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Road Blocks Foils Thome's Return. Paul Hoynes, PD

Hoynes makes the case for not dealing for Thome:

Such a trade could have put the Indians in a two-way jam. They would have had to go out and replace Crisp because there's no comparable outfielder in the system. Then, they may have been forced to trade DH Travis Hafner if Thome couldn't stay healthy enough to play first base. Thome has a no-trade clause and it's tough to manage a club with a restricted payroll with two designated hitters.

Also mentioned in the article is that the Phillies wanted Coco Crisp, Chuck Lofgren, and another prospect. In other words, the equivalent of what the White Sox eventually gave up.

Getting beyond the financial aspects, acquiring Thome wouldn't have made sense from a baseball standpoint. They would have had to acquire at least one outfielder, and that's if they went with Casey Blake in right next year. And this is assuming that Thome would be healthy enough to play first base; if he could only DH, that means either he or Travis Hafner would be sitting on the bench.

If it wasn't obvious before, the Indians are probably going to sign a closer:

The Cubs' signing of free agent Bobby Howry means the Indians will receive the Cubs second-round pick and an additional pick between the first and second rounds of next year's amateur draft. The second-round pick could become a third-round pick if the Cubs sign a higher-ranking free agent than Howry.

Howry last week signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Cubs. The only way the Indians would have offered Howry that kind of deal is if they wanted him to close. They weren't ready to do that.

"The closer market still hasn't evolved enough," Shapiro said.

I would guess that Tom Gordon is the next target to fill the closer's role, given the prior interest in him.

View from Pluto. Terry Pluto, ABJ

Pluto restates Hoynes' argument about Thome:

Would you have traded Coco Crisp and one of the Indians' top prospects from the Class A level for Thome? And would you also agree to pay Thome $8 million annually the next three years, not even knowing if he could play first base? That was the question facing the Indians -- and you know the answer.

Moving onto the pitching issues:

The Indians are talking to Scott Elarton. He is represented by a firm owned by Ron Shapiro, the father of Indians' General Manager Mark Shapiro. That doesn't guarantee that Elarton will return, but it gives the Indians a chance. Ron Shapiro and his staff have a history of making deals to keep players in their comfort zones, and Elarton really liked the Indians.

How wacky is the free agent market when Scott Elarton giving the Indians a chance to bring him back is perceived as a good thing? Even if Kevin Millwood is gone, as alluded to by Pluto, I really wouldn't feel great about signing Elarton and letting a couple youngsters fight it out for the 5th spot in the rotation. There has to be better options out there.

New TV deal in works for Tribe. Sheldon Ocker, ABJ

Even when the Indians weren't drawing people to Jacobs Field, the ratings on Fox Sports Ohio were very high. So there's been quite a bit of interest to secure the rights to broadcast Indians baseball. And surprisingly enough, FSN is supposedly out of the running:

That still isn't clear. On the one hand, word off the street is that FSN Ohio, which owns the current contract, has dropped out of the bidding. The new players are Ohio News Network, ONN to those who receive the statewide cable outlet, and WKYC-TV, Channel 3.

Both entities appear to be bidding on the entire package, about 155 games. If Channel 3 wins out, it probably will air only a handful of games, maybe one a week, and sell the rest to ONN and maybe even to FSN.

I've lived in Ohio my entire life, and I've never heard of ONN. Of course, I've been with DirecTV for the past five or so years, and apparently ONN is only on cable providers. Hopefully if ONN does win the bidding, I won't be stuck listening to the radio next spring while they negotiate with DirecTV and the other satellite providers.

I do like the fact that the Indians may go back to free TV, though.