Playoff baseball is on the verge of making a rare appearance in Cleveland this season, but that doesn't mean that the front office shouldn't be assessing their options for next season.
The free-agent class for the 2013-14 MLB offseason is one of the weakest in recent memory. This offseason's crop of free agents is polluted with aging players with decaying skill sets and lacks a true No. 1 starter. That doesn't mean, though, that there aren't a few possible gems to be found here.
The Indians have a few names coming off their books this offseason, including Joe Smith, Matt Albers, Kelly Shoppach, Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir and several others.
On top of these names though, other players—most notably Ubaldo Jimenez—have club options for the 2014 season, and decisions will need to be made on those as well.
The free-agent market can be a confusing mess, and that will be the case this year in Cleveland. The team has salary commitments in 2014 totaling $49.28 million—per Baseballprospectus.com—but with pay raises, arbitration eligible players and Ubaldo Jimenez's $8 million option—that will surely be picked up—money could be tight.
In addition to Jimenez's option, fans can expect Smith, Albers and Kazmir to all return in 2014. These additional salary commitments, combined with pay raises for returning players, could cause money to be tight in Cleveland.
With that said, though, there are certainly some areas of the roster where the Indians could look to improve. The Indians left-handed relief situation has been horrendous this season, and their lack of a substantial power threat is concerning.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at the four players the Indians should be chasing this offseason.
All stats come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com—unless otherwise noted—and are current through play on Sept. 24, 2013.
For a look at prospective free agents for the 2014 MLB season, visit MLBtraderumors.com.