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.