Free agency has not been kind to the Indians’ bullpen. The departure of Brian Shaw (three years, $27 million to Colorado), Joe Smith (two years, $15 million to Houston) and Boone Logan (one year, 2.5 million to Milwaukee) has left the Cleveland bullpen in a state of flux.
There are answers out there, sitting on the extensive list of unsigned MLB free agents, but identifying them is the challenge.
In the NFL, player-personnel directors make names for themselves not with what they do in the first few rounds of the annual NFL Draft, but for what kind of talent they can find in the later rounds.
Sure, anyone could have picked Myles Garrett with the first overall pick, but it takes a keen eye for talent to pluck a Carl Nassib in the third out of Penn State.
There is a parallel between finding talent in the NFL Draft and identifying and spending money wisely on players in the free agent market.
The Indians have to rebuild the middle of their bullpen, and without a trade Indians president Chris Antonetti will be scouring the free agent wire, both now and when cuts begin during spring training.
We at NEO Sports Insiders would like to give Antonetti some help and have identified a few relievers available who will not cost a ton of money and could give Terry Francona some big innings this summer.
Unless you are a hard-core fantasy baseball player or absolute baseball junkie there are probably a couple of names here you are not familiar with. These are the kind of ‘meat and potatoes’ guys every team needs, signings that wouldn’t generate a lot of excitement among the fan base.
They would, however, help the team as it looks to claim a third consecutive American League Central crown and return to the post season. Middle relievers aren’t sexy, but they are critical.