If you have managed to stir from your AL Wild Card game hangover and muster the energy to watch some postseason baseball you have seen some thrilling low-scoring games. The theme this postseason no doubt is pitching pitching and more pitching. There have already been seven shutouts – including four 1-0 games - and countless games decided by one run with the winning team scoring three runs or less. This is important to keep in mind as the Indians get set to embark on an important offseason to build off of a very successful 2013 season where they won 92 games and made the playoffs. While many fans want the Indians to add a bat or two to improve the offense the absolute number one priority should be to address the questions with the starting rotation by doing what they can to bring back Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir. Don’t get me wrong the Indians need help in the lineup but the search for offensive help will probably be placed on the backburner since the decisions with Jimenez and Kazmir are more pressing and must be answered right away this offseason. The first salvo in this decision-making process will come within three days of the end of the World Series as the Indians have to officially declare whether they are picking up Jimenez’s $8 million mutual option for next season (they will). He then also has to make a decision within that timeframe on whether to have it picked up (he very likely declines it). From there the Indians have within five days of the conclusion of the World Series to extend the qualifying offer to Jimenez and Kazmir. The qualifying offer is for one year and $14.1 million and once a qualifying offer is made the player has seven days to accept or reject it. If the player accepts then he is signed for next season at that amount but if he rejects it then the Indians get a first round draft pick as compensation once he signs with another team. By the first week of November we should have a much clearer picture of the status of Jimenez and Kazmir as free agents and the possibility one or both could return to the Indians next season. Depending on what happens on that front it will shape what the Indians do the rest of the offseason. From what I have heard the Indians will very likely offer Jimenez the qualifying offer but they fully expect him to decline in order to test free agency and seek out a multi-year deal that should pay him much more money. As for Kazmir things can change but it “doesn’t appear likely” that the Indians will extend the qualifying offer to him as he is a borderline guy to extend a qualifying offer to since $14.1 million would be a pretty significant overpay for him for one season should he accept it. By offering the qualifying offer to Jimenez it helps the Indians chances of retaining him -- though does not guarantee he will return. It is important to note that even if he rejects the qualifying offer the Indians can still explore a multi-year deal with him and the prospects of giving up a first round pick to sign him might limit his market. If by chance he were to accept the qualifying offer then the Indians could still work out a long term extension with him.
Re-signing Jimenez and Kazmir is key for Indians
Fox Sports Ohio | Oct 18