Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

Cleveland Indians Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    A late-season surge got the Cleveland Indians into the postseason in 2013, but they will need to have a productive offseason in order to keep up the success.

    This team was tough to figure out. They spent a lot of money last winter, but injuries and inconsistent play caused the team to go through quite a few highs and lows throughout the year.

    Ubaldo Jimenez turned it on in the second half of the season. He started pitching the way that Indians fans had dreamed of since the day he arrived, but now he will have the opportunity to test the market. If he signs elsewhere, the Indians will need to find even more starting pitching.

    The amount of speed this team has, mainly in the outfield, is incredible. However, the team needs more consistency out of the hitters around the speedsters. Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera didn't perform as well as expected, so the lineup could use some help.

    Third base remains a question mark. Grabbing a power bat for that spot would be a good upgrade.

    Keep coming back here to see what rumors the team is involved in and what type of moves it makes. This tracker will be updated daily, so feel free to check out what the latest rumblings are in Cleveland.

Cleveland's Own Free Agents and Done Deals

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    Done Deals

    Oct. 31: DH Jason Giambi has re-signed with the Cleveland Indians

    Nov. 19: LF David Murphy signed a two-year deal, via ShutdownInnings.com's Jamie Kelly, with a club option, worth $12 million, via The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes

    Nov. 25: INF Cord Phelps, who was designated for assignment on Nov. 20, claimed by the Baltimore Orioles

    Dec. 9: Signed 1B David Cooper

    Dec. 13: Signed INF David Adams

    Dec. 15: RHP John Axford signed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal, via ESPN's Buster Olney

    Dec. 16: RHP Shaun Marcum signed a minor-league deal, via FOX Sports' Jon Morosi

    Dec. 18: Traded CF Drew Stubbs to the Colorado Rockies, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthalin exchange for left-handed pitcher Josh Outman..

     

    Contract Options

    RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (Age 29)

    Contract: CLE exercised $8 million club option, but Jimenez VOIDED option

    Qualifying offer declined, became a free agent

    OF Jason Kubel (Age 31)

    Nov. 1: CLE DECLINED $7.5 million mutual option ($1 million buyout)

    Dec. 13: Signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins

     

    Free Agents

    RHP Matt Albers (Dec. 16: Signed a one-year, $2.45 million contract with a $3.5 million club option for 2015 with the Houston Astros, via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal)

    LHP Rich Hill (Age 33)

    2013 stats: 63 G, 38.2 IP, 1-2, 6.28 ERA, 30 H, 3 HR, 51 K/29 BB

    LHP Scott Kazmir (Dec. 2: Signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Oakland Athletics, via ESPN's Jim Bowden.)

    RHP Joe Smith (Nov. 23: Signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.)

    RHP Chris Perez (Dec. 23: Signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal)

Arbitration Eligible Players

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Tendered

    OF Michael Brantley

    RHP Frank Herrmann (Dec. 2: Signed for $560,000)

    RHP Justin Masterson

    RHP Vinnie Pestano

    LHP Marc Rzepczynski

    RHP Blake Wood (Dec. 2: Signed for $560,000)

    OF Drew Stubbs (Dec. 18: Traded to the Colorado Rockies)

    RHP Josh Tomlin

     

     

    Non-Tendered

    OF Matt Carson (Dec. 13: Re-signed to minor-league contract)

    RHP Tyler Cloyd (Dec. 13: Re-signed to minor-league contract)

    C Lou Marson (Dec. 18: Signed a minor-league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies)

     

    *via @Indians

Ubaldo Jimenez: Declined Qualifying Offer, Free Agent

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    *Update: Thursday, Dec. 26 at 9:50 p.m. ET

    The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina wrote that Ubaldo Jimenez is not one of the Baltimore Orioles' top targets to improve their rotation. He is too expensive in terms of years, and they prefer pitchers such as Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett because they will be looking for shorter deals.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 11:42 p.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reported that the Baltimore Orioles are interested in Ubaldo Jimenez. The Orioles are trying to be aggressive pursuing free agents. They are looking at bats and arms, and they are interested in some of the high-profile free agents.

    Baltimore recently cleared up some money by trading closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics. It's not clear how interested they are in Jimenez, but this adds one more potential landing spot for the right-hander.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9:09 p.m. ET

    MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers are "kicking the tires" on Ubaldo Jimenez. Ricky Nolasco is a free agent, so the Dodgers are looking to replace him in the rotation. They checked in on many of the high-profile free agent pitchers, so it's unclear how much interest they have in Jimenez.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Monday, Nov. 11 at 5:22 p.m. ET

    Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reported that Jimenez has declined Cleveland’s qualifying offer, which makes him a free agent.

