When asked about an influx of talent to the Tribe's American League Central rivals, Indians GM Chris Antonetti had this to say:
"If you're asking me my preference, I would prefer that better players would not come to our division, other than to our team... They can either come to Cleveland or go to the National League."
I'm with you, Chris. Sadly, Antonetti's fellow general managers haven't been on board with his plan, nor have various players and agents. It's been a busy week for all of MLB, but the AL Central seems to have had more than its share of the action. Once the dust settles, we'll recap what each team has done so far this offseason.
In the meantime, Antonetti's comments have me thinking about something a little different. This is nothing but a thought exercise (unless you've got incredible powers we don't know about... in which case why haven't you done something already?!), but intelligent people should enjoy thinking, right?
If you could permanently remove one player from the AL Central, who would it be?
The player (and their contract) will just be gone, and the team can't bring in anyone new to replace them for the next five years, meaning they can use someone else on the roster or in the farm system, but they can't sign or trade for anyone to take their spot.
Do you get rid of Miguel Cabrera, because he's an awesome hitter who's killed the Indians, and the Tigers are the team the Indians are trying to knock down from the top of the division? Or maybe Cabrera is someone you want to stick around, because you're looking forward to the later years of his contract, when Detroit is paying him $30 or $32 million to be a mediocre hitter who can't run or play defense.
Perhaps you'd like to be rid of Jose Abreu, who might be the new Cabrera, positioned to kill the Tribe for years to come. Maybe it's Chris Sale, the best pitcher the Indians have to face in the Central, who you'd like to be done with. Both those guys are signed to team-friendly deal, another 5 years for ~$60 million for Abreu; another 3 years for ~$27 million for Sale, along with two inexpensive team options. Are the White Sox dangerous enough for it to be worth targeting one of their players though?
Salvador Perez is Yan Gomes' competition as best catcher in the American League, and he's signed to a bonkers deal; the Royals only have to pay him a total of $3.75 million over the next two years, and then have three team options on him, for only $3.75M, $5M, and 6M for 2017-2019. He's going to be one of the best deals in baseball for years.
The Twins don't have anyone on their 25-man roster that jumps out, but they've got two of the best prospects in baseball, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. They could be on the verge of beginning to rise back to the top, and maybe you'd like to chop them down before that can happen.
It's possible you'd just like for the Indians to be rid of Nick Swisher and the $30 million they still owe him, freeing up those funds to go after an upgrade at another position.
...Maybe it's someone else entirely. Tell us who you want gone and why.