Indians Notes: Payroll, Jimenez, Giambi, Perez

Indians GM Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona had an end-of-the-year roundup session with the media, including Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.  Here are some of the hot stove-related items…

  • It isn't yet clear if next season's Tribe payroll will be greater or lower than 2013's $80.6MM number, though Antonetti isn't worried.  "That's information that we'll get a little later in the offseason when we find out exactly what our payroll will be," Antonetti said. "But that's not the defining thing for us. It's how we build a the best team and I'm confident we'll have the resources we need to build a contending team again next year."
  • Pitching seems to be the top priority for the club this winter.  When asked if the Indians would go after a middle-of-the-order hitter, Francona said, “It depends on how much pitching we have.”
  • Ubaldo Jimenez hasn't made a decision about voiding the $8MM option the club has on his services for next season, Antonetti said.  Unsurprisingly, Antonetti said the Tribe would be happy to have Jimenez back in 2014.  MLBTR's Steve Adams wrote a Free Agent Profile on Jimenez last month.
  • Both men want Jason Giambi to return to the Indians next season, either as a player, coach or possibly both.  Giambi has said he wishes to keep playing, so it seems likely the two sides will work something out.
  • The Indians will look at Chris Perez's whole career with the team as "the lens" for his arbitration case, Antonetti said, rather than Perez's poor end to the 2013 season.  Perez earned $7.3MM last season and will get a raise through the arbitration process, so there have been rumors that the Tribe will look to deal or even non-tender the right-hander.
  • Sandy Alomar Jr. will take over as first base coach from Mike Sarbaugh next season, a move that Francona stressed was not a demotion from Alomar's previous job as bench coach.  Brad Mills (Francona's long-time bench coach with the Red Sox) will take over as Cleveland's bench coach, while Sarbaugh completes the shuffle by becoming the new third base coach.
  • Antonetti didn't comment on whether or not the Cubs have asked for permission to interview first base coach Sandy Alomar for their vacant managerial position.  Alomar was a candidate for the Cubs job in 2011 before they hired Dale Sveum, and he's been linked to their current vacancy.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall is still the incumbent third baseman, though Bastian suspects the club will look to improve themselves at the hot corner this winter.
  • The Indians made the playoffs despite subpar seasons from Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, their two big free agent signings from last offseason.  Francona and Antonetti felt that the two players may have been pressing in a new environment, plus Swisher was affected by a shoulder injury and Bourn was adjusting to the American League.

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