    The Indians will be compensated with a draft pick when he signs elsewhere.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10:38 a.m. ET

    Jimenez is expected to decline the Indians' qualifying offer before Monday's deadline, and he is expected to sign elsewhere for a more lucrative deal, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Friday, Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees are lining up meetings with agents of big-name free agents, and Jimenez is on their radar. The GM meetings are next week, which could see some action.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Thursday, Nov. 7 at 1:10 p.m. ET

    George A. King III of the New York Post wrote that the New York Yankees are interested in Jimenez. 

    The Yankees do not know what Hiroki Kuroda is going to do, so they are looking at other free agents who could help improve the rotation. New York is looking to get back to the playoffs after missing them in 2013, so look for the Yankees to be aggressive this winter.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 11:50 a.m. ET

    Although the Indians would like to keep Ubaldo Jimenez, ESPN's Buster Olney (membership required) said he is hearing that the free agent wants to pitch elsewhere.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Monday, Nov. 4 at 12:40 p.m. ET

    The club announced on Twitter that it has extended a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to Ubaldo Jimenez.

    The pitcher has until Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. ET to accept or decline the offer.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Sunday, Nov. 3 at 9:35 p.m. ET

    Although the club has not said made an official announcement either way, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports doesn't know how the Indians could not make a qualifying offer to Ubaldo Jimenez given the way he pitched in September.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Friday, Nov. 1 at 10:15 a.m. ET

    The club announced on Twitter that it exercised its club option on Ubaldo Jimenez, but the pitcher voided the option and will now become a free agent. The Indians can now make him a qualifying option. If they do, he can accept or deny it. If he accepts it, that will be his deal. If he denies it, any club that signs him must give up a draft pick.

    ---End of update---

    Jimenez was nothing short of spectacular in the second half of the season.

    After the All-Star break, the right-hander posted a 1.82 ERA over 13 starts. He went only 6-5 during the second half of the season, but he allowed more than two earned runs in a loss only once and didn't allow more than three earned runs in any start after the break.

    No other starter in the American League had an ERA below 2.14 after the All-Star break, and only Miami's Jose Fernandez and Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had a lower ERA during that span.

    The Indians are likely going to exercise his $8 million option, but Jimenez has the ability to decline it after he was traded from Colorado to Cleveland. After his strong second half, he will have plenty of teams interested. 

    Dan Szymborski of ESPN Insider (membership required) lists the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays as potential suitors given that they both have protected first-round picks. 

    The qualifying offer would be $14 million for one year, which isn't a bad deal for a guy who ended the season on such a great run. If he doesn't perform up to expectations next year or the team falls out of contention, he would then be easy to move.

Dec. 18: Drew Stubbs Traded to the Colorado Rockies

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Drew Stubbs has struggled with the bat in recent seasons, but he will drew some interest on the trading block. The Indians decided to part ways with the outfielder and traded him to the Colorado Rockies, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, in exchange for left-handed pitcher Josh Outman.

    Instead of non-tendering him, the Indians decided to offer him a contract and see what they could get for him.

    The 29-year-old hit .233 with 10 home runs, 21 doubles, two triples and 17 stolen bases. He has hit more than 20 home runs before, so there is power. He has also stolen at least 30 bases three times.

    Stubbs is a speedster who can change a game on the bases, and he plays Gold Glove defense. However, he saw his playing time decrease this past season.

    With Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn and David Murphy in the outfield, Stubbs became the odd man out. Now he will get to showcase his speed in spacious Coors Field.

    Outman went 3-0 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.463 WHIP in 2013. He had 53 strikeouts to 23 walks in 54 innings. The 29-year-old has a career 4.61 ERA and 1.427 WHIP in five seasons in the majors.

    The southpaw will likely pitch out of the bullpen for the Tribe, although he put up strong numbers as a starter with the Oakland A's to start his career.

Indians Checked in on Rays LHP David Price

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    The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto wrote that the Cleveland Indians checked in on Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price. However, the asking price is likely too high for the Tribe.

    Tampa Bay reportedly asked for catcher/first baseman Carlos Santana and right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar as starting points. The Ray also want top prospects and reportedly talked about shortstop Francisco Lindor.

    Santana is one of the team's most important players, and Salazar and Lindor are viewed as big parts of the team's future. That would be a steep price to pay for someone who is only under contract for two more years.

    Price is 71-39 with a 3.19 ERA through the first six years of his career. The 28-year-old has made three AL All-Star teams and has won a Cy Young award. 

    At this point, it is unlikely that Cleveland would be a realistic landing spot for Price.

