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12/10/09 11:59 AM EST
Tribe wraps up quiet Winter Meetings
Club picks up bullpen arm on last day in Indianapolis
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Tribe's activity in the last two Winter Meetings was in direct correlation with the environment.
A year ago, amidst the glitz and glam of the Las Vegas Strip, the Indians rolled the dice on a three-team, 12-player trade that netted them Luis Valbuena and Joe Smith and cashed in the bulk of their free-agent chips by signing Kerry Wood to a two-year, $20.5 million deal.
Here in the more mundane Hoosier State, where the pace of life is decidedly toned done, the Indians were quiet as can be.
That, of course, was expected. When you have no free-agent money to spend and no major commodities to trade, the Winter Meetings do not provide an environment that suits you particularly well.
So the Tribe's front-office decision makers arrived at the Indiana Convention Center, plugged in their laptops and carried on their normal offseason business.
And while it was quiet, it wasn't completely
Manny Acta made heads turn with his eye-catching black fedora (Sandy Alomar Jr. texted to tell him Charlie Chaplin wants his hat back), but he also got some work done by naming Jon Nunnally as his hitting coach.
The Indians added a bullpen option in the Rule 5 Draft by selecting right-hander Hector Ambriz from the D-backs' Triple-A roster. Ambriz will have a chance to latch onto the Opening Day roster. If he doesn't, he must be offered back to Arizona.
In the bad news department, the Indians announced that top catching prospect Carlos Santana had surgery to remove a broken hamate bone from his right hand and former top pitching prospect Adam Miller had yet another major medical setback in his road to the big leagues -- a road that might have reached a dead end.
That's all we know for now. What we don't know is whether the business the Indians conducted here behind the scenes will lead to action on the transaction wire in the coming weeks and months.
Time will tell, as it tends to do.
"We've had a ton of agent meetings," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "We'll stay actively involved. When we start to determine that there's a value, we'll start to make offers. It's still very early in free agency."
Rule 5 activity:
In the Major League phase, the Indians selected Ambriz with the fifth pick and lost left-hander Chuck Lofgren to the Brewers with the 14th pick. In the Minor League phase, the Indians selected outfielder Brian Horwitz from the Giants' organization to provide depth at Triple-A Columbus and lost Double-A left-handers Anillins Martinez and Matt Meyer to the Marlins and Cardinals, respectively.
Acta completed his coaching staff and picked up some style points with the fedora. Other than that, the Indians didn't come into the Winter Meetings with goals they expected to fulfill.
In a perfect world with no financial ramifications, the Indians would add a utility infielder, a right-handed bat, a veteran starting pitcher and maybe even a veteran backup catcher. But the Indians have major financial limitations, so the only way they'll fill any of those needs is if the free-agent market presents bargains.
GM's bottom line:
"I wouldn't expect us to be pace-setters in the free-agent market." -- Shapiro