All goes according to plan

Some stuff has happened since we last spoke.

Let's start off with the news that got overshadowed after the Indians made that trade.

The Kerry Wood Deal is finally official and we have our closer.

We've now found out that Kerry Wood was the first option for the Indians in their search for a closer. Why?

"We get the best of both worlds with Kerry," general manager Mark Shapiro said.
The best of both worlds that Shapiro is talking about is not that Hannah Montana song, but rather leadership and the hard thrower from the closers spot. I'm now ashamed of myself for knowing A) Who Hannah Montana is and B) Knowing the name of one of her songs. That little girl is poison, I forbid you to let your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, cousins, whatever watch her.


I love his sense of humor.

"My only concern was that they'd need a dolly or two to get [the medical report] over to them. It's pretty thick."
Great to hear he can make light of something people have ragged on him for in the past. That's why he's a closer.

Believe it or not, the Arizona Complex was not a reason Wood signed with us, but rather a bonus. Here is Kerry's encouraging quote about why he signed with Cleveland.

"They came at me hard from Day 1," Wood said. "That was something I looked at. I looked at the records of the teams, and they had one of the best records in the second half. The talent is there, and it's a great city and town with solid fans and a beautiful stadium."
If Kerry enjoys his time here, and is really happy with his decision, who knows what good that will do for the Indians in the future in terms of signing guys. Will they make many big time free agent signings? No, but maybe it could help get us some attention in terms of signing some people at prices we can afford.

Speaking of affording free agents, the Indians would hope newly named Free Agent Ty Wigginton is in their price range.

The problem is... Now that he's a free agent, Wigginton has shot to the top of the third baseman pool.

The Twins are probably going to be one of his suitors, especially after losing out on Casey Blake.

Never fear, the Indians are in on Wigginton along with... Pittsburgh and San Francisco. A Twins source adds Cincinnati but that would mean moving him to a new position or trading Encarnacion, one of the targets on our chart if he becomes available through trade.

I like our chances of signing him over those two teams. It comes down to the Indians and Twins if you ask me.

The problem is, how much is this guy going to want and how long of a contract will he command?

Given the fact that there is no big time free agent at third base, he is in a great situation. But again the economy is effecting the way team's deal. That along with the fact that the Indians have made their big splash and don't plan on signing another big money free agent.

MLBTR speculates it would take at least two, but Casey Blake's deal is a little bit high for Wigginton.

One other option for the Indians was JJ Putz, who they were involved with in the deal, but that was after they got Kerry Wood.

Reportedly, Seattle wanted Gutierrez, who they got, and one of the Indians Top 5 Prospects in exchange for Putz.

Seattle's wanting Gutierrez, and the Indians interest in Joe Smith pulled them into this Putz though.

Minaya, a frequent phone partner with Shapiro, was well aware of the Indians' interest in Mets right-hander Joe Smith. He told Shapiro that he'd put Smith into the deal if he agreed to send Gutierrez to Seattle.

And finally, in-house news here..

As you may have expected by my lack of update, no one major got selected in the Rule V Draft.. Thankfully...

Carlos Arias was selected by the Royals and Rafael Quintero was selected by the Pirates.

Arias was in one of the summer leagues and I'm not even sure where Quintero was. Neither are huge loses. The biggest thing is Chuck Lofgren and Jordan Brown are with the Indians this year.

And of course.. Because Wigginton was not tendered, he became a Free Agent. Kelly Shoppach had the same opportunity, but the Indians tendered him. He can accept or take it to arbitration. As we know though, the Indians haven't gone to arbitration since 1991, so expect a deal to get done.

All the pre-arb players all got offered tenders as well. That stuff won't get done for awhile.

Offseason Chart and 40 Man Updated.. Looking to confirm Valbuena and Smith's specifics, I'll just wait on their salaries until they are available for this next year. I'm pretty sure what I have there in terms of Arb and Options is correct.. Smith has one full year and most of 2007 in the major leagues, so he's pretty much not going to be Arb eligible until after 2010, I'm not positive there though.

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