by user Timothy Moreland(Bball3345)

Cleveland sure does know what they are doing. The string of deals they have made this offseason, coupled with the one likely around the bend, have the Indians set to return to the form of the 90's dominance.

First, lets look at the Grady Sizemore deal at $23.45 million for six years. That comes out to an average of $3.9 million per year for his 23-28 year-old seasons. Last year, Sizemore blossomed as one of the top offensive CF in baseball. Even if he stays similar to last year's production, this is certainly a big-time bargain for the Indians. The fact that Sizemore will almost definitely improve as he enters his prime toward the end of the contract makes this deal even sweeter. In his prime, Sizemore will no doubt be a $10 million man making only around $4 million a year.

Second, the Indians locked up catcher Victor Martinez to a cheap $15.5 million contract for the next five years. This comes out to around $3.1 million per year on average. In 2004, Martinez was one of the top offensive catchers and last year he became the #1 hitter at that position in the majors. Mauer appears to be the only serious threat to dethrone Martinez. In Victor, the Indians locked up a 20 HR catcher for his prime years of 27-31 about $4 million under market value.

Third, the Indians completed their long-term signings of "up the middle" players with Jhonny Peralta. Like Victor's deal, Peralta got five years but at only $13 million, which comes out to an average of $2.6 million a year. Peralta showed serious potential as a 22-year-old in AAA and then last year as a 23-year-old exceeded expectations. Combining his stellar defense and potent bat, Peralta good easily become one of the top 2 or 3 SS's in the AL, if not the majors. This deal keeps Peralta in a Cleveland uniform from the age of 24 to 28, during which he would be worthy of an 8 digit yearly salary.

These three deals locked up the scarcest positions on the diamond with prospects on their way at 3B (Andy Marte) and 1B (Ryan Garko).

In the near future, the Indians expect to sign Cliff Lee to a long-term deal as well. With only one solid year under his belt, the Tribe should be able to get Lee to sign a relatively cheap deal. Although, with the riskiness of pitchers and the tendency for them to be overpaid, the Lee deal may not look as nice as the others. Still, with Hafner and C.C. Sabathia guaranteed to be around until at least 2008, the Indians appear set for the long haul at C, 1B, 3B, SS, CF, DH, and their top two rotation spots at minimum cost.


Wed 03/29/06, 1:03 pm EST

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