The Indians have talked to Scott Boras about two of his clients, starters Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Tribe are looking for starting pitching help, but as Hoynes notes, the club is hampered by its financial situation.
"It doesn't really matter how much interest the Indians have in a free-agent pitcher…it's all about how much interest the pitcher has in the Indians," Hoynes writes. "As for the second prong, unless ownership is overcome by an unusual circumstance, the interested pitcher would have to sign a minor-league contract."
Chen's solid 2010 season figures to earn him a Major League contract somewhere, but we haven't heard much buzz about the veteran southpaw other than some mutual interest between he and the Royals, though not for anything more than a one-year deal. If Chen opened himself up to the possibility of a minor league contract, you'd think that would notably expand his market, and the Indians would likely get outbid.
Millwood might be the more realistic option for the Indians, though he has been connected with the Royals, Rockies and Yankees this winter. Cleveland and Kansas City would give Millwood the best chance at regular innings and it would be easier for Millwood to rebuild his value for a future contract if he wasn't pitching in hitter-friendly ballparks like Coors Field or Yankee Stadium. Millwood pitched for the Tribe in 2005 and delivered a league-best 2.86 ERA in 192 innings before signing a five-year, $60MM free agent contract with Texas.
As for other free agent starters, Hoynes reports the Tribe's interest in former Indian Bartolo Colon "has cooled considerably." Hoynes also says the Indians were in contact with Brad Penny before the right-hander signed with Detroit.