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Jarad Regano hasn't been Mark Shapiro's biggest fan. Especially following very successful 2005 and 2007 seasons. Both times Shapiro was left with money in his pocket for the never-to-come pennant race that summer, and the dollars that were spent were spread way too thin. Jarad is a lot happier with this off-season though, talking about the series of moves Shapiro made to improve the team in his latest column.


Some people never change.  Good for Tribe fans, though, it appears that one guy who matters did. As a general manager with a laundry list of good qualities, it is safe to say that Mark Shapiro went down swinging in the hot stoves following very successful 2005 and 2007 seasons.  Both times Shapiro was left with money in his pocket for the never-to-come pennant race that summer, and the dollars that were spent were spread way too thin.

As a lifelong fan, I expected more of the same in a similar style off-season.  True, the Tribe was not on the doorstop of a playoff berth in 2008.  However, the division has seemed to cool off since the high expectations of last year and the Indians played very well down the extended home stretch.  Here is why you should be happy with the moves, whether they work or not.


The Indians added a top of the heap, lights out, shut down closer to the back end of the bullpen.  Front office serial bashers have been out and about ridiculing the signing as more damaged goods.  This is not the case at all.  Sure, Kerry Wood has had arm problems in the past.  There is no guarantee he will not be on the shelf again this year.  But he is coming off a tremendous campaign in 2008.  At times you could argue he was the most dominant free agent to-be closer a year ago, and that class includes Francisco Rodriguez.  They paid a steep price, but did so at a bargain in years owed. 


The Indians have spent the past six months adding depth to the back end of their bullpen with the additions of John Meloan and more recently, Joe Smith.  These moves led to the acquisition of Mark DeRosa, as the Tribe now felt comfortable parting with Jeff Stevens.  Again out of his comfort zone, Shapiro took on salary and shipped away a valuable prospect.  Those are two things I know this Tribe fan did not see coming.  DeRosa may not be the flashiest player out there, as I was clamoring for a more trendy name like Adrian Beltre.  However, he is a Casey Blake statistical match, and that is probably at worst.  The Indians have also probably found their #2 hitter as well with the trade. 


The contract given to Carl Pavano is one the Tribe can eat at any time.  Yes, even our Tribe.  Shapiro's blunders in the past have involved giving players such as Jason Johnson and David Dellucci either too much money or too many years.  With those mistakes at those dollars, you are stuck; and for much longer than you care to be.  For the cost of Pavano, you take a flyer on a rotation spot for six weeks if he makes it out of Goodyear on the same plane as his right arm.  You could not have gotten him on a minor league deal, so that argument is not really valid.  Lets hope for health.

As Tribe fans, we cannot have it both ways.  C.C. Sabathia and Manny Ramirez were not coming here.  They weren't coming to Minnesota or Tampa Bay either. It's okay to play the cheap card where it fits, but in our market, it doesn't work in this case.  For now, let's give praise for thinking outside the box.

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