Uh, oh ... is this going to be my new vice? So, you know the rules ... it's just like Hey Hoynsie!, only with good answers.
Hey, Jaysie: When Paul Dolan said that he would add to the team, did he mean Thanksgiving turkeys like Andy Marte, David Dellucci, Jason Johnson, Aaron Boone and Roberto Hernandez? -- Edna Williams, Cleveland
Hey, Edna: Longtime readers of LGT know that I'm a strong advocate of making women feel welcome here. I do this for purely selfish reasons — a stronger following among women is good for the club financially, and when more women participate in discussions here, the discussions are simply better. With that in mind, it does my heart good to see a woman jumping with both feet into one of the great Indians fan archetypes, and that is, the Complete Jackass. I want you to know, Edna, that your question is as dumb as any that a man could have proffered, and you have made as much of an ass of yourself with this question as any man ever has. It is a great day for women, and, I think, for America, and I want to congratulate Hoynsie as well, for the Branch Rickeyeseque role he has played in Edna's achievement.
Hey, Jaysie: Without Travis Hafner in the lineup, the Tribe doesn't have a real power bat. Does Adam Dunn make as much sense to you as it does to me? -- Chris Bien, North Kingsville
Hey, Chris: Dunn does make some sense, but I wonder if you aren't underrating the power bats we do have. Grady and Jhonny were #14 and #25 in the AL in slugging last year, which is a lot of power to get out of those two particular positions. Remember, just because a guy isn't only a slugger doesn't mean he's not a slugger. Also, Choo and Shoppach essentially became starters as of June 1, when Victor essentially took Choo's spot on the DL, and from that point on, Shoppach and Choo were #7 and #9 in the league in slugging — Shoppach in fact led the league in Isolated Power over those four months. Neither guy got enough playing time to qualify for the slugging title, but Shoppach finished with the same slugging average as Grady, and Choo's was even higher. I think we'll go into 2009 with six or seven guys who legitimately can be among the Top 25 sluggers in the league, and that's pretty good, considering, there are only 14 teams. Still, I agree that a slugger would be a nice addition, but the Indians seem to be caught between waiting for their current guys to "shake it off" and waiting for their minor league power bats to arrive. This club is deliberately more built around pitching than hitting, but folks are saying that there may be a glut of one-dimensional sluggers this offseason, so who knows? Maybe Shapiro will surprise us for a change.
Hey, Jaysie: I count 39 men on the Indians' 40-man roster? Even if they wanted to add somebody in the Rule 5 draft Thursday at the winter meetings, couldn't they protect an extra person and drop him off the 40-man after the draft? -- Joe Winnfield, Columbus
Hey, Joe: I'm not quite sure what you're getting at, but there was a deadline for protecting guys, and it's passed, and if they add somebody, then that somebody takes up a roster spot. Unlike the classic DFA transaction, you do not get a few days to sort your roster out after a Rule 5 pick. If your roster is full, you are not allowed to make a pick. Also, if you remove a guy from the 40-man after the Rule 5, you're likely to lose him to another team on waivers, and where you'll usually get a Rule 5 pick back, you're not ever getting a waivers guy back. For that reason, you'll pretty much never see a team protect a guy from Rule 5 in the fall and then remove him from the 40-man winter. You only protect guys that you're bent on keeping.
Hey, Jaysie:: As a youngster in the '60s I remember riding the bus downtown on Saturdays for two bits to cheer on my Indians. Bleacher seats were .75 and general admission was $1.25. In 80,000-seat Municipal Stadium there would be about 5,000 fans. After the fifth inning the ushers went home and we'd move into the vacant box seats. Was this too good to be true and is it time for me to find a park bench in Florida? -- Don Hauth, Kalispell, Mont.
Hey, Don: Don't go to Florida, it's getting warmer everywhere, so you can just stay where you are. Go to Kentucky, maybe. What's interesting about your story is that the stadium was empty even though the Indians were not terrible in the 60's, just mediocre. It's a reminder that building that stadium was always a massive mistake, and when the Indians were bad for 35 years, that just made it kind of funny.
Hey, Jaysie: Who are the potential free agents on the Indian's roster after the 2009 and 2010 season? -- Marty Hrovat, Slidell, La.
Hey, Marty: After 2009, only Dellucci and Carroll. We'll almost certainly pick up all our 2010 club options — Cliff and Victor obviously, but probably Betancourt and Masa as well — and then those guys will be free agents after 2010, along with Westbrook. Jhonny has a 2011 club option that's also more or less a lock to be picked up.
Hey, Jaysie: This year we saw how dominant Paul Byrd can be at times. With all the question marks the Indians have in the rotation, don't you think it would be reckless not to try and re-sign Byrd? -- Matt Stegmeier, Middleburg Heights
Hey, Matt: I like Byrd, more than most do I think, but I can't see bringing him back except for a big bargain. You know that old saying about trading a guy a year too early rather than a year too late? You have to respect how Byrd has walked the high-wire this long with his stuff, but his luck seems likely to run out in the next year or two, and you don't give a guy any significant contract when you know that.
Hey, Jaysie: Of the several second basemen mentioned as possible trade targets this off-season, none seems to have better credentials than Josh Barfield had, at least prior to his arrival in Cleveland. Why has he fallen so far out of favor? -- Tom Bartunek, New York
Hey, Tom: Good question. I can only guess that the Indians simply haven't seen anything out of him to suggest he's going to return to 2006 form — that is, they haven't seen the raw ability and/or they haven't seen the willingness to develop further as a hitter and make adjustments. That's just guessing, but man, have you forgotten how terrible he looked at the plate?
Hey, Jaysie: MLB should change the rules for extra-inning games. If a game is sent to extra innings, each team would get to put a runner on base at the start of each inning. If they put a runner on first, they would start the inning with no outs. If they put a runner on second, there would be one out and if they put a runner on third, there would be two outs. This not only shortens games, but would add a new dimension for managers and fans. -- Brandon Leggett, Cleveland
Hey, Brandon: Oh! Oh! Also? They could play the whole game on roller skates. That would be awesome.
Hey, Jaysie: Do you think there is any possibility of the Indians picking up Randy Johnson in what will probably be his last year pitching? -- Pat Rzonca, North Olmsted
Hey, Pat: Any possibility? Sure, just not much of one. No reason to rule it out, but also no reason to think it will happen
Hey, Jaysie: I read last year that Manny Ramirez really enjoyed playing in Cleveland. Do you think there is any chance he might return as a free agent? -- Jeff Roche, Olmsted Falls
Hey, Jeff: Not a chance in hell. Forget the money, the Indians under Shapiro would never sign any player who so flagrantly disrespected the game and was so willing to let down his teammates. The Indians look for high-character guys who are good teammates and are not primarily motivated by money, and they also value defense. Does that sound like Manny to you?
Hey, Jaysie: The Giants signed shortstop Edgar Renteria last week. Do you think there's a possibility the Indians will pursue a trade for their shortstop prospect Emmanuel Burriss? Burriss has played 95 games in the big leagues and played his college ball at Kent State. Maybe throw in Omar Vizquel, too, and bring him back to Cleveland? -- Alexander Thompson, Olmsted Falls
Hey, Alexander: I doubt it. Burriss did an admirable job in his callup but was not that impressive of a prospect before that. Given his total lack of power, the .283 batting average probably was a fluke and would not hold up over time. He may turn out to be a good player, but then again he may be only marginally better than Josh Rodriguez, who had similar numbers in the minors at the same age. The Indians have a very interesting shortstop prospect with real pop in Carlos Rivero, who will be starting for the Aeros in 2009.