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Storylines: Cleveland Indians keeping tabs on Jose Bautista and other corner outfielders and infielders

The Indians are keeping an eye on the remaining pool of free agents and may still add another bat if the price aligns for a bat that they believe can help them this season...

Indians News:

- The Cleveland Indians are reportedly still in touch with multiple free agent corner infielders and corner outfielders including the likes of Jose Bautista per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Bautista remains a free agent after rejecting a qualifying offer from the Toronto Blue Jays.  His market has not materialized as he had imagined due to his age and injury problems the past year. The Indians had reportedly said they were done spending after going big to land free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion but if a situation arises and things are aligned, the front office could certainly sign off on another high-profile signing to bolster the club’s chances of returning to the World Series.  Bautista still has great power but his defense has slipped and the only spot he’d be able to play is the corner outfield, where Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley currently occupy.  Brantley is recovering still and the jury’s out on how effective he can be after recovering from shoulder surgery.  The signing of another corner outfielder would most likely signal the club is not confident in Brantley’s ability to return to form.

Other Storylines:

- Despite the slow-going nature of the free agent market over the past few weeks, one by one players are beginning to come off the board.  Veteran right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz is reportedly nearing a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.  The Brewers have a vacancy in the back of their bullpen after the departures of Jeremy Jeffres and Tyler Thornburg.  Feliz enjoyed a nice bounce-back season with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season in which he threw an ERA worth 3.52 over 53.2 innings of relief along with a 10.2 SO/9 ratio and a 3.5 BB/9 ratio as well.  He ended up missing the last month of the season due to arm discomfort but the injury was reportedly not structural, a good sign for a pitcher who has already undergone Tommy John surgery once in his career.  Feliz’s fastball gained velocity over the course of the season, showing that his arm had plenty of life in it.  He would most likely be the first in line to become the closer for the Brewers given they don’t have many proven options for the late innings due to their trading away their power arms for younger talent.

- Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders is reportedly hoping to re-sign with the Blue Jays prior to Spring Training per Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.  The Blue Jays are still thin in the corner outfield department so Saunders is a fit.  He enjoyed his best season of his career last season but a terrible second half lowered his value to the Blue Jays front office hence why they decided not to give him a qualifying offer.  

- Free agent slugger Mark Trumbo reportedly received a three-year, $40MM offer from the Orioles a while back per Peter Gammons.  It had been widely reported that both sides were negotiating a four-year deal worth about $50MM-plus but evidently his value is not as high to the Orioles as many thought.  The chances of Trumbo returning to Baltimore appear to be growing slimmer by each day.


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