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News » Cleveland Indians Notes, Quotes 2008-12-05

Cleveland Indians Notes, Quotes 2008-12-05

Cleveland Indians Notes, Quotes 2008-12-05
--The Indians arrived at the start of the winter meetings having done nothing in an off-season in which activity had been promised by club officials.

However, while stating at the start of the off-season that the Indians hoped to be very active this winter, general manager Mark Shapiro said that it would be selectively active.

"When you get into the off-season," said Shapiro, "you ask yourself: Where is the talent of greatest impact? Are you looking to add to that runs-scored column or runs-prevented column? How do you do that in the most impactful way? It might be a trade. I'd love to say, "OK, we need a third baseman _ boom, plug in a third baseman. But it's probably not going to work out that way. It may work out that way. We need a closer -- boom, plug in a closer . . . So we're going to have to go through the off-season, look at the dollars we have available to allocate, the amount of young talent we have a tolerance for giving up, where the needs are, how great they are, where the alternatives lie, where there's an internal alternative. And then we'll make the best moves we can to impact this team."

--SS Jhonny Peralta has been in some games at third base in the Dominican Republic this winter. The Indians are keeping their options open with Peralta. Club officials hope to acquire a third baseman in the off-season, but if that doesn't happen Plan B would be to move Peralta to third base, move second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to shortstop, his natural position, and attempt to acquire an everyday second baseman.

--OF Manny Ramirez, an ex-Indian, is the top free agent outfielder this winter, and with the Indians having an unsettled situation in left field and a need to bolster their offense, Ramirez would seem to be a good fit.

But Ramirez's price tag, and the prioritizing of the team's needs by Indians officials, makes the signing of Ramirez very unlikely.

"We scored a lot of runs this year," said general manager Mark Shapiro. "I think we were sixth or seventh in runs scored in the majors. So that's close to what our goal is for doing every year. And that was without (Travis) Hafner the whole year and without (Victor) Martinez for much of the year, neither one of those guys producing even close to what their levels are. ... That does not mean that we won't look at outfielders. ... But it means, when you put together the priorities, outfield will fall farther down the priority list."

--2B Josh Barfield does not seem to figure very prominently in the Indians' plans for 2009. Despite the need for a second baseman should 2B Asdrubal Cabrera be moved to shortstop, Barfield appears to be a back-burner option in the eyes of club officials.

In his two years with the Indians, Barfield has a .238 batting average, with three home runs and 52 RBIs in 453 at-bats.

--OF Matt LaPorta, Milwaukee's top prospect, whom the Indians acquired as part of the CC Sabathia trade, will be in the Indians' major league spring-training camp but apparently won't be a candidate to win a spot on the opening-day roster.

"I don't think so," said Manager Eric Wedge. "Not out of spring training. Sounds like he's going to get our attention, though."

In a combined 362 at-bats for Milwaukee's Class-AA Huntsville and Cleveland's Class-AA Akron affiliates, LaPorta batted .279 with 22 home runs and 74 RBIs. That doesn't include the approximately one month LaPorta missed while playing on the U.S. Olympic team.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- Number of times the Indians were shut out in 2008, tying them with Baltimore for the fewest in the American League.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He doesn't need to go home and say 'I led the team in RBI, I had a great year.' He needs to go home and say, 'What I did over the last six or seven weeks, that's what I need to do over six months.'" -- Manager Eric Wedge on 1B Ryan Garko, who was inconsistent for most of the season before a strong finish resulted in him leading the Indians with 90 RBIs.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: December 5, 2008

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