UPDATED: As reported by Jerry Crasnick for ESPN.com, the Indians
are a "strong candidate" to sign have signed Carl Pavano, who might be called a "recovering jackass" in the parlance of our time, to a one-year deal for an undisclosed sum, presumed to be less than $161 million.
At the end of the season, Shapiro listed the club's main needs going into 2009 as an infielder, a closer, and a number-three starter, roughly in that order. Having already acquired one of the very best infielders and one of the very best closers available, the Indians have basically spent down the bulk of their payroll flexibility for 2009, so it's been fairly clear for some time that the Indians would have to go bargain-hunting for a starter.
Crasnick's report characterizes the potential deal as similar to the famously well-structured and happy-ending Kevin MIllwood deal in 2005, only perhaps a bit smaller in terms of dollars. Pavano would joins Anthony Reyes as the two serious candidates for the last three rotation spots who don't have minor league options remaining. Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, Scott Lewis, Zach Jackson and David Huff will also be competing for those spots, but any or all of those five can be stashed in Triple-A and called up as needed.
Those seven pitchers combined for 69 starts in the majors last season, plus 66 starts in the minors and a smattering of relief innings.