I figure it’s past time that I officially come to terms with the fact that Anthony Castrovince is no longer the Indians beat writer for MLB.com. If you haven’t heard, Castrovince is now writing featured articles for the site and his replacement, Jordan Bastian, has taken over the beat. Jordan seems smart and capable, so I’m sure we’ll be in good hands going forward, but I will certainly miss AC and the energy, wit, and dedication he brought to his coverage. As I’m sure Jordan knows, AC left behind some big shoes.
Anway, while reading the inaugural edition of Jordan’s “Indians Inbox” column, I was struck by the very first question and response:
Hey Jordan! [Blah blah blah, flattery, answer my question!] P.S. Are the Indians interested in signing Manny Ramirez?
–James K., Washington, D.C.
Bastian: [Graditude and Platitudes] … I’m not seeing it. The Tribe is looking for a part-time, inexpensive, right-handed hitter for the outfield. Manny is right-handed, but he is probably looking for more playing time and money than Cleveland is capable of offering right now.
Now you probably know that I think the nonsense about Manny Ramirez is…well…nonsense. And Jordan treats it as such. It just ain’t happenin’, and certainly not on the Indians’ budget.
But what caught me was that second half of Bastian’s response—namely, the part about a “part-time, inexpensive, right-handed hitter for the outfield.”
It got me thinking. Let me describe a player for you:
- Currently an unsigned free agent;
- Plus defender at both corner outfield spots; adequate defender in CF;
- 2010 OPS of .746; career OPS of .775;
- 30 years old;
- 2010 contract: signed as a minor league free agent $750,000
As Bob Ryan would say, “Is that something you might be interested in?”
Have you guessed it yet? Here’s a hint: he played most of 2010 in an Indians’ uniform.
That’s right. What wrong with signing Austin Kearns back? He’ll probably be affordable, can DH against LH pitching, can play all three OF spots, and will likely sign for less than the money just given to Jeff Francouer by the Royals.
And beyond that? Well, when I mentioned this idea on twitter, our own Craig Lyndall chimed in with this little bonus: “FINALLY… we could take a FA from the YANKEES! Kearns, baby. Kearns!”
Well, OK. Sure.
But why not?
Anyway, onto my second thought, ignited by a second suggestion. Here’s Jon Paul Morosi, on a hot pitcher that might be had in a trade:
He’s a right-handed starter. He’s 27 years old. He pitches in the American League Central. He has garnered a lot of recent interest on the trade market.
But let’s get serious here. Are there teams interested in acquiring Carmona? Certainly. He’s an above average pitcher with a team-friendly contract. In fact, that’s why we shouldn’t trade him: Carmona’s contract locks him up through this coming season, but he has three club option years after that, with no option year worth more than $12 million. You can’t get a league-average pitcher for $12 million these days, so Carmona is about as valuable a commodity as exists these days.
Morosi goes on to mention the Rangers and the Yankees as teams that would express interest in Fausto, before adding some input from a major-league source saying that “the Indians aren’t eager to move [Carmona] but are in a “listen and explore” mode because of the heavy interest following the Cliff Lee signing.”
I’ve never understood how this counts as news. The mere fact that the Indians front office doesn’t refuse to answer their phones when other teams call gets the rumor mill in full-bore mode.
But as a quick and dirty reminder, last season Fausto:
- Was third in AL in groundball percentage
- Was 20th in the AL in ERA
- Was 14th in the AL in HR/9
In other words, he’s good. Above average. And he’s young. And relatively affordable. Sure, the Indians will answer the phone, but Fausto’s not going anywhere.