Indians moving slow with free agents
GM Shapiro expects Winter Meetings to heat things up
CLEVELAND -- In setting their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, the Indians left one spot open for a potential acquisition through trade or free agency.But they know they're going to need more than that. "We're probably going to have to take a couple guys off [the 40-man, eventually]," general manager Mark Shapiro said Friday. "We're going to need multiple spots to conduct our offseason business." Business has been slow, where the Indians are concerned, thus far in the Hot Stove season. Shapiro said the Indians, whose primary needs are a closer and an infielder at either second or third base, have not made any formal offers to any free agents. "Nothing's changed," Shapiro said. "We understand our needs. We're still trying to get a handle on our finances. We're trying to do the best we can to fill the areas we can." Shapiro takes relative comfort in the fact that this, more than most years, is a good year to be looking for a closer. Though Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes will most assuredly be out of the Indians' price range and Kerry Wood might command a deal longer than the Indians can stomach, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Isringhausen and Brandon Lyon all might be legitimate options for the Indians. And the trade market could potentially produce the Mariners' J.J. Putz, the Rockies' Huston Street, the Orioles' George Sherrill, the Astros' Jose Valverde and the Pirates' Matt Capps. Hoffman is the free-agent closer to whom the Indians have been most closely linked, primarily because of the relationship the Tribe already established with the all-time saves leader in the winter after the 2005 season. Hoffman considered signing with the Indians that winter before ultimately deciding to stay in San Diego, but his relationship with the Padres has now officially been severed.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.