MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince opened up his reader mailbag to answer a number of questions about the Tribe and other AL Central topics…
- Jermaine Dye's right-handed bat "would have been a better fit in this lineup" than Russell Branyan, Castrovince notes, but Cleveland needed a first baseman and Dye is a defensive liability in the outfield.
- The trade for, and subsequent DFA of, Brian Bixler is described as "wasted energy" by Castrovince. However, he notes that Jesus Brito (who the Tribe dealt to Pittsburgh for Bixler) is "a little old" to still be in the low minors, in spite of his strong numbers last season.
- Castrovince discusses Joe Mauer's contract extension and says that it "was a special circumstance" given Mauer's Minnesota roots and the fact that the Twins could afford the deal thanks to their new ballpark. He also warns that the deal might not look so good when Target Field stops being a major revenue stream, such as what happened to the Indians after the novelty of Progressive Field (then Jacobs Field) wore off.
- Along those same lines, Castrovince notes that the Tribe didn't have the benefit of a new ballpark to generate revenue when they attempted to re-sign C.C. Sabathia to a long-term deal before the 2008 season.
- Castrovince reports the Tribe didn't re-sign LHP Juan Lara, as they have the last two springs to minor-league deals. The team did allow Lara to train at their Dominican Republic facilities over the winter. Lara hasn't pitched in the majors since 2007 due to a car accident suffered in November of that year, but he returned to appear in 15 games for Cleveland's Arizona Rookie League team in 2009.