I brought this up during the playoffs, but here's another update on the question. In 2012, the Indians selected Tyler Naquin with the 15th overall pick in the first round. Four picks later the Cardinals selected Naquin's teammate Michael Wacha. The Indians liked Wacha, but instead drafted Naquin and signed him to a below-slot value bonus so that they could spend money on later picks (such as Mitch Brown), while the Cardinals gave Wacha a bonus that matched the slot value of the pick. Right now the strategy doesn't look so good, as Wacha starred for the Cardinals in the playoffs while Naquin has just gotten to AA, but I'd hold off on the recriminations for a couple years. I'm not a Naquin fan, but he has been impressive in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .353/.414/.422 in 102 At Bats.For the strategy to pay off, though, both Naquin and several of the lower-round picks (Mitch Brown, Kieran Lovegrove, D'vone McClure, Dylan Baker) that got above-slot bonuses need to pan out.
Not exactly breaking news, but worth bringing up again for the 40-man roster aspects of the move.
MLB teams must activate all players on the 60-day DL within a certain amount of days after the end of the World Series so that they can't gain an advantage over other clubs in regards to free agent signings and trades. Some clubs had to make some DFAs in order to activate all their 60-day players, but because the Indians had a decent number of free agents, adding the four back to the 40-man roster didn't cause any problems. In fact, they still have four free roster spots at this point in the winter.
Of the four that were activated...
...I think Herrmann has the best shot to make a meaningful contribution next season. Before he underwent Tommy John surgery, Herrmann had added a good off-speed pitch to his repertoire, a curve that took opposing batters off his relatively straight mid-90s fastball. Had he not gotten hurt, I think he had a good shot of making the club. With the departure of Chris Perez, Rich Hill, Joe Smith, and Matt Albers, the Indians should have at least a couple of spots open for competition. The key of course is whether Herrmann, who had the surgery during Spring Training last year, will be physically ready to pitch.
The other three have unclear paths to the 25-man roster. Lou Marson started the season as the backup catcher, but was injured in a scary collision at home plate in the first week of the season, and didn't play in a major-league game after April. In fact, he only played in 12 minor-league games as he attempted several batches of rehab appearances. He's both out of options and eligible for arbitration, so I think there's a good chance he gets non-tendered next month.
Scott Barnes, who got several opportunities to pitch out of the bullpen while the Indians were flailing around for left-handed relief pitching, will compete for a spot in the bullpen against guys like Nick Hagadone and newly-acquired Colt Hynes. He still has an option year left (added in November 2011) so if it comes down to he and Hagdone (who has no options remaining), the Indians will likely go with Hagadone.
Cord Phelps in my mind probably won't last the winter on the 40-man roster. The Indians have both Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn under contract, and Jose Ramirez should be ahead of him on the depth chart. He's also out of options.
With the 60-day DL activations, the only real post-World Series move yet to be made is Ubaldo Jimenez's decision on whether to accept or decline the Qualifying Offer the Indians made last week.
(For easy access to this chart at all times, go to the Library menu at the top the site, and select the "Latest 40-Man Roster" option on the drop-down. Here's the direct link.)
AL Central News
The annual "free agent X wants $XXXM deal" articles are starting to pop up, and Ervin Santana, who last year at this time was essentially given away by the Angels is looking for 9-figure contract. If I were a GM I'd stay well away from giving Santana a long-term given his propensity to alternate good and bad seasons, but he is durable and he is relatively young, and with the influx of TV dollars and the dearth of good starting pitching on the free agent, I wouldn't be surprised if Santana's contract at least approaches $100M in value. And whatever Santana gets, Ubaldo Jimenez will get (if not more).
The Twins may actually have a pitching prospect who doesn't pitch to contact.
A retrospective of Jim Leyland's tenure in Detroit.
You'd think the signing of Jose Abreu would signal the end of Konerko's tenure with the White Sox (if not retirement), but perhaps he'll come in a Giambi-esque role for the Pale Hose. I still think he'll end up retiring.