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Tribe Has Decisions To Make

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has a well thought out column up today regarding the possible market value of Jake Westbrook, Travis Hafner, and C.C. Sabathia.  Westbrook would hit free agency after this season; the other two after '08.

His take on Westbrook: four or five years at $12.5MM annually.  Westbrook's agent has yet to speak with Mark Shapiro.  Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon-Journal weighs in at five years and $15MM annually.

You can bet Travis Hafner wouldn't be underrated on the open market, even as a DH.  Pronk could hit 50 HR this year.  Hoynes thinks it would require five or six years at $12-17MM annually for him.  I think he would get at least $15MM for the AAV.  Teams that might need a DH in 2009: Baltimore, Toronto, L.A., Seattle, and Texas (where it all began).  Of the three, Hafner probably makes the least sense for Cleveland to sign long-term. Ocker sees him getting 100/6.

Sabathia is another guy whose best season could be 2007.  Carlos Zambrano's deal, whether reached now or after the '07 season, could serve as a framework.  Sure, Sabathia is heavy, but he's also young and very good.  I'm thinking five years, $75MM.  Ocker counters with $135MM over seven seasons.

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"Sabathia is another guy whose best season could be 2007."

He should be traded with Tim Drew to the Expos for Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens.

Don't rule out an NL team as a destination. Hafner anticipates to play 1 game at 1B every week this year. In which case, if he does the same next year or even increases his games played at 1b, he could become a viable option at 1b for some NL teams.

Jays have Frank THomas through 2008.

Meant to say that those teams might want a DH for '09.

Why would it make the least sense to sign Hafner Roto? I'd rather see Westbrook traded and have them try to lock up CC and Hafner. They have quite a few young arms in their system.

Because he the deal would cover his age 32-37 seasons and he has no defensive value.

Ankur-i completely agree. but i wouldnt rule out the team affording all three of them. westbrook seems like the most likely to take a hometown discount, but if they can talk to cc and hafner this year, maybe they can add 1 or 2 years to the original contract for security.

$135 million over 7 years for Sabathia? I like the kid, but over $19 million a year on average is crazy. If that's what it's going to cost, trade him. I'm not sure a 7 year deal for a big pitcher who seems to miss a few starts a year now is a good idea. I'd explore a Kemp/Billingsley package with the Dodgers. Then look at sending Kemp to FLA for another arm.

$12.5-15 million a year for Westbrook? A Lilly type deal seems fair to me, much more and he's overpriced too. I'd consider moving him too if it cost that much.

The Indians have pitchers coming up through the system, but not a 50 HR slugger. I'd lock up Hafner for awhile, I don't care if he plays D or not his bat is worth it.

C.C. is going to be much harder to replace than Hafner, gatling. And I love Hafner. I think he's one of baseball's best hitters. But you can never have enough pitching. The realistic talk around here (Cleveland) is that we can only realistically afford one of the big guys. If that's the case, I'm all for letting Westbrook walk, trading Hafner next year, and signing C.C.

nickjs21,

I can understand that viewpoint. But Sabathia isn't worth the kind of money apparently being mentioned, and I'm a big fan of his. If he's signed to a 7 year deal at the end of his current one, you're paying for his age 29-35 seasons, a majority of the time being outside of the average prime for a pitcher. Do you want to be paying him $20 million a year at age 34 or 35? I wouldn't.

I'd look at a five year deal starting in 2008, with a couple of option years. It's possible that you could get him for a decent price, but just trying to keep up with rising payrolls isn't such a good idea. Cleveland's not a small market team per se, but they're a mid market that really can't afford that kind of money I don't think. Flipping Sabathia for a couple of very good young SP is a good move.

Letting guys like Westbrook and Hafner go to sign Sabathia and similar moves would likely lead to rebuilding years in the future, like the 2002-2004(although you could say through 2006) seasons. For a team like Cleveland to stay competitive you're going to have to trade off talent and restock on the fly.

What holes do the Indians have (ie what are they looking for in a trade)?

They might need some ss help, I dont think Johnny Peralta is going to pan out. The need some bullpen help and some SP prospects(who doesnt). Between Barfield and Marte second and third are set. Garko and V-Mart have first, V-mart and Shoppach have catcher. Their outfield is going to be fine. Basically pitching help.

Though I think Adam Miller is going to a good #2, and Sowers is also going to be very good but not great.

i see us extending hafner this year...i think he will be the easiest and will take the hometown discount...he truly loves cleveland and just married a girl from cleveland so i dont think he wants to go

They should extend Hafner and Sabathia. Westbrook should only be signed as a backup plan if Sabathia wont.

Sabathia will likely get traded before the '08 trade deadline.

Don't listen to Sheldon Ocker - the guy is a complete idiot.

Westbrook & Hafner are the best bets for the Indians to re-sign.

I don't see them trading Sabathia. Ocker is an idiot yeah. I think Zambrano's deal is a good benchmark for Sabathia also. 7/135 is absolutely absurd. I could see Zambrano getting that on the open market, but not Sabathia. Who does he think the Indians are? The Yankees? If they offered Sabathia 5/80, I think he takes it. Maybe throw in a 6th year option too. I

If Hafner starts playing more 1st base and he proves he can do it decently, he'll price himself out of Cleveland. Not only will he a power hitting DH, but he'd be someone who can play first as well. So you'd essentially be marketing him as a power hitting DH/1B.

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