I'm putting this in the Indians News selection because Hughes was a player that a lot of us thought the Indians could sign this winter. And based on the dollars/year, the Indians could have afforded him. But the years probably scared the Indians (and many other teams) away, because although Hughes has the talent and durability to be a good major-league starter, he hasn't shown it yet. Of course if he had shown it, he'd be getting a lot more money this winter.
This signing, combined with the Rickey Nolasco signing, could actually give the Twins an honest-to-goodness major-league rotation.
Hoynes gets some interesting quotes from Joe Smith, especially about his thought process behind his move to the Angels:
"There were two places I wanted to go -- to the Angels or back to Cleveland," said Smith, who just returned from a vacation in Hawaii. "When it became clear that if I wanted to go to Anaheim we had to jump right then, we went back to a couple of teams, including Cleveland, but nothing happened."
Now granted, the dollars had to make sense, and the Angels were probably right up there with any other offers (and three years is as good as a deal as a non-closer can get), but it's interesting how often non-baseball things play a part in a player's decision.
The Indians will probably sign a reliever (the latest rumors have them talking to LGFT Edward Mujica) but most of the lost value from the departures of Smith, Perez, and Albers will have to made up from internal options. And that's what teams need to do. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the best way to keep your bullpen effective is to continually swap out your relievers. There are few relievers (closers or otherwise) who have been effective for more than 3-4 years at a time. Today's dominant setup man is tomorrow's NRI, and tomorrow's NRI could be the day-after-tomorrow's dominant setup man. Matt Capps was once one of the best relievers in the game, but in 2011 he got hurt. The Indians signed last year, dealt with an injury-plagued season, and re-signed him again this year. He'll probably be in the bullpen in 2013 if healthy, and could be a 7th/8th inning guy again. CC Lee and Frank Herrmann could also fill setup roles.
Later in the Hoynes piece, he notes that the tender deadline is this Tuesday. There are nine players on the 40-man roster that are eligible for arbitration, and the only one that is in any real danger of being non-tendered is Lou Marson. Marson was the backup at the beginning of the season, and missed most of it with injuries. What's really concerning is that Marson's throwing arm (or more specifically, his shoulder) was why he missed most of the season. That combined with Yan Gomes' breakout season will probably lead to the Indians non-tendering him on Tuesday.
The other interesting decision related to Tuesday's deadline is Drew Stubbs. With the signing of David Murphy, I don't see how Stubbs fits on this roster, and because Stubbs could have value to clubs needing a center fielder, I think a trade with either a reliever or a prospect coming back makes a lot of sense. The Indians can trade Stubbs after the tender deadline, but they'd have a bit less leverage afterwards.
Speaking of trades, Michael Bourn keeps getting brought up. The Indians could theoretically deal Bourn and move Stubbs over to center, saving a lot of current and future salary dollars in the process, but still I don't think the Indians would do it. Bourn is a better offensive player than Stubbs, especially against right-handed pitching, and I think he's a better defensive player as well. A Bourn trade would downgrade the Indians in both aspects, with the only upside being salary relief that could be used to upgrade the rotation. I think that Stubbs is the outfielder that gets traded.
AL Central News
There has been some backlash over Jhonny Peralta getting a lucrative contract from the Cardinals. Peralta served the punishment spelled out in the CBA, and if you're unhappy that a team signed him to a big contract, make the punishment longer for first-time offenders. There will always be teams that will be willing to take a chance on a player coming back from suspension or other controversies if he's talented enough, and with the dearth of shortstops available on the market, the Cardinals were willing to take a chance on Peralta rather than stick with Pete Kozma for another season.
The architect of the Royals' 86-win 2013 campaign gets a two-year extension.
A look at the AL Central front offices and their remarkable stability. The last time an AL Central GM was actually kicked out of an organization was 2006, when Dayton Moore was hired to take the place of Allard Baird. Terry Ryan stepped down, but remained in the organization only to return, and Mark Shapiro and Ken Williams were given promotions within the same front office.
Two legendary people celebrated birthdays over the long weekend. Bo Jackson was the best athlete I've ever seen, and Vin Scully was (and still is) the best baseball play-by-play announcer ever.