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The Rainy Day Fund

Some interesting comments from Mark Shapiro:

And this could very well be a year in which the Indians dip into their prospect pool and make a high-profile trade for an immediate need.

"This is one year," Shapiro said, "that is an aberration."

This screams right fielder to me. First base (Garko) and third base (Marte) have young alternatives, but I don't see Gutierrez and Snyder being ready to produce this season. The Indians went after Brian Giles and Nomar Garciaparra, and after those two rebuffed the team, stopped looking for an outfielder on the free agent market. I'm assuming they'd still like to upgrade right field,  otherwise why go after Giles or Garciaparra?

Shapiro said his somewhat frugal offseason gives the organization the rare flexibility to make a trade for a player who has what might have been considered a prohibitive contract in years past.
"Whether it's in Spring Training or midseason, there are very few situations where we'd be financially limited from making a move," Shapiro said.

In other words, taking on a $5-6M contract won't be an issue if the player's good enough.

So who's going to be available? It's a bit early to say for certain, but here's a couple of outfielders that I've targeted: Luis Gonzalez, Moises Alou, and Carlos Lee. And I'm sure that as the season progresses, other names will pop up as teams go out of contention.