Sunday, December 17, 2006
Tribe after Mulder?
Well, we've been focused on relievers, and power hitting outfielders. In the meantime, Mark Shapiro has been calling pitcher about the possibility of playing in Cleveland. Mulder is an experiment for sure. He's coming off an injury plagued season, was shut down, and he had shoulder surgery. The BIG question with Mulder is when will he start playing. Some are saying in late July, Mulder says a bit earlier than that.
The bottom line right now is location for Mulder. He won't say more than that, so your guess is as good as mine. Does that mean he wants to play in a location that has nice weather? Does that mean he wants to play in a location that has a chance to win? Does that mean he wants to play in a location where he feels wanted? I'm not sure where Cleveland settles in in any of those locations, but I'm pretty sure that this news is just Shapiro keeping the doors open on EVERYONE.
Mulder could certainly help, and open up the door around the trade deadline to deal a Paul Byrd, or even one of your younger pitchers if you needed a part. Other than that, he's not a high need, and will command a pretty high salary. With that being said, Mulder is ONLY looking for a 2 year deal so that he can get the arm healthy, and have a year and a half to play for his next contract. Cleveland has done this before (Aaron Boone) and could do it again.
I'm not a huge fan of Mulder because of the arm situation, but if you can get him for a 2 year, 12 million dollar deal or so, you take the risk. At most, you get a #1 guy cheap.
So watch the waiver wire. I'm sure we'll see Texas, San Francisco or St. Louis signing him over the next few days. But you just never know.
One last thing about the Tribe: I've noticed that several other teams have been making small deals for relievers. Brendan Donnelly from Anaheim went to Boston. Boston gets a former all-star who really had a good season, in particular after the break. Donnelly was 6-0 with a 3.94 ERA in 62 games last season, going 5-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 games after the All-Star break and holding opponents scoreless in 19 of his last 21 appearances. He was 23-8 with a 2.87 ERA and four saves in 276 appearances with the Angels. Not to shabby, and the Sox only gave up some 27 year old lefty out of their minors. Andrew Sisco was dealt to the Chicago White Sox for a backup first basemen. Sisco's numbers sucked last year, but he's not yet 24, is 6'10", had a good rookie year, and can project as a starter.
In the meantime, Cleveland has really done nothing since the signing of the three arms. The longer this goes on, the more I'm convinced that Cleveland needs one more guy at the back end of the rotation just as insurance. Perhaps they are waiting for the talks to blow up with Mike Gonzalez between the Yanks and the Braves. Perhaps they are cooking up something for Shields. I'm not sure, but I do hope that something is done. With the Angels trading away Donnelly, Shields is probably officially off the market. What will happen? Maybe nothing, or maybe a young guy DOES step up. Who knows, but Shapiro needs one more move. We'll see if he does it.