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Ingraham with a great point...

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Ingraham with a great point...

Unread postby consigliere » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:45 pm

I think Ingraham brought up a great point here today with his article. In that, one of the big reasons Shapiro may have agreed to stick around is because ownership assured him going forward he would have more flexibility with dollars to spend....

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?news ... 6370&rfi=6

Shapiro staying a good sign of Dolan's commitment
JIM INGRAHAM, Morning Journal Writer
04/17/2007

There were several intriguing undercurrents related to the Indians' signing of Jake Westbrook to a three-year, $33 million contract extension, not the least of which was its timing.

The timing was very interesting because it came less than a month after the Indians signed general manager Mark Shapiro to a five-year extension.

Are the two related?

Only Shapiro and Indians president Paul Dolan know for sure. But when listening to the optimism with which Shapiro now talks about possibly re-signing potential free agents Travis Hafner and/or C.C. Sabathia, and with Westbrook already a done deal, it's not too hard to figure out what one of the main talking points was when Shapiro and Dolan sat down to hammer out their deal.

Dolan: ''Mark, what will it take to keep you here?''

Shapiro: ''I'm happy here. I want to stay here. But I want to be able to compete.''

Shapiro can talk all he wants about how much he likes the people he works for and with, how much his family enjoys living in Cleveland, and how much autonomy -- perhaps more than that of any other general manager in the game, according to Shapiro -- he gets from the Dolan family in running the Indians.

That's all well and good. But Shapiro, like all general managers, is a competitor. Building relationships and creating a culture of professionalism are nice, but this is major league baseball, and the object is to win. In most cases general managers and managers either win or they eventually become ex-general managers and ex-managers.

Clearly, Shapiro had to be given some assurance from the Dolan family that if he was going to stay in Cleveland as the general manager for five more years, he was going to have to be allowed to compete.

That doesn't mean being first in line to give Alex Rodriguez another $150 million when he opts out of his Yankee contract at the end of this season and becomes a free agent. It doesn't mean standing on a street corner in downtown Tokyo, waving a check for $130 million at Dice-K II.

That's not the point. It's one thing not to be able to compete for the top free agents every winter. It's quite another to be in charge of a team, and then have to watch a parade of all your best players leaving via free agency year after year after year. THAT, clearly, was a point Shapiro emphasized to Dolan.

Shapiro isn't necessarily interested in eating at the big table with the Yankees' Brian Cashman, Boston's Theo Epstein, and the game's other Barons of the Bloated Payrolls. But he's also not interested in dining on gruel and biscuits with the bottom feeders, where he has to sell to his fans such nonsense that Jason Johnson is a good signing because he has a ''track record.''

Shapiro, the former Princeton football player, is a competitor. And competitors compete. It seems likely, when Shapiro and Dolan stared at each other across the heavily lacquered mahogany table in some boardroom in the inner sanctum at Jacobs Field over the winter, that Shapiro stressed if he was going to remain with the Indians, he had no interest in trying to general manage with one hand tied behind his back.

In other words, at some point, for the Indians to get good, and stay good, they had to stop the organization's internal bleeding, caused by the constant exit of all its best players.

Shapiro's timing was exquisite, because the Indians' next three test cases are all players who make the reconfiguration of organizational strategy convenient, necessary, and justified.

That doesn't mean it's going to happen, but the early returns look encouraging.

Westbrook, Sabathia and Hafner are not just three of the Indians' most important players, they are three of their best people. They are all productive on the field and leaders off it.

So what we have here is the perfect storm. A serendipitous convergence of time and place and players. Of an impending free agent general manager, three key impending free agent players, and an organization at just the right stage of its rebirth to feel a degree of desperation to keep as many of the four as possible.

Shapiro presumably stayed in large part because he was given the assurance that he would be permitted to compete for the other three.

Less than a month later he's re-signed one -- no coincidence there, to be sure -- and is talking optimistically about the other two. Re-signing all three seemed impossible initially. Re-signing two would be admirable. Even going 1-for-3 would be encouraging.

What's most important though, is that the Indians seem to be in play on all of them, and that would be a major shift in organizational policy.

One that apparently has kept Shapiro in Cleveland.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:26 pm

Ingraham is dead on. Shapiro stayed for a reason.

I don't think it's really his style to go out and overspend on free agents anyways. I've always had the impressive that he loves developing talent through the farm. There's a certain pride there. Even when players leave there is some satisfaction that teams like New York and Boston need to pilfer your players because you do a better job of developing them than they do.

