The Indians have had a quiet offseason thus far, with December's one-year pact with John Axford and a trade that netted them reliever Josh Outman in exchange for Drew Stubbs being their biggest moves. In a reader mailbag column, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer writes that the Tribe's estimated 2013 attendance figure of 1.6 million — second-to-last in the majors — could be a factor in the club's quiet offseason. Fans might see more activity from the Cleveland front office if attendance returned to the 2.5 million to 3 million range that the Indians formerly drew, Hoynes says. Here's more from around the American League:
- Jeff Sullivan examined the importance of rotation depth in a piece for Fangraphs. In 2013, teams got an average of 32 starts from pitchers who didn't rank among their top-five most heavily used starters. Sullivan notes that a pitcher like Ryan Dempster, who's been the subject of trade discussions as the odd man out in the Red Sox rotation, could end up being valuable for Boston when one factors in expected rates of starter attrition.
- A trip to the postseason can exhaust a pitcher, former Cy Young Award-winner Orel Hershiser tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Red Sox pitchers Jon Lester and Koji Uehara each reached career highs in innings as they continued to throw into October last season. Lauber reports that Red Sox personnel have urged some of the club's pitchers to alter their offseason routines because of the higher workloads.
- The Boston Herald's John Tomase sizes up the Red Sox's AL East competitors now that several have brought in new talent.
- Yesterday, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com listed the six worst contracts on the books for the Yankees. Today, he named Brett Gardner (arbitration eligible), Alfonso Soriano (one year with the Cubs paying all but $5MM of his 2014 salary), David Robertson (arbitration eligible), Ivan Nova (arbitration eligible), Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16MM), and Brian McCann (five years, $85MM) as the team's best bargains. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects arbitration salaries of $4MM for Gardner, $5.5MM for Robertson, and $2.8MM for Nova.
- It's time for the Orioles to spend, and starting pitching stands out as the team's greatest area of need, CBS Sports' Dayn Perry writes. Signing Masahiro Tanaka would provide the club with a front-of-the-rotation arm as it prepares for another grueling season in the AL East. Kendrys Morales is also a good fit for the Orioles' DH slot, Perry opines.
- The Blue Jays have been quiet so far this offseason, but Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star sees five reasons for being optimistic about 2014.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.