     

Dec. 15: RHP John Axford Signs with the Cleveland Indians

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Indians have a few internal options to take over as closer next season, but John Axford was brought in to help the club's closing situation, via ESPN's Buster Olney. His deal is worth $4.5 million plus incentives, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    Axford has spent his entire career inside of the National League Central. Transitioning from the NL to the AL isn't always a smooth process for pitchers.

    The 30-year-old was with the Milwaukee Brewers for more than four years, and he joined the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle of the season in 2013.

    Axford went 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.523 WHIP in 2013. The right-hander led the NL with 46 saves and posted a 1.95 ERA in 2011. He hasn't been very consistent since that season.

    After Chris Perez wore out his welcome, Axford provides the club with a fresh option

Dec. 13: Jason Kubel Signed a Minor League Deal with the Minnesota Twins

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    Cleveland declined Jason Kubel's option earlier this offseason, and now he is headed to a familiar place. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that Kubel is signing with the Minnesota Twins, which is the team he came up with. ESPN1500's Darren Wolfson reported that Kubel signed a minor league deal to return to Minnesota.

    It came as no surprise that Cleveland declined his option as Kubel played in only eight games with the team after coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of August.

    He was supposed to provide some pop for the lineup, but he had a disappointing year. The left-handed hitter batted .216/.293/.317 with only five home runs and 32 RBI this past season. In 2012, he clubbed 30 home runs, so there were high expectations entering the season.

    Kubel hit .271/.335/.459 with 104 home runs, 142 doubles, 13 triples and 429 RBI in seven seasons with the Twins. He debuted with the club in 2004 and stayed in Minnesota through 2011.

     

     

Indians Are in on Joaquin Benoit

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Cleveland is in on Joaquin Benoit, according to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan. The reported price is $14 million over two years.

    Benoit posted a 2.01 ERA and a 1.030 WHIP with the Detroit Tigers in 2013. The right-hander went 4-1 with 24 saves and struck out 73 batters in 67 innings. He allowed only one run and recorded three saves in four appearances at Progressive Field in 2013. He has a career 4.56 ERA in 19 games in Cleveland.

    Benoit was about the only reliable reliever in Detroit's bullpen. He has had an ERA below 3.00 in three of the past four seasons.

    The Indians need a closer, and Benoit is one of the team's top targets.

Justin Masterson Not Likely to Be Traded, Eligible for Arbitration

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Justin Masterson has become the leader of the staff in Cleveland, but he could be wearing a different uniform next season, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 3:18 p.m. ET

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reported that two general managers have confirmed that Masterson is available. However, the price is said to be very steep. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweeted that Terry Francona called Masterson to tell him that he's not getting traded.

    It appears that the Indians are willing to listen to offers for just about everyone. They will listen, but they are probably unlikely to trade key members unless they get a huge return.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 10:02 a.m. ET

    ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that there are "no legs" to the rumors involving Masterson and the New York Yankees.

    The Indians "will listen but they're also trying to win, so I don't think he is that available," according to one interested executive, via the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 8:50 a.m. ET

    USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted that the New York Yankees want to land Justin Masterson in a three-team deal involving outfielder Brett Gardner. After signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees have a ton of outfielders and Gardner has the most value. Cleveland's outfield is already crowded, which is why the Yankees would need a third team involved.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks likely traded away one of the pieces needed, Tyler Skaggs, in order to acquire Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Now, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Diamondbacks would "really love" to land Masterson. Arizona wants to land a top pitcher after trading for Mark Trumbo. A free agent makes more sense, but the Diamondbacks still have some pieces that they could deal.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 6:20 p.m. ET

    The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for a front-of-the-rotation starter, and they have discussed Justin Masterson, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. The Diamondbacks are unlikely to trade for a starter after dealing young talent for Mark Trumbo on Tuesday.

    MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reported that Indians GM Chris Antonetti would like to keep Masterson. 

    "We'd love for him to be an Indian long-term," Antonetti said.

    ---End of update---

     

    Now that Justin Masterson has only one more year left on his contract, he is open to discussing an extension with the Indians, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.

    The right-hander is eligible for arbitration this winter, and his agent said that they would listen if the Indians approached them about an extension. 

    Masterson set career highs in wins (14), strikeouts (198) and complete games/shutouts (3) in 2013. He made 32 appearances, including 29 starts, and threw 193 innings. He has thrown at least 180 in each of the past four seasons, so he has shown the ability to carry a heavy workload.

    The 28-year-old has gone 44-55 with a 4.08 ERA in his five seasons in Cleveland. He has become the ace of the staff, and he has been a big part of the team's turnaround.

