One-armed bandits crashing all your hopes down the drain

las-vegas.jpgA belated greetings from the Winter Meetings at the swanky Bellagio in Las Vegas — a ridiculous event in a ridiculous city. Quite a happy marriage, if you ask me.

Vegas is known as Sin City, but, thus far, my only sin was betting Alabama plus-10.

Last night, a group of us scribes hit up the lovely (and by “lovely,” I mean… not so lovely) Imperial Palace, which is world renowned for its “dealertainers.” These are basically blackjack and poker dealers who resemble celebrities. But “resemble” is a very loose term here. If the dealer has one characteristic in common with said celebrity, he or she gets the gig. The woman portraying Pat Benatar, for example, had brown hair. So… she’s Pat Benatar. The woman playing Gwen Stefani had blonde hair, so… she’s Gwen Stefani. The guy playing Michael Jackson is Asian. I guess you get the idea.

What’s that? The Indians? Ah, yes, the Indians. Almost forgot about them.

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: The Mets control the pace of the Indians’ closer search. Because until New York lands its ninth-inning man, the market will not be established for everybody else, the Tribe included.

So, on that front, it’s worth mentioning here that the Mets have reportedly offered Francisco Rodriguez a three-year deal. They are also talking to Trevor Hoffman, who is believed to be here today, and Brian Fuentes.

Speaking of three-year contracts, the Dodgers are believed to have stepped up their offer to Casey Blake, giving him the third-year guarantee he is seeking. If that’s the case, Blake will undoubtedly be wearing the L.A. blue again in ’09, and the Indians can stop entertaining the possibility of having him back.

Not a whole heck of a lot else happening here right now, from the Indians’ perspective. And until the Mets knock down that domino, it might remain that way. But I’m meeting with GM Mark Shapiro in a little bit and will post more after that.

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