Thursday, December 28, 2006

Indians Still THE favorite for Foulke--Offer Made to Mulder

Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians offical website confirmed what we already knew, Keith Foulke had made the Tribe the "favorites" in the race for his services. It appears as though the Tribe are getting Foulke at the right time. He is obviously fairly confident in what he can do THIS season, as he seems to be passing on other, multi-year deals, for the Tribe deal for 2007, with a mutual option for 2008.
Horwits said Foulke is intrigued by the Indians because he views them as a club capable of a playoff run. The reliever is more interested in a one-year deal than a multi-year one. "He prefers to have some flexibility after '07," Horwits said.
He apparently wants to use this season to set his value for next season. That can only be a good thing for the Tribe. The only worry yesterday was that there are still other clubs involved. Any time you have a deal that is apparently done, and there's a bunch of waiting involved, it can't be a good thing in most cases. As always, you ponder all those players in the past that have used Cleveland to up their value across the league.

The Plain Dealer, however, answered all of these questions for us today.
The deal is contingent on Foulke's physical exam - which he is yet to take - and the Indians determining the amount of risk and dollars they're willing to invest in him. Foulke, 34, had knee, right elbow and back problems the last two seasons with Boston.
Again, it appears as thought the deal is done, as was Dellucci's, and we're just waiting for the physical. Considering Foulke's end of the season last year, I doubt there will be any issues with the doctors. The deal won't be official until Monday or Tuesday of next week, once Foulke makes it into town to take his physical with his team. The New Year could be a role player in all of this, so don't be surprised if it doesn't happen until Wednesday.

In the same Plain Dealer article, it makes note that the Indians have officially offered Mark Mulder a 2 year deal.
Shapiro is waiting to hear from Greg Clifton, agent for Mark Mulder. The injured left-hander should be close to making a decision on which team he'll sign with. It's believed the Indians have offered Mulder, who has a career record of 103-57, a two-year deal. He's recovering from surgery on his left shoulder and probably won't be able to make more than 25 starts this season. Arizona, Texas, St. Louis and San Diego are also interested in Mulder. The Indians are using their good reputation for rehabbing pitchers and sending them on their way to bigger and better things in negotiations. If they signed Mulder, and he returned to past form, it would allow Shapiro to consider trading a starting pitcher. Jake Westbrook is eligible for free agency after the 2007 season, but the Indians may approach him about a new deal before opening day.
I know there are questions about Mulder, but when you see he's only 29, and has 50 more wins than losses, you can do nothing but hope they sign him. I keep thinking back to Kevin Millwood, and thinking the season he had here. Mulder is twice the pitcher as Millwood, the only question is health. Many say he can be trouble in the clubhouse, but I keep trying to explain to most that when you are as good as Mulder is, and you are having arm trouble, losing velocity and control, and you are a competitor, it's hard to not only admit your arm is hurting, but I'm sure it can play havoc with your psyche. I think what you'll get from Mulder once he's healthy is nothing but fantastic. Again, Mulder, if he signs with the Tribe, will be looking towards next year as being his statement year. With his pal Zito scoring 126 million, you know Mulder has a BUNCH of reasons to come back healthy. Imagine a healthy Mulder and Sabatia at the top of this rotation. YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT A WORLD SERIES ROTATION? It's a good gamble, and I hope we get him.

As far as Jake Westbrook goes, my hope is that he's staying as well. If Mulder pans out, Westbrook would be the only righty in the starting rotation. He is the perfect pitcher to place in between CC and Mulder. Even without Mulder, Westbrook is a certifiable #2/#3 pitcher. He does nothing but good for your team. I would prefer Cliff Lee to be the trade bait if Mulder pans out, because I think when you have a towering young lefty with good big league experience, you can get a ton for him at the deadline. Then, you look towards next year, if all pans out, you have CC, MM, JW, Jeremy Sowers and perhaps Carmona or Miller or someone we haven't seen. Without Mulder, you keep Lee of course, but signing Westbrook becomes a top priority. IMO, you do it now. With that being said, I found this on Matt Cerrone's Metsblog. With Zito gone, the Mets are absolutely starving for a starter. This could mean a couple of things.

1. Mulder's $$$$ just went up.


2. Mulder signing with the Indians would make Lee and Westbrook, or even Paul Byrd EXTREMELY valuable to the Mets. (I'm getting these visions of Milledge and Pelphrey)

I don't think the Foulke signing ends our moves. As a matter of fact, it may just extend them.

Look folks, BELIEVE THIS, the Indians are players again. Shapiro has found a niche in all this insanity. He signs his minor league products long term, and uses them as a foundation. Since Cleveland is one of the best developers of talent, this works. He goes after pitchers with a fantastic sales pitch. Come here and give us a year or two. We'll win, and you can go somewhere else and make more afterwards. No, it's not signing guys to 4 and 5 year deals, and insuring an INDIAN DYNASTY, but if you become THE team, guys will start saying, "call the Indians." It's masterful. We don't know if it will pay off this year, but again, I'm going to ask you all one question.

Name a team that addressed all it's needs, potentially got a surplus of players, and didn't break the budget to do it? Quit selling yourselves on the name players. They haven't been banking in Cleveland since...well...NEVER! Don't expect it to start now, with the ownership that we have. Just thank your lucky stars that John Hart set up this team with solid successors. Shapiro is the best in the business. It scares me to think of what he could do with a bankroll.

So the waiting game continues. Hopefully, I haven't made all these Foulke and Mulder posts for nothing.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if Shapiro would be successful if given a fat wallet to play with. Since he has to work under stringent guidelines he is very creative. Without that pressure, I wonder. Probably very successful as well. Nice post. I am getting excited for baseball season since football is sputtering to an end.

    PS - I'm back.