Monday, December 05, 2005

Byrd in hand

The Indians finally made their first free-agent splash. And guess what? It's a multi-year contract.
Paul Byrd won't turn many heads or many turnstiles. But Byrd is a solid signing, particularly if the Indians add another veteran arm.
Byrd is a meat-and-potatoes pitcher with the swinging-arms retro windup to boot. For $14.25 million over the next two years, he'll provide the Indians with a Dave Burba-esque ability to pound the strike zone with his fastball and take hitters off the fastball with decent off-speed stuff.
But he shouldn't give up runs like Burba did. Blessed with an ability to keep the ball in the yard without a devastating sinker, he finished last year 12-11 with a sub-4.00 ERA. He also won the only game the Angels took in the ALCS, Game 1 in Chicago.
Byrd has playoff experience, pitching for Atlanta in 2004 prior to to the Angels last year.
Byrd is a former Indians farmhand who has bounced around during his career, from the Mets to the Royals, then onto the Braves and Angels.
As baseball's winter meeting unfold this week, the focus of Indians' GM Mark Shapiro now likely shifts to Padres closer Trevor Hoffman and Cubs infielder Nomar Garciaparra, both rumored to be high on Shapiro's free-agent wish list.
Bob Wickman is the trusty fallback should Shapiro not be able to reel in Hoffman.
A trade is also possible. Devil Rays outfielder Aubrey Huff is a name to remember.


Joel said...

Is the main difference between Byrd and Millwood that they were able to get Byrd at two years?

I understand not being willing to take a flyer on Millwood for five years because of risk of arm injury.

But why, then, even sniff Trevor Hoffman?

Zach said...

I like the Byrd signing. And the Hoffman signing is a must because you just don't have any alternatives in house right now.
But please, please, sign a bat.I don't care if it's Nomar, Reggie Sanders, Deion Sanders or Colonel Sanders.
Just please, no Casey Blake in right field.

Erik said...

Byrd is a rarity. He did, indeed, leave more money on the table to sign with a winning team. The Royals offered him $22 million over three years.

The Indians are sniffing around Hoffman's feet for two reasons: One, he is 38 and a two-year deal could woo him (though the Padres are rumored to be offering three years.) Two, the closer market is close to crap this winter and options are limited. With Billy Wagner and B.J. Ryan gone, your options are Hoffman, Bob Wickman and Todd Jones. All are well into their 30s, but all did save 40 games last year.