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Winter Meetings Live Blog

Over the course of the winter meetings, Jeff (Nomina), Adam Burke, Jim Pete and Mike Hattery will be live blogging our thoughts on the rumors and hopefully trades which involve the Indians. 

According to Paul Hoynes the Indians are talking to Rajai Davis about a one year deal with a possible option included. On the surface, it is exciting in that Davis is a far more substantive option than someone like Shane Victorino, as Davis has been productive the past three years.

On the other hand, Davis will be playing his age 35 season in 2016 and as age progresses, speed, which is essential to Davis' value starts too erode. Another issue manifests itself, Davis is an adequate defender but is not particularly good and defense in his late thirties isn't going anywhere but south. 

Further, Davis rode the highest HR/FB% by a significant margin to a wRC+ of 101. The fact that Davis offered the least baserunning value of his entire career and will be merely turning another year older does not provide optimism that his speed or defensive value will do anything but decline.

For some optimism, Davis has a career wRC+ of 118 against LHP and is competent in the corners. Davis can work as a platoon bat and ultimately may complement Chisenhall well but his weaknesses can exposed quickly especially if exposed to too much RHP. Once again, as a complementary move this can work but it cannot serve as the central move of the off-season.

-Mike Hattery 5:30 12/8

Joey Butler doesn’t excite me much – his numbers last year were probably inflated by his .377 BABIP and weren’t that impressive to begin with.  His glove doesn’t appear to bring much value, either.  

You’re also looking at Butler, Collin Cowgill, and Jerry Sands all somehow co-existing on the roster right now.  I’m sure at least one of them will drop off, but whenever there is this sort of flotsam on the roster, Tito has leaned on it heavily.  I know people say these are “no risk” moves, but then Mike Aviles plays in 98 games and Jerry Sands in 50.

And Brett Lawrie makes zero sense to me, as well.  STEAMER has him at 1.5 WAR and he’s going to make close to $4million.  Plus the asset needed to acquire him.  It feels like a classic Tribe move of bringing in a veteran who gives you a “sure thing” and playing them over some kids who most likely will give you similar production.  

I’m hoping those conversations shift over to Josh Reddick who could help fill the OF void while Brantley is injured for an increasingly depressing amount of time. 

Also interesting to hear the Tribe offered Salazar for Pollock.  I wonder if they could sweeten that deal or make a smaller deal for Inciarte.  

- Jeff Nomina - 12:00 p.m. 12/8

The Butler Did It! #PunGameStrong! Love you, Nino. So, the Indians claimed Joey Butler off waivers from Tampa Bay and the Shane Victorino rumors are real and they are not spectacular.
So, what we have here is the Flyin' Hawaiian potentially taking the role of Ryan Raburn. Per friend of the site 81 Games Dan, Victorino should fit right in.

Yeah...

Chris Antonetti let Cleveland media know that the team is interested in upgrading the offense and hopes to do so without tapping into the starting pitching strength.

In related news, I would like some ice cream, but I do not feel like going out to get any.

It seems that the Arizona Diamondbacks are still looking for starting pitching help. It seems that the Indians have some to spare. Given that Mike Leake is now a 5/75M pitcher per reports, the Indians have the proverbial gold in them thar hills.

-Adam Burke - 7:50 p.m. 12/7

 Lawrie is a pass for me. He went to the notoriously-patient A's lineup and had the worse chase rate of his career. It came with a power increase, but a sub-.300 OBP is a massive red flag in any context. Was that an anomaly? It's hard to believe that Lawrie is only 25 and went to a new organization, but he was worked over by fastballs and has a low line drive rate to begin with.

We know about Oakland's park factors. They suppress home runs and take away at bats with expansive foul territory. Is it understandable that the Indians would see value? Yes. His .429 SLG away from home is a decent number.

However, he's an inconsistent player with strange platoon splits from year-to-year and is also coming off of a poor defensive season. The Indians have enough guys that lack consistency and cannot fit the bill as a full-time player. Lawrie appears to be one, and he's on the shorter side of the platoon in terms of effectiveness, since he hit LHP better than RHP last season and probably would as a rule of thumb going forward.

-Adam Burke - 3:00 p.m. 12/7
It appears the entire AL Central is interested in Brett Lawrie. While I am interested in bringing really any player if the price is correct, Lawrie is projected for 1.5 WAR by Steamer while Urshela is projected at .7 WAR. The case for Lawrie to me, the floor is higher, he is an average-above average defender with  good power. The ceiling is also higher as the ceiling on his bat>>>>>> Urshela's. However, the question is whether the marginal gap in their floors is wide enough to substantiate giving up an asset of any substance to acquire Lawrie.

The type of asset required to acquire Lawrie has to be ancillary at best or else the Indians are better off expending assets either in CF or for a more substantial 3B upgrade.

-Mike Hattery -10:30 A.M. 12/7


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