Listening to the Ken Carmen show today he was asking what would you do if you were in the Dolan's shoes? It got me thinking on how I would go about the end of the season and into next season with the resources available. Using contract information provided here I have roughly estimated money available, and using this to project Free Agents, I put together what I think they should be looking to do (that is realistic) -- If I am using faulty resources feel free to let me know!
Salaries we are losing:
Lowe- 5 million
Hafner- 13 million
Sizemore- 5 million
Kotchman- 3 million
Jose Lopez- .8 million
Kevin Slowey- 1.25 million
Dan Wheeler- .9 million
(The last 2 are counted against the Indians total in what I am using, but they dont represent anything too significant so it doesnt throw things off if I am wrong).
Those totals add up to about 29 million coming off the books if no one is brought back, and there could be more cut if they choose to drop Roberto. I know this is not 100% right but again for rough estimates using the 2012 salaries and subtracting those contracts we get about 36.5 million on the books. That should** give the Dolans and the FO some ammo to go get things done in the offseason. Here's my plan of attack from now until next year:
Start by bringing up as much "young" guys as possible. Give Anderson, Laporta, Canzler, Gomez, etc time to come make an impression. End the Damon, Kotchman, Lowe experiments by restricting their playing time. We won't miss them. From looking at incoming free agents there aren't many intriguing 1B prospects so we need to decide if we can get decent production from some under team control, or else we are trading (I won't get into trades though since they are quite difficult to predict with accuracy). In theory our starting IF is Santana, Chiz, Cabrera, Kipnis and Anderson/Laporta (hopefully one shows enough promise to be serviceable). OF we have Choo, Brantley and a gaping hole. Top FA targets for that whole would be Andre Either and Cody Ross. Both are relatively young and probably wont be getting ridiculous contracts, while putting up better numbers then we see currently at LF. That would put a pretty decent line-up out on the field on a daily basis and you would then have to find a few role players to fit in.
Now onto pitching. Go hard after one of the top pitchers on the market. I know Hamels has signed on extension but I am not to sure on the others at the top of the list. If Matt Cain is on the market I make him priority #1. Open the bank account, we have plenty of room. We could pay him 17 mil a year and sign one of the before mentioned OFs and still not use up all of the cap space thus far created. With Cain we then have a rotation of Cain-Masterson-Ubaldo-Mcalister-Tomlin (or Hernandez, or Gomez, or another FA). That with a healthy bullpen of Rafael Perez (7th) Vinny Pestano (8th) and Chris Perez I think it makes the Indians a rough team to compete with.
Do you guys think this is at all realistic? Do you think the Indians have the cajones to pull anything like this off? If you were in charge of the FO how would you go about FA?
-- As a side, even if some of the numbers arent correct, I still think the FO needs to raise their cap to around 75-80 mil. If the Dolans want to make money they have to make an investment for the average Indians fan to get excited and get to the park. Doing that also makes room for a trade to bring in an actual hitter at 1B, which in my scenario is our weakest area.