Indians Free Agent Targets Growing Fewer by the Day
The Indians have not been rumored to be doing much this offseason so far, but the few players they have been rumored to be interested in are flying off the free agent board left and right. After another day of frenzied day of trades and free agents signings, it is looking more and more like the Indians may be left holding the bag this offseason. That is of course unless they are planning on striking it rich through a trade. In the meantime, here is what has happened with each of the Indians rumored offseason interests.
Rafael Furcal: Reportedly, Furcal will sign a one year pact with the Miami Marlins for $3-million plus incentives. It was rumored early on that the Indians were interested in signing Furcal in order to open themselves up to the possibility of trading away Asdrubal Cabrera. With Furcal in place, top prospect Francisco Lindor would have had time to further develop in the minors.
Tim Hudson: Hudson was an early target upon the start of free agency. It was reported that Terry Francona had reached out the veteran right hander, but unfortunately he wasn’t buying what the Indians were selling. The Indians were also reluctant to commit to the two years and $23-million he will receive from the Giants
Scott Kazmir: The former Indians was probably never really in play. After having a solid return to major league baseball in 2013, Kazmir was looking for the security of a multi-year deal. The Indians weren’t interested. They also had no interest in extending a one year $14.1-million qualifying offer. As a result, teams did not have to worry about draft pick compensation in exchange for Kazmir’s services. Enter the A’s and their two-year, $22-million deal.
Brian Wilson: It’s unclear how real the Tribe’s interest was in Wilson. It no longer matters. Wilson was reportedly close to signing with the division rival Tigers, but is now close to re-upping with the Dodgers for one year, $10-million deal with a dual option worth $9-million for 2015.
Edward Mujica: Again, it is unclear how much interest the Indians really had in Mujica. It never seemed to be much more than a vague rumor at any point. It was reported on Thursday that Mujica will sign with the Red Sox for two-years and $9.5-million to be a set-up man for incumbent closer Koji Uehara. Had Mujica come to Cleveland, there is a very real possibility that he could have been the Tribe’s closer from day one.
Phil Hughes: Hughes was never reported anywhere other than Wahoo’s on First as a potential target for the Indians, but perhaps he should have been. Hughes agreed to sign with the Twins, a team much further away from contending than the Indians for three years and $24-million. At $8-million per year, the deal is insanely affordable and could have very well fit into the plans of the Indians. Hughes may very well be the epitome of a change of scenery guy.
Ubaldo Jimenez: While Jimenez has yet to sign with another team, the latest news is that the Orioles are interested in his services. As a larger market team, at least larger than the Indians, there is a real possibility that they could outbid the Indians or anyone else for his services.
Joe Smith: Much like Kazmir, Smith was looking for a significant pay raise as well as multiple years of security. While Smith’s interest in returning to the Indians was very real, his performance over the past five years priced him out of the Indians comfort zone. In reality, the only way Smith was going to return was if he gave the Indians a “home team discount.” That was never going to happen, not with the fickle nature of reliever performance. Smith needed to get paid now and he did.
Justin Morneau: Morneau was another target Wahoo’s on First felt would have been a good risk on a short one or two-year deal. Unfortunately, the Rockies had similar ideas. Of course, no one knows why the Rockies were interested in Morneau, but the two parties came to agreement yesterday.