"You're so money" (but you don't have any of it)
The Indians feel confident Jhonny Peralta can make the switch to third base (he’s been playing there in the Dominican Winter League), but it’s still their first preference not to go that route.
But when you look at the market for third basemen, it’s pretty clear the Indians will have to get creative or tolerate plenty of risk (i.e. Joe Crede’s back) if they’re going to fill the hot corner with somebody from the outside. And second base is looking pretty dry, too, at the moment.
So… how about a shortstop?
The Indians were interested in Rafael Furcal, until it appeared he was on the verge of signing a four-year deal with the A’s. But Furcal reportedly turned down the A’s offer (which, I’m told, was actually three years, not four), which fuels speculation that the Indians might get involved again. That’s merely speculation for now, as GM Mark Shapiro has yet to meet with Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, here at the Winter Meetings. They will, however, undoubtedly talk at some point. But if Furcal is really looking for four years times $12 million, I don’t think he’ll get it from the Tribe.
One rumor that sprouted up today linked the Indians to Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada. I wouldn’t get too emotionally invested in that rumor. Shapiro shook his head when it was brought up. And with Tejada due to make $13 million next season, the Astros would have to eat a large chunk of his contract — a scenario that seems unlikely.
The basic theme that came out of today’s session with Shapiro is that the Indians only have the financial resources to add one “impact” player at either closer, infielder or in the starting rotation. They can certainly fill those three spots, but it’s likely that only one of the acquisitions will be of the true, impact variety. And right now, it’s quite clear the Tribe’s priority in the impact department is at closer — a position that, as I wrote earlier, likely won’t be filled until the Mets knock down the first free-agent domino.