Signed Jake Westbrook to a one-year, $900k contract, avoiding arbitration
Vizquel for Guillen
The Seattle Times is reporting that the Mariners and Indians are finalizing a trade thar would send Omar Vizquel to Seattle for Carlos Guillen. Rumors have been floating around the last week or so, and intensified when Seattle lost out on the Miguel Tejada sweepstakes. As of now, the Indians would pay a couple of million of Vizquel's $6M 2004 contract. It has also been reported by WTAM that the Mariners will give Vizquel an extension through the 2005 season. Carlos Guillen will make $2.5M next year, and will be eligible for arbitration after the season.
So what does this mean for the Indians if true? For starters, the Indians will save about $3M for next year, and it's assumed they will use the proceeds from the trade to sign a free agent 2B and starter. Guillen will be 28 next year, and the Indians will probably get one his best offensive seasons. Guillen is definitely not the equal of Vizquel defensively, though; his Fielding Percentage and Range Factor are both below league average.
Omar Vizquel has been one of the most popular athletes in Cleveland history, and trading him will definitely create some negative reactions from various sources. But speaking strictly as a baseball move, this is a good deal for the Indians. The Indians got a younger player and saved money while doing it. However, in order for this deal to look good for the vast majority of the fanbase, the money needs to transparently be spent on a free agent, probably a decent pitcher. If the Indians follow up the trade by signing a decent 2B and a quality starter, then this trade will look pretty good.