Signed IF Jose Hernandez to a one-year contract worth $1.8M
Designated 1B Josh Phelps for Assignment
Received RHP Tom Mastny from Toronto to Complete the John McDonald Trade
Signed RHP Edwin Minaya to a minor-league contract
The brief Josh Phelps era is over, and I'm a bit surprised how soon it ended. If Phelps is in fact a "super-2," then at least this makes a bit of sense. Paul Hoynes noted in his rumors column that the Indians were shopping Phelps, but no one was biting. Sounds like the arbitration dilemma to me; clubs know that if you don't trade him, you'll non-tender him, so why waste a prospect? I have no idea what Phelps would have been worth in arbitration given his recent exploits...maybe $2M or so? I would have kept him just to have another option off the bench. The signing of Hernandez was probably the last straw; Jose mashes left-handers almost to the same extent as Phelps does, but unlike Josh, he can actually play in the field. Some AL team will take a chance on Phelps, particularly if they need a right-handed bat. Maybe Tampa Bay? Baltimore, to pair with Rafael Palmeiro?
Shapiro said that Hernandez was not going to be the starting second baseman, which is a good thing. Either Belliard is coming back, or a free agent will be brought in. Maybe Placido Polanco? Pokey Reese? Shapiro is probably better off just accepting arbitration with Belly if he can't work out a deal.
I'm a bit concerned as to the $1.8M though. Yes, Hernandez is a Boras client, and he was probably the best utility guy on the market, but I don't know if I'd throw that much money at a bench player, particularly with the current payroll. It won't really make much of a difference in getting Clement (the Indians have made their best offer, apparently), but when you only have $9-10M to spend, every little bit helps.
The Indians receieved Tom Mastny from the Blue Jays to complete the John McDonald deal. Mastny is a bit better prospect than I thought the Indians were getting. He posted some nice numbers in low-A this season. Of course, he's 23 years old, and unless he moves fast (to AA next season), he's not going to be taken seriously. Still, not a bad return for Johnny Mac.