    Masterson has a lot of value. He is young and coming off a very good year. However, teams could be scared off by his inconsistencies. Here are his earned run averages from 2010 to 2013: 4.70, 3.21, 4.93 and 3.45.

    Masterson shouldn't be in a hurry to sign an extension. He will probably wait to see what kind of deal free agent Ubaldo Jimenez gets and goes from there. 

    Keep an eye on Masterson to see if he gets an extension this offseason.

Tribe Willing to Listen to Offers for Asdrubal Cabrera

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    The Indians are willing to listen to offers for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera once again, according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.

    Cabrera may be tough to get much in return at this point. Since hitting .308 in 2009, his average has dropped each season. He hit only .242/.299/.402 with 14 home runs, 35 doubles and two triples.

    He hit 25 home runs in knocked in 92 in 2011, but those numbers have both dropped in each of the past two seasons.

    The 28-year-old has the potential to be a productive bat and a terrific defender. The two-time All-Star has shown flashes of brilliance in his career.

    Cleveland has Francisco Lindor waiting in the minors, so it may be time for the Tribe to move Cabrera, who only has one year remaining on his contract. 

Jason Hammel: Free Agent Target

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    The Indians are interested in Jason Hammel, according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.

    Hammel went 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.457 WHIP in 26 games, including 23 starts, with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. The 31-year-old allowed 22 home runs in 139.1 innings.

    The right-hander had a strong 2012 campaign. He posted a 3.43 ERA and a 1.237 WHIP, both of which were easily the best of his career.

    Hammel has a career 4.80 ERA and a 1.440 WHIP. Outside of the 2012 season, he has never had an earned run average below 4.30 in his eight-year career. Only twice has he posted an ERA below 4.60 in a season.

    ESPN's Buster Olney reported that Hammel's asking price went up, so the Indians have looked elsewhere.

    The asking price for starting pitching is steep. Scott Kazmir landed a two-year, $22 million contract this winter. Cleveland thought that Hammel's asking price was too high, but it could get back in on him if his price drops.

Dec. 2: Scott Kazmir Signs a Two-Year Deal with the Oakland A's

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    For the first time since 2008, Scott Kazmir put up quality numbers. The 29-year-old had been trying to get back to his old form, and he showed in 2013 that he is on the right track.

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 2:33 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Jim Bowden reported that Scott Kazmir will sign a two-year, $22 million deal with the Oakland Athletics.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that Kazmir will receive a two-year deal worth more than $16 million. 

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 2:15 p.m. ET

    MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweeted that Kazmir and the Oakland A's are close to agreeing on a two-year deal. The Tribe weren't willing to give the southpaw a multi-year deal.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that Kazmir is close to signing a deal with the Oakland Athletics.

    The A's lost out on Tim Hudson and may be looking to move on from Bartolo Colon. Signing Kazmir would be a much cheaper alternative.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 3:25 a.m. ET

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo tweeted that Kazmir is high on the Baltimore Orioles' list of free-agent pitchers.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10:42 a.m. ET

    The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes wrote that the Indians would like to keep Kazmir, but he is expected to sign with another team. The left-hander wants a multi-year deal, and the Indians would prefer to give him a one-year contract.

    ---End of Update--- 

    *Update: Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 11:54 p.m. ET

    Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN tweeted that the Minnesota Twins are interested in Kazmir.

    The southpaw allowed only one earned run in 12 innings at Target Field with the Indians this past season. He struck out 12 batters and walked only five. He had success there and is familiar with the division, so Minnesota could be a potential landing spot. 

    ---End of update---

    Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts. He held left-handed hitters to a .226 average with only 10 extra-base hits. At Progressive Field, he went 7-2 with a 3.86 ERA compared to a 3-7 record with a 4.21 ERA on the road.

    Things didn't look good for the veteran early. He had a 4.83 ERA through the end of June, but he managed to turn things around. After allowing only one earned run in his final 14 innings in June, he posted a 2.75 in July and a 2.57 ERA in September.

    Many pitchers tire out an allow more hits as they throw more pitches. Kazmir was the opposite, via ESPN.com:

    PitchesAVGHR
    1-15.3185
    16-30.2565
    31-45.2415
    46-60.2364
    61-75.1540

    Those are interesting numbers, which helped Kazmir make a strong effort in getting back on track.

    There should be some interest for Kazmir on the market.

