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Sunday Roundup...A Day Late

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It looks like the local writers were out of town for the weekend as well (unless you count this), so here's some stuff at least tangentally related to the Indians from elsewhere:

Thome struggles with an uncertain future. Jim Salisbury, Phila. Inquirer

It's difficult to dislike Jim Thome. The man was beloved during his tenure with the Indians, which made what happened after the 2002 season extremely painful for both the fans and the team. The ownership got blamed not ponying up the money, Thome got blamed for lying about his intentions, and Shapiro got blamed for not keeping one of the most popular players in franchise history an Indian for life.

History will probably look on that contract much differently than it was viewed at the time, though. Three seasons after Thome left for Philadelphia, the Phillies are apparently trying to unload Thome and the final three years of his 6 year, $85M contract. Thome was injured during much of the 2005 season, and there are major concerns about his durability, especially if he remains in the National League.

The problem is that Thome has a complete no-trade clause, so he must give approval to any potential deal. And of course no team will be willing to take on the rest of Thome's contract.


Thome has clear parameters on where he would be willing to go, should the Phillies present him with a trade possibility.

It would have to be an American League team, where he could be a designated hitter in addition to a first baseman.

It would have to be to a team with a chance of winning, because his championship desires are as strong as ever.

And, it probably has to be to a city close to his Midwest roots. He grew up in Illinois and has an off-season home outside of Cleveland.

"I can't pinpoint a team yet," Thome said. "But it would have to be close to home. Cleveland would be a place. Would it be the only place? No. Chicago would be there."

What goes around comes around, eh?

Of the Midwestern AL teams, the Twins and Royals are in the same financial boat as the Indians, which means the Phillies would have to eat a large part of the contract. That leaves the Tigers and White Sox as teams the Phillies would prefer dealing with. Chicago would make the most sense, especially if free agents Paul Konerko and/or Frank Thomas jump to other teams.

Would the Indians deal for Thome? I don't really think it would make that much sense, getting beyond the financial aspects of the issue. Travis Hafner is pretty much a full-time DH as is, and if Thome can't play at first, you'd be keeping one or the other out of the lineup. And they aren't going to deal Hafner to make room for Thome.

Shealy burnishes his image with polished play in right field. Tracy Ringolsby, Rocky Mountain News

Ringolsby repeats what he's been saying for a while: the Rockies really want Josh Bard. Bard is a native of Colorado, and has been working out in Coors Field in the offseason.

A switch-hitter, Bard has had limited opportunities with the Indians because of Victor Martinez, who not only is the Indians' primary catcher but also their cleanup hitter. The Rockies, though, would like him to at least split catching time at Coors Field. He does work out at Coors Field in the off-season and has impressed Rockies officials with his take-charge approach and receiving abilities.

This could be a situation where the Indians could sell high on Bard. But they don't really have an in-house replacement (I doubt they'd make Garko the backup), so they'd have to sign a backup via free agency. Still, if they could land one of Colorado's 3B prospects or even Ryan Shealy, it might make sense to deal Josh. I guess it depends how much the Rockies like Bard, because I doubt the Indians will be looking to trade him; he still has a lot of value as a swith-hitting backup with good defensive skills.