to be part of the Indians' future plans. Could it also be that his agent is the money-chasing Scott Boras? I’m sure that also plays a role, as Boras will probably ask for much more than the tribe will be willing or are able to pay Choo.