Closer to a closer?

If the Mets do indeed lock up Francisco Rodriguez with a reported three-year, $37 million deal, the Indians will be in a better position to fill their closing vacancy on the open market.

The Tribe met with Pat Rooney, the agent for free-agent closer Kerry Wood, on Monday at the Bellagio. The Indians also remain interested in Brian Fuentes, who had been seeking a three-year, $30 million commitment but whose price might be dropping in this market saturated with ninth-inning arms. And Trevor Hoffman is obviously still on their radar, as well. Hoffman might be the most logical of the three, because he could probably be signed to a one- or two-year deal.

When it comes to trade possibilities, the Seattle Times reported that the Indians are not contenders for J.J. Putz because of their preference for signing a free agent. That seems a reasonable rationale, given the Indians’ longstanding reluctance toward dealing their young prospects

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