2013 Contract Issues: Cleveland Indians

The Indians are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (5)

  • Derek Lowe - The 38-year-old has added value for the Indians by keeping the ball on the ground. But he's striking out just 2.3 batters per nine innings, which could scare some potentially interested teams this offseason.
  • Grady Sizemore - Sizemore, now on the 60-day disabled list, in on track to miss more games than he plays in for the third consecutive season. If he returns to Cleveland for 2013, it's hard to imagine another $5MM guarantee. Perhaps an incentive-based minor league deal would work if there's interest on both sides.
  • Casey Kotchman - The Indians could use more offense at first base; the Twins are the lone AL team getting a lower OPS from their first basemen.
  • Johnny Damon - There's definitely a chance Damon will lose his roster spot before the offseason if the hits don't start falling in.
  • Jose Lopez - Lopez has been hitting since having his contract purchsed from the minor leagues. He won't obtain a qualifying offer this offseason, nor will any of his teammates.

Contract Options (3)

  • Travis Hafner: $13MM club option with a $2.75MM buyout. Hafner is drawing walks and hitting for some power, so he's a useful designated hitter. But $13MM from a small-market team for a 35-year-old whose prime years are behind him? I expect the Indians to decline the option.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: $5.75MM club option with a $1MM buyout. Jimenez's ERA is over 5.00 in 20 starts with the Indians and he's walking more batters than he's striking out this year. The Indians could decline the option if he doesn't resolve his control issues, even though it would mean giving up on a pitcher who was supposed to lead the rotation for years.
  • Roberto Hernandez: $9MM club option. Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, hasn't thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues this year. Issues surrounding his age and identity have sidelined him, so it'd be a surprise if the Indians made him a $9MM commitment this offseason.

Arbitration Eligible (12)

The Indians face a large and potentially expensive arbitration class. Perez and Masterson could each earn $6MM or more their second times through arbitration. Choo would earn even more if his power returns. LaPorta's playing at Triple-A and there's no guarantee he will accrue enough service time to qualify for arbitration by next winter. Duncan, Accardo and Slowey could all be considered non-tender candidates.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Indians have committed $11MM to next year's team, which is less than every team we've looked at except the Padres (they're also at $11MM). If Cleveland's ownership matches the 2012 payroll of $65MM, GM Chris Antonetti will have flexibility to sign, trade for and extend players next winter.

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15 Comments on "2013 Contract Issues: Cleveland Indians"

3 years 3 months ago

Lowe will not keep up this pace, trust me

3 years 3 months ago

Way to go out on a limb and say that Lowe won’t win 20 games and finish with a 2.15 ERA.

3 years 3 months ago

I look at Cleveland, and they just make me sad.  They have been scratching out wins on sheer guile.  I don’t expect it to continue.  There is a feeling that they keep bringing players and pitchers with the same skill set to fill the same holes.  They end up with the same problems, because they don’t solve them by having the same type of players around.  Their fan base has eroded to the point where no one cares and they aren’t going to go to a game no matter what.  Then they turned around and cashed in their premium pitching prospects on Ubaldo.  His pitching has been problematic for almost a year now.   It may get better, I don’t think it’s going to be with Cleveland. 

My big question for the Indians would be what do they do with their portion of revenue sharing?  

3 years 3 months ago

 It’s sad that no one goes to the games. Regardless of how they are in first place, they are there and the fans should support them.

I know Pirates fans would literally kill for a contender and I would go to at least a game a week. They are trying even though they’ve failed a lot so far. It was a gamble to trade for Ubaldo and while there was always a risk his control would come back to bite him, he had ace potential and that cannot be denied. Derek Lowe couldn’t strike out my grandmother but he’s still pitching very well and they are surely getting their money’s worth from him.

They just need to address the revolving door at 1b/3B and cut ties with Grady Siezemore once and for all and they may improve.

3 years 3 months ago

Hafner hit a bomb last night on a changeup and looked bad on the changeup prior to it. Wasn’t really impressive with his swings at all in the game, except for that HR to RF and curious how Tribe fans see him.

He also was moving very slow and announcer Manning alluded to it.. Is he hurt I take it and just gutting it out by playing at all?

3 years 3 months ago

I can’t see the Indians not picking up the option on Jimenez’s contract, no matter how much he struggles.  The $4.75 mil that they’d save by buying him out is less than Brad Penny made last year to be a #5 starter.

3 years 3 months ago

Not to mention Ubaldo isn’t even a free agent if his option is declined. He won’t have 6 years of service time so the Tribe would have to either offer arby or non-tender him.  As ‘bad’ as Ubaldo has been, he is at worst an innings eater.  Zero chance his option is declined….which is the same chance of Hafner’s being picked up.

3 years 3 months ago

Minor error…

Chris Perez will be heading to arbitration for his 3rd time not 2nd. He was a super two.

3 years 3 months ago

Carmona/Hernandez renegotiated his contract with the Indians and the Tribe holds a $6 million dollar option with him next year, not $9 million.

3 years 3 months ago

Over 23,000 at the noon game on Thursday, including me. The crowd was into it and they were not disappointed. As long as the Tribe plays solid baseball, the fans will come. Trust me, they will come. This town desperately wants a winner, it just takes a while for the Doubting Thomases to figure out that this is a good team.

3 years 3 months ago

 Keep Ubaldo, Sipp, Chris Perez, Masterson and Choo.  Possibly laPorta if he doesnt get enough time to file for arb.  Everyone else on the list can go.  I am a huge Tribe fan and used to love Hafner, Grady and Carmona.  However, baseball is a what have you done for me lately type of game and none of them have been doing well enough to come back, at least not at anywhere close to what they are making now.  Hafner at 5 mill and the other 2 at around 2 million “Flier” each then I would be ok with that.  I wouldn’t mind seeing guys like Accardo and Slowley stay for organizational depth.  Hanahan is also a fan favorite, I just see him better suited as a utility role.

3 years 3 months ago

not sure why cleveland is “sad.”  i mean, yes they dont have the payroll of the yankees or redsox or tigers, but they have an amazing core of young and very talented players.  look at shin soo choo, adrubal cabrera, jason kipnis, carlos santana, justin masterson, vinnie pestano and chris perez.  all of those players will be all stars at some point in their career.  whats awesome is that they also have a lot of players playing over their heads as well such as michael brantley, jack hanahan, derek lowe, jeanmar gomez, and joe smith.  the indians find ways of winning baseball with a good core.  instead of ripping on this team imagine how good they would be if you fill in a few of their holes with veterans like carlos beltran, jeff francouer, josh willingham.  will the indians compete come september, probably not, but they are playing way over their heads with only a few components and players that havent peaked yet.
try doing just a tiny bit of research before you rip and entire organization and its fans…

3 years 3 months ago

Casual Indians fans, at least. There are many up here that hate his guts and want him gone.

3 years 3 months ago

You are the only person I’ve seen that “hates his guts”.  Grady was a great player for the Indians, only a non-fan would hate him now.

Is frustrating and won’t be sad to see him go, but hating a guy that’s giving the Tribe so much is ridiculous.

3 years 3 months ago

I think AKAwfc2008 left out that Babs can’t let his ex go because Grady stole her