Nov. 23: RHP Joe Smith Signed with the Los Angeles Angels

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    Joe Smith has been one of Cleveland's best relievers the past few seasons, but now he has signed a three-year deal, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    *Update: Sunday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. ET

    Smith's three year deal will be worth $15.75 million, via Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Saturday, Nov. 23 at 9:48 p.m. ET

    Right-handed reliever Joe Smith will sign a three-year with the Los Angeles Angels, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman also reported that Smith will likely receive a deal worth more than $15 million over the three years.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:50 p.m. ET

    The Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher reported that the Los Angeles Angels are interested in the free agent.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Saturday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. ET

    The Denver Post's Troy Renck reported that the Colorado Rockies are looking at Joe Smith among others to improve their bullpen. The Rockies ranked 28th in baseball with a 4.23 bullpen ERA.

    ---End of update---

    He went 6-2 with three saves and a 2.29 ERA over 70 appearances. The right-hander struck out 54 batters and walked only 23 in 63 innings.

    In his five-year career with the Indians, he was very effective. The 29-year-old went 18-11 with a 2.76 ERA in 271 innings with the Tribe. He had a WHIP of 1.199, so he very good at keeping runners off the bases.

    Smith has been a big part of the Cleveland bullpen, and he will likely draw quite a bit of interest in free agency.

David Murphy: Signed Two-Year Deal with the Cleveland Indians

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    Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

    Nov. 19: As ShutdownInnings.com's Jamie Kelly as tweeted throughout the night of Nov. 19, left fielder David Murphy has signed with the Cleveland Indians. 

    *Update: Nov.20 at 9:20 a.m. ET

    The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes reported that the deal is worth $12 million, with a club option for 2016.

    ---End of update---

    Murphy hit .220/282/.374 with 13 home runs, 26 doubles and a triple in 2013. Those numbers are down from he is used to. His career slash line is .275/.337/.441. He has 86 home runs in eight years, so his power numbers were pretty similar to his career average.

    The 32-year-old came up with the Boston Red Sox, but he has played for the Texas Rangers since the middle of the 2007 season.

    It adds another outfielder to the mix in Cleveland. The left-handed hitter has played all of the outfield positions, but he is expected to play the corner positions with the Indians, via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. He is "expected to get 400-500 at-bats" at the corners, and the team likes his defense. Hoynes tweeted that Murphy will play right field against right-handed pitching.

    If he can get back to hitting for average, this could turn out to be a very good deal for the club.

Fernando Rodney: Free Agent Target

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes reported that the Indians will talk to agent Dan Lozano, who represents Fernando Rodney.

    When the Indians released Chris Perez, that left the team without a closer. They have a few internal candidates, but there are a couple of closers available.

    Rodney has been one of baseball's best closers the last two years. He had been a decent reliever with the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angeles for the first nine years of his career, but he was outstanding with the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Over the past two seasons, the 36-year-old converted 85 saves with a 1.91 ERA, including a 0.60 ERA with 48 saves in 74.2 innings in 2012. Those are just incredible numbers.

    Rodney would be a big upgrade over Perez, so the Indians will talk to Rodney's agent.

Chris Perez: Released

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    Closer Chris Perez was involved in many controversies during his time in Cleveland, and it's tough to see him remaining with the club. The club put up with his antics while he was performing well, but his late-season struggles nearly cost the Indians a playoff spot. 

    Near the end of the season, it was clear that his time in Cleveland was over. On Oct. 31, the team made it official as it released the troubled pitcher, via Twitter.

    Perez blew five saves in 30 opportunities this year. He made at least nine appearances in four different months this season and allowed at least seven runs in three of those months.

    He was great in July as he allowed only one run in 15 innings, but the final two months of the season were not good. After allowing only four home runs through July, he allowed seven in the final two months.

    The Indians were able to use Justin Masterson at the end of games, which meant Perez was no longer needed. Masterson will be going back to the rotation next year, so the Indians will have to find a new closer for 2014. 

    MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweeted out that general manager Chris Antonetti has Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw as the leading in-house candidates to take over as closer, but Vinnie Pestano will also be considered. Tom Withers of the Associated Press added that the team could look to free agency to fill the hole, but Allen and Shaw will be looked at.

Jason Giambi: Re-Signed

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    When looking at the numbers, Jason Giambi doesn't seem like a great candidate to get a new contract. However, his leadership was a big part of Cleveland's success this year.

    Giambi's veteran leadership earned him a new contract, via the team's official Twitter account.

    He will get a chance to make the team in the spring, and manager Terry Francona should feel good about having Giambi's presence in the clubhouse.

    Despite hitting only .183, Giambi hit nine home runs with 31 RBI in 2013. The 42-year-old gives the Tribe a power bat off the bench late in games at a low price.

    It was only a minor move, but it was a smart signing as the Indians look to carry over the momentum into next season.

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