Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro’s winter to-do list.
Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro’s winter to-do list:
1. Say good-bye to veteran free agents Chris Gomez, Kenny Lofton and Trot Nixon and wish them well in their future endeavors. Lofton turns 41 next May, and will still be better than David Dellucci. But the Indians still hope to recoup some of that $11.5 million they threw at Dellucci last winter.
2. Pick up the contract options of Paul Byrd, Joe Borowski and Aaron Fultz. Borowski led the league in saves, and left-handers hit .191 off Fultz, so that seems to be money well-spent. Byrd is a tougher call: He may face a suspension by MLB for having used human growth hormone from 2002-2005.
3. Check out the free-agent and trade markets for a corner outfielder with some pop. The platoon of Dellucci and Jason Michaels in left field was an interesting notion that just didn’t work. Time for a big bopper and legitimate No. 5 hitter.
4. Have a long talk with Andy Marte and Cliff Lee. Marte is out of minor-league options, and Manager Eric Wedge said it is imperative he report to spring training in shape. Lee and his coaches continue to be at odds over the overuse — or not — of his fastball. If they can’t reach a happy medium next spring, Lee could be the piece that triggers a big trade at the end of March.
5. Sign a veteran relief pitcher with closer’s experience in case Borowski’s shoulder gives up the ghost or he can no longer successfully execute his ninth-inning high-wire act.
6. Sign C.C. Sabathia. Now. If the big left-hander walks, the odd smell of hot tar and feathers might just be wafting into windows on the Jacobs Field office tower.
7. Hire another team psychologist. Maybe two or three. Was it inexperience? Was it individual shortcomings? Was it a collective mental approach that needs modification? Nobody can look at how Cleveland’s best players performed during the final three games of the ALCS and suggest that there’s not a problem here.
-- The Repository