Earlier this week the Detroit Tigers signed right-handed free agent pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year, $110 million deal. The signing came as a surprise to many around baseball, who had assumed the Tigers were going to stay away from the top free agents due to their already high payroll and the trades they made towards the end of the 2015 season.
However, analysts be damned, as Detroit opened up the checkbook to improve their team. Tigers owner, Mike Ilitch, made it clear how he felt at a recent news conference:
"I don't care about the money, I want the best players.
"I've been in baseball for a lot of years. I didn't care about spending money. They get the players, and I spend, and I don't worry about it because they have good judgment."
How nice would it be to hear something even remotely close to that from the Indians organization? I imagine we all would be sure that pigs were flying and that the world was coming to an end. Plain and simple, "I don't care about money, I want the best players" is never something we will hear from the Tribe's current ownership group.
But what if... the bizarre actually happened. Let's imagine that this off-season the Tribe did have lots and lots and lots of money to spend. What would we actually do with it?
Let's take a look at some possibilities:
Sign a Starting Pitcher
Yes, this could make our starting rotation the absolute bomb. Imagine going Kluber, Carrasco, Greinke, Salazar, Bauer. Oh my gosh. Just typing that sentence out made me dizzy. Zach Greinke and his 1.66 ERA would fit in just fine in good 'ol Cleveland and instantly make us a serious contender for the American League pennant.
Of course, Greinke would be obscenely expensive, but again in this little experiment we are playing, our owner just said to forgot about the cash and go get the best players. Plus, signing him to a 6 year, $175 million deal would only put the Tribe around the middle of the payroll pack.
Other starters to consider would be Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija, but that make less sense, even in this senseless type activity we're doing here. While the Indians don't really need a starting pitcher, Greinke sure would be a fantastic addition.
Sign a Power Bat (or two)
Chris Davis . . . c'mon down. That .562 slugging percentage and 147 wRC+ of Davis' would look marvelous in the middle of the Tribe's lineup.
Let's say we mix and match Davis and Carlos Santana at first, with Kipnis and Lindor up the middle, and Urshela and Johnson at third base. We still need an outfielder, especially with Brantley's issues, so how about a Justin Upton (120 wRC+) or Dexter Fowler (110 wRC+). Not too shabby.
Trade for a Superstar
Players like Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, or Todd Frazier sure would jazz up our offense. While they all have big price tags (especially Votto), trading for them would also mean giving up some of our top prospects. I would rather sign a free agent and give away a draft pick then trade for a hitter and send off players like Bradley Zimmer, Clint Frazier, and Brady Aiken. Of course it still would be nice to have Freddie Freeman and Todd Frazier at the corners in 2016.
Writing this article was really fun and really sad at the same time. Just imagining some of those guys on the Tribe's roster was amazing. And just think, if we had an owner like Mike Ilitch, it might be possible to add a Greinke or Davis or Fowler. Now the sadness part, as reality is that we made one of our moves and it was signing Colin Cowgill. Sigh.
Still I'm glad to be a Tribe fan and I'm used to the realities of our club's financial situation. But hey, we can dream. So, what would you do if all of a sudden the Indians had a boatload of money to spend?