It's amazing to look at how many good players that Indians have put into MLB over the past decade plus.

Shapiro has every right to want to keep the best of the best. Some spots can be filled with upcoming prospects in the future, but the leaders are important to keep.

If all three are signed to extensions then I see the complaints against the Dolan regime fading away. True, we'll never get that longterm, bigtime free agent signing, but it if the Tribe can develop great talent and keep it then that is progress.
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:53 pm

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:If all three are signed to extensions then I see the complaints against the Dolan regime fading away.

Puh-leeze.

Never. Never never never never never.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:12 pm

Steve Buffum wrote:
Mr. MacPhisto wrote:If all three are signed to extensions then I see the complaints against the Dolan regime fading away.

Puh-leeze.

Never. Never never never never never.


Hey, I'm an optimist. But maybe I give Tribe fans too much credit. Some people just enjoy having something to bitch at.
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Unread postby FUDU » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:58 pm

There's a certain pride there. Even when players leave there is some satisfaction that teams like New York and Boston need to pilfer your players because you do a better job of developing them than they do.


I wish that did it for me.

Unfortunately it does not quench my desire for a WS title in this town.
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Unread postby neoleo » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:19 pm

I don't think it will quiet the Dolan haters either. Disregarding the people on this forum, a lot of the people who don't like Dolan are IMO people who don't really follow/understand baseball. Following the Browns and Cavs in the offseason is easy, the drafts make sense to casual fans, etc. Baseball and the Indians are different. Even if the Tribe starts resigning their key players (specifically Hafner and Sabathia), I still think there will be complaints that we "haven't brought anybody in" and "why don't we just sign so and so." For baseball, and specifically the Post Jacobs Era of Cleveland, I just think its the nature of the business.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:22 pm

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:
Steve Buffum wrote:
Mr. MacPhisto wrote:If all three are signed to extensions then I see the complaints against the Dolan regime fading away.

Puh-leeze.

Never. Never never never never never.


Hey, I'm an optimist. But maybe I give Tribe fans too much credit. Some people just enjoy having something to bitch at.


You think that the Tribe will sign CC. That makes you an optimist. I don't think they will or can. That doesn't make me a chronic bitcher. That makes me a realist.

(I am a sensational cynic when it comes to the Cavs, however. Watching pretty much the worst organization in sports will do that to me)

I HOPE they sign him. I WANT them to sign him, I just don't see the feasibability. Lastly, I'm not going to be upset with the regime if he gets away. This is going to be a record setting big market contract.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:28 am

Lead Pipe wrote:
You think that the Tribe will sign CC. That makes you an optimist. I don't think they will or can. That doesn't make me a chronic bitcher. That makes me a realist.

(I am a sensational cynic when it comes to the Cavs, however. Watching pretty much the worst organization in sports will do that to me)

I HOPE they sign him. I WANT them to sign him, I just don't see the feasibability. Lastly, I'm not going to be upset with the regime if he gets away. This is going to be a record setting big market contract.


I don't think they will sign CC. I said that if they did sign him that it should shut up the bitchers, though some will never be satisfied unless we sign a Soriano or Zito as a free agent.

I agree with you on CC. I don't really think they will sign him. They'll need him to take a nice discount and he will have to decide that he wants guaranteed money earlier just in case the worst happens. I will not be upset if they don't sign him. I'd be more upset if they didn't sign Hafner because I see a smaller market for him out there due to his position and the fact Boston has a DH.

My optimistic sign says that CC wants to be paid but doesn't care about making a huge splash. An average salary of $15M per for some years will work. He'll likely be competing against Santana in the free agent market and, though I like CC, Johan is far better. That's the optimist and so much of that outlook depends on CC. If he stays for less then he's the kind of guy that you want to stay because that shows some character and affinity for the team.

Stranger things have happened. If he takes less money that it will be before free agency. The MLBPA will be pushing for the biggest offer to win in the free agency year. An extension with no competition isn't going to create as much pressure.
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Unread postby consigliere » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:25 am

I'm not sure what to think with Sabathia.....whether he takes less to stay here, wants to go out and break a contract record, whether the Indians can resign him or not, whether Dolan has the finanical means, etc...

But, what I do know, is he is here another two years, this year and next. I guess we'll cross that bridge sometime late next season.
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