CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians are up to something. We just don’t know what as of yet.
Make no mistake, the Tribe is talking, and working the roster for new manager Terry Francona. They will not be as quiet as they were last season in the offseason, when the big move was a trade for veteran pitcher Derek Lowe, who didn’t even finish the year with the team.
The club already made what could be considered a minor move, dealing relief pitcher Esmail Rogers for infielder Mike Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes from the Blue Jays.
The move doesn’t seem like much, but there’s a move the club could make that is a direct result of the move to acquire Aviles, and that’s to deal two-time All-Star SS Asdrubal Cabrera.
Sure GM Chris Antonetti came out the day of the deal for Aviles stating that Cabrera is the teams shortstop, no question, but consider the following:
Aviles is set to make over a million dollars in 2013, and when is the last time the Indians paid a player or acquired one that is set to basically sit the bench and collect a million plus dollars?
Cabrera’s trade value is probably at the highest it’s going to get. He’s 27, will make $6.5 mil this season, and his second half swoon the past two seasons have the Indians concerned.
Don’t forget, Cabrera’s defense in 2012 was nowhere near as good as it was in 2011. He went from 15 to 19 errors from 2011 to 2012, and those eye popping plays simply were not there.
Now all that is not to say that Cabrera won’t recover from his second straight second half downtrend, but at the same time, with Aviles sitting the bench, the Indians will have nearly $8 million wrapped up in one position.
There’s another key factor to dealing Cabrera, and that’s the trust factor with new manager Francona. He’s dealt with Aviles, he trusts him, and knows from day one in Goodyear what he’s going to get.
With Cabrera, you get a sense you don’t know the trust factor. He came in last year to spring training and had to work himself back into shape. While he finally got things going, Francona won’t be too happy if Cabrera shows up again out of shape in Goodyear in late February.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Shin-Soo Choo will be wearing another uniform come opening day 2013. The Indians have already spoken to the Red Sox about him, and the Rangers and a number of other teams have already showed interest in him.
Moving Choo is going to gain the Indians some assets, and that’s all well and good. Moving Cabrera? That’s going to gain the Indians even better assets that could get the team turned around sooner.
The Indians have got to start collecting pitching, and getting Cabrera and Choo out the door is a monster step in getting that done. The Winter Meetings are a few weeks away, and expect to start hearing more chatter about Cabrera being available and even possibly going to other franchises.
It might take awhile for the Indians to find the deal they want, but at the end of the day, they have to do whatever they can to get the most they can for Cabrera.
It’s the right move for a team that needs to rebuild on the fly with a new manager that is thinking about winning right away. And it’s a move that needs to happen as soon as possible.