Thursday, January 4, 2007

Foulke signs a 1-year deal, and Tribe ups the ante to Mark Mulder

Keith Foulke is an Indian: Foulke passed his physical yesterday, and the only questions remaining was HOW MUCH and WHEN? We found out today. Foulke was given a 5 million dollar base salary, with 2 million dollars in incentives. Apparently, if Foulke "closes all year" according to his agent, he will make 7 million. To put that in perspective, Eric Gagne was offered a 1 year deal for 6 million, with incentives that could take it to 10? Is Gagne THAT much better than Foulke? Gagne certainly has much more upside, but Foulke IS healthy, and HAS pitched since his injury woes, and effectively. Let's not forget that Foulke has been a fireman of the year as recently as 4 years ago, saved game 7 of a world series 3 years ago, and is currently riding an 11+ inning scoreless streak. The interesting piece of this contract is that whatever incentives he earns THIS season becomes part of his BASE salary next season. It could be enough to get him to stay a second season if he pitches effectively this season. The other bonus, according to his agent, Dan Horwits, is his eagerness to be an Indian.
"Keith is very excited about coming to Cleveland...they pursued him very aggressively."
Now you can look at it how you want to, but when it's all said and done, it's very possible that Foulke waited on THE INDIANS, not the other way around.

So how does the bullpen shape up, now that it appears we've made our final bullpen move? I'm going to ASSUME that Cleveland is going to use a 12 man pitching staff, although the potential is there for 13. Why? All those wondering about and whining about all the multi-position players the Indians have, can now see a potential benefit of such a makeup. If it's 12 OR 13, it should look something like this:
Closer--Keith Foulke
setup/closer--Joe Borowski
setup/situational--Rafael Bettancourt
setup/situational--Roberto Hernandez
Spot Lefty/situational--Aaron Fultz
Middle Relief--Fernando Cabrera
Long and Middle Relief--Jason Davis
(13th Man)Either Lefty Juan Lara or Rafael Perez or wildcard Fausto Carmona if they want him close by.

Starter--CC Sabathia
Starter--Jake Westbrook
Starter--Cliff Lee
Starter--Paul Byrd
Starter--Jeremy Sowers

There are lots of odd men out, and still the potential for a big deal before or during spring training. It's my belief that the Indians really want Carmona in the rotation THIS year. I don't see him in the bullpen at all. If he makes the rotation, that gives the Tribe TON of flex, and could prompt a major deal involving either Lee or Westbrook, or in the happenstance that the Tribe signs Mark Mulder, BOTH players. I just don't see Jeremy Guthrie, one or both of the lefties, Tom Mastny, Carmona, Ed Mujica, Matt and Adam Miller (come July), among others, sitting in Buffalo (Brian Sikorski was designated for assignment to make room for Foulke). It does give us incredible depth to either deal, or make sure the Foulkes, Borowskis and Robertos stay healthy. Watch Jason Davis and Fernando Cabrera though. I believe Cleveland will keep them, rather than try and make them through waivers (out of options, and someone will claim them), and will give them a chance to not only make this club, but be a factor. There seems to be a bit of noise about Jason Davis' maturity level having improved drastically. We'll see if it pays off. His stuff is that good.

In other news on Thursday, the Tribe has upped their offer to Mark Mulder, according to the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. Both Cleveland and Texas have given Mulder an offer that will pay him 7.75 million in year one, and could go up to 10 million in year two. It appears as though Texas' offer is slightly better than Cleveland's. The interesting twist here appears to be St. Louis. They've only offered Mulder a one-year deal, but are now being given a chance to match the other deals. It's obvious that Mulder would like to stay. I just don't see St. Louis doing it. We shall see. I still think Texas is the front runner here, but Cleveland is still in the race.

Some final Tribe Notes: Cleveland also signed veteran infielders Luis Rivas and Keith Ginter to minor league deals. There's really not much to say here other than both players at one time or another were above average prospects for their organizations (Rivas-Twins, Ginter-Astros/Brewers). They will be given an opportunity to earn a spot on the team as a utility infielder. Rivas and Ginter both have good gloves. Ginter has more pop, having hit 19 dingers in 2004 in only 113 games. Rivas has had injury issues curtail a potentially blossoming career with Minnesota. In 2001, his first full season, Rivas had 31 Stolen bases. His issues, however, have been a bad stick, and a ton of K's. Either way, both have good gloves, and could be the answer at the utility role.

So we wait for Mulder, who is waiting on the Cardinals. I don't care if the players think the Indians should be their first choice...

just their best choice...

See you tonight with a bit on the NFL coaching carousels.


  1. I wonder how Foulke will do in Cleveland.

  2. Nice job of breaking it down so it's easy to see.

    Can you imagine how dominant and scary it will be to have Cabrera available for "middle relief"???...I mean he has the best stuff of any Tribe pitcher (including Adam Miller), and if he can harness it, our bullpen will be unreal.

    In fact, if they all stay healthy and pitch up to their potential, I think this bullpen will be the biggest strength of the team

    and yes....I do mean even better than the offense.

    It has to be considered that way if everything goes to plan....doesn't it?

    March and April CANNOT come soon enough...

    Hang a Buckeye football banner next week...

    Hang a Buckeye basketball banner the first week of April...

    kick off the Indians championship baseball season....

    and then watch the Cavs run to the NBA Finals...

    Does it get any better then that? Honestly.

    Well....if you excuse our ugly cousin - the Browns that is....

    but I know that's no concern of yours....or at least you SAY that.

    Thanks for the write up - I enjoyed it.