The front office perspective on the Lee deal
Following GM Mark Shapiro’s conference call with reporters, allow me to try to sum up the front office’s stance on the Cliff Lee trade in
100 250 words or less:
The Indians decided that even with Lee on board, they had little chance of contending next season. That’s because ownership told the front office that it will not commit any significant dollars to club construction in the offseason.
Knowing this, the Tribe explored all offers for Lee and accepted a package that includes three players who have the potential to impact the Major League club in 2010 and one 18-year-old with enormous upside. The Indians feel Carlos Carrasco is very close to Major League ready, Lou Marson can be, at worst, an average everyday catcher in the big leagues, and Jason Donald complements Asdrubal Cabrera and Luis Valbuena well up the middle. Donald will likely compete with Valbuena for the second base job next spring. As for Jason Knapp, the Indians are enamored with his big, strong body and his raw stuff.
With Lee and his $9 million 2010 option off the books, the Indians might have some money to commit to offseason construction, but Shapiro said he has no idea how much. The Indians are not ruling out a miraculous run at contention next year, but with the depth of talent from Double-A up to the big leagues, they feel they can put together a sustained run of contention starting in 2011.
That’s the gist of it, from Shapiro’s perspective. And though Martinez wouldn’t comment on Victor Martinez directly, this trade makes a lot more sense if he’s on deck on the trading block.
Obviously, there’s a lot more where that came from, including comments from Shapiro, Lee, Francisco, Martinez and others, as well as the news that Fausto Carmona is rejoining the rotation and Trevor Crowe, not Matt LaPorta, is taking Francisco’s spot in the outfield. You can find all that information and analysis at Indians.com in the coming hours.