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Cleveland Indians Sunday News and Notes: November 2, 2014

Now that we are officially into the offseason, it is time to think about offseason stuff, which is pretty awesome.

Carlos Santana and virtually all the rest of the players on the roster are not eligible for free agency.
Carlos Santana and virtually all the rest of the players on the roster are not eligible for free agency.
David Maxwell

Indians News

Does roster stability give Cleveland Indians edge in AL Central? Hey, Hoynsie! | cleveland.com

The headline to "Hey Hoynsie" highlights what the Indians' situation is heading into the offseason. With the Indians picking up Mike Aviles' option, the only free agent among players that ended the year on the roster is Jason Giambi, and he was very much an afterthought on this past year's club. That means every important player on the roster will return to the club if the Indians don't trade them. Meanwhile, the AL Central playoff clubs (Royals and Tigers) have several major free agents among their key players. Detroit in particular will have some tough decisions, as both Victor Martinez and Max Scherzer, integral to the Tigers' 2014 run, are now on the open market.

But even though the Indians don't have to make a move to field a competitive team next season doesn't mean that they won't. They'll probably shy away from major free agent signings because they're pretty close to their expected payroll limit as things are right now, and they don't have any major hole on their roster, just areas that could be upgraded. For instance, David Murphy will be the right fielder on Opening Day in 2015, but I'm the front office crew will take a long look at available right fielders on the trade market.

Remember that heading into the All-Star Break, the Indians were poised to lose both Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson, two players that were key pieces of their 2013 playoff run, to free agency, and by trading them in July found replacements within the organization in the form of Jose Ramirez and Carlos Carrasco. Had they help onto those two, we might be talking about the Indians needing to sign a free agent starting pitcher or a stopgap shortstop.

MLB News

Tampa's choice on tampering charges -- MLB - ESPN

In a matter of weeks the Tampa Bay Rays lost both Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon, the two main architects of the Rays' amazing run (given their competition) or playoff-contending clubs. Friedman left to become the GM for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Maddon, who exercised on opt-clause in his contract, is now the manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Olney's article ($ required) is about whether what the Cubs did should be considered tampering. That would very hard to prove absent some kind of metaphorical smoking gun (e-mail, phone call recording). And if you think about it, Joe Maddon was not going to remain a managerial free agent for long. He's long been considered one of the best managers in baseball, and clubs even with managers in place (as with the Cubs) would suddenly be interested. I'm rather skeptical that Maddon (nevermind his agent) didn't know about the opt-out clause, as that would have been something placed in the contract by Maddon.

Brewers acquire Adam Lind from Blue Jays for Marco Estrada - Brew Crew Ball

Lind may not be the center square for the Brewers, but he will be a big upgrade for a club that has been desperately searching for a first baseball for a couple years now.

Latest 40-man Roster

The contract estimates for the arbitration-eligible and renewable players are really rough guesses. Just keep that in mind.

Nov 2 2014

(link for larger version)

Yes, I know there's almost no chance that Josh Tomlin is in the rotation ahead of TJ House, but I didn't want to project something that couldn't happen, as both Tomlin and Zach McAllister are out of options now. As mentioned in the comments below, Tomlin should have at least one option year remaining. So I"ve switched House and Tomlin on the roster.

The Indians will have some interesting decisions regarding their rotation and bullpen. Corey Kluber seems an obvious choice to extend, as he is not yet eligible for arbitration. Cody Allen may be another extension candidate, but then again, he's a reliever.