CLEVELAND- One very intriguing team to keep an eye on this offseason is the Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland Indians traded for first baseman Brandon Moss on Monday. The Indians are currently checking on Alex Rios, who has a reputation for posting a batting average above .275. Rios experienced a down year last year, hitting just four home runs and 54 runs batted in. He only played 131 games. Rios is an 11 year veteran.
Owner Larry Dolan is not known for being a big spender. Will he change his ways and stretch the budget as much as possible to build another playoff caliber team like in 2013?
Rios will likely sign a similar contract to the Mark Reynolds deal of 2013 for 1 year, $ 6.5 million.
Dolan spent significantly more money than usual in 2013 when he hired Terry Francona as General Manager, then proceeded to sign Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.
Swisher hasn’t been same power hitter with Cleveland as he was the New York Yankees which may have prompted the trade for Moss. Bourn has battled injuries but continues to be a speed threat when healthy.
It seems clear that the Indians are intent on building a power hitting lineup to take advantage of their hitters’ ballpark Progressive Field. It has long been known for being friendly to power bats and not so friendly to pitching staffs.
Today was the last day of the Winter meetings.
Will the Indians pursue Max Scherzer?
With that in mind, the Indians could turn to the remaining starting pitchers on the free agent market to bolster their strong rotation lead by Corey Kluber.
One such pitcher is former Tigers star Max Scherzer. The Tigers are not pursuing Scherzer at this time. Cleveland has a golden opportunity to acquire him as long as they are willing to pay a hefty price. Dolan is not known for a deep pocket book but Scherzer will likely seek a Jon Lester type deal. Scherzer turned down the Tigers qualifying offer of $15.3 million last month. If Dolan is willing to pursue Scherzer, he will certainly be the Indians highest paid free agent, making Swisher’s contract look dirt cheap in comparison.
Scherzer will likely seek a deal between $16-20 million per year. It is highly unlikely the Indians will sign him but they may at least reach out to Scherzer.