Andrew Bynum Suspended, On Trade Block

From NBA.com:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today. Bynum did not travel with the team to Boston last night for the team’s game this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. vs. the Celtics and has been excused from all team activities indefinitely. His status will be updated as appropriate.”

It’s most likely that Andrew Bynum has played his last game as a Cleveland Cavalier. Earlier in the year he hinted at a possible retirement and losing his love for the game.

The Cavs are now looking to trade the star center. He’s owed around $6.5 million – if the Cavs were to trade him before Jan. 7, when all contracts are guaranteed, they would create additional cap space.

One team that may be interested in Bynum are Atlanta, who lost Horford recently. He’ll be moved if teams feel he still has enough interest to play, which may be a hard sell to some teams.

For all those interested: It’s Andrew Bynum Fathead night at the Q tomorrow!

Indian’s FA Watch

The Indians have been pretty quiet this winter. Their biggest signing so far was when David Murphy agreed to a two year deal. They also traded Drew Stubbs for LH reliever Josh Outman. I wouldn’t think that the Tribe is done this offseason. They still need need to add to their pitching staff and take a look at adding a big bat to the lineup.  

Who’s left to sign?

Jason Bay – he signed with Seattle last year and struggled throughout the year.  He could be a one year, DH option to sign.

Kendrys Moralesafter his leg injury he sustained with the Angels, he’ll be relegated to a DH role. And with the amount of walk-off wins the Indians have had this past season, I would think that that puts Morales at high-risk of getting injured once again(sarcasm).

Grand Balfour – The Orioles decided not to sign him after his physical so that could bring his price tag down and make him more affordable for the Indians.

Bronson Arroyo – He’s been consistent and hasn’t been injured as much as our pitching staff in the past.  He could make a huge impact in Cleveland and the longer he stays on the market, the greater the chance that the Indians could sign him.

The Dodgers have signed Chris Perez to a one year deal, Kazmir has signed with Oakland, and Joe Smith signed a three year, $15.75M contract with the Angels. Ubaldo Jimenez is unlikely to return to Cleveland after testing the free agency waters. Cleveland’s bullpen with have to rely on Vinnie Pestano & John Axford to bounce back and have a good year.

There are a lot of question marks with the Indians pitching.

Mike Brown Can’t Pronounce Omer Asik’s Name

The Akron Beacon Journal has reported that the Cavs are passing on a direct trade with Houston for Omer Asik.  There’s still a chance that they will be involved in a three team trade to help move him, though.

If Mike Brown can’t even pronounce him name, I’d hope he’s right that the Cavs are not going after him.

Also on the trade radar has been Dion Waiters. Whether he wants to admit it or not, many sources are indicating that he wants out and the Cavs have been reported to be shopping him around.  Bleacher Report quoted a source as saying Waiters “prefers to go to Philly because he thinks he’d be the best player on the team. That’s his mindset.”

The 76ers are a trade target as well as the Chicago Bulls. They have indicated that they want to move Luol Deng and the Bulls may make for a better trade option for the Cavs.

Cavs Trade Rumors

It seems the latest rumors are revolving around the Houston Rockets moving Omer Asik.  Apparently he hasn’t been very happy in Houston since Dwight Howard‘s arrival…and who could blame him? Houston is looking for a power forward to add to the squad.

One possible trade scenario that is being talked about is a three team deal involving the Cavs, Celtics, and Rockets. The Celtics would give up Jeff Green to Cleveland(Cavs would absorb his contract), Asik would go to Boston, and the Rockets would take a future first round pick(s). The salary cap math gets a little sketchy and other players would have to be involved to make it work. The deal may be just a rumor too – Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated says there’s no way that Boston will move Jeff Green.

There were rumors that Asik could be traded directly to the Cavs for Anderson Verejao, but those rumors have since quieted.

The Philedelphia 76ers are another team that could land Asik in a deal involving Spencer Hawes and a future first round pick. But again, another team may have to get involved to make the salary cap math work.

CBS has also reported why a Paul Milsap-for-Omer Asik trade doesn’t make sense for Atlanta, so the rumors on that trade could be based in Houston.

Bill Baptist/Getty Images

The biggest thing Houston is focusing on is keeping enough cap space open to re-sign Chandler Parsons who will require a big raise when his contract expires.

The biggest players in this trade talks are the Hawks, Celtics, Cavs, and 76ers.  The Knicks have also been rumored to be a “wild card” team in the mix. Tomorrow is the deadline that Houston has set to move Asik. It should also be added that Omer Asik’s contract is up in two years and will be owed $20 million over that time span.

Tampa Bay’s David Price-tag is Ridiculous

The starting price for the Tampa Bay Rays to even consider a trade for David Price included the names Danny Salazar & Carlos Santana. Francisco Lindor‘s name was also mentioned…it also wouldn’t surprise me if TB demanded Cleveland bring back The Great Bambino from the dead so that he could be included as well.

keithallisonphoto.com

Don’t kid yourself – David Price is a rental. He’s going to require $100 million for up to five years when he hits free agency and it’s unlikely that the Tribe will match that deal. He’s also likely to make $28 million over the next two years. To me it would be a big surprise if the former Cy Young winner ended up in Cleveland and if it costs us two of the best prospects in MLB & a young star like Santana I hope he doesn’t. Price’s agent also said that he wouldn’t sign extensions with certain teams which includes Seattle – and I wouldn’t think Cleveland would be very high on his wishlist.

Indians Looking for Experienced Closer

 

The Indians currently have an offer our to Joaquin Benoit and have also been connected with former Brewers closer John Axford.

Even though the Tribe hasn’t made any big splashes during the Winter Meetings, you should remember that they signed Nick Swisher around Christmas time last year and they didn’t sign Michael Bourn until February.

Indians & Padres Have Offers to Benoit

The Indians and Padres both have offers out to Joaquin Benoit for $14M or more for two years.

Photo: CBS

Benoit is 36, but still pitched 67 innings for the Tigers with 2.01 ERA last season.

The Rockies also had an offer out to the reliever, but was said to be too expensive for them.

 

Justin Masterson to be traded?

Chris Antonetti recently said that he wants Justin Masterson to be an Indian “long term”. This is a tricky situation for the Tribe’s front office right now. They are trying to sign Masterson to a multi-year deal so that he doesn’t disappear during free agency, but they are also weighing their trade options just in case they feel he may leave.  Cleveland fans hope that a trade isn’t likely to happen, but that won’t stop Antonetti from listening to offers for his number one starter.

(Jae C. Huy, Associated Press)

If the Tribe were to deal Masterson, it would leave the starting rotation in disarray and would signal from the front office that last year was a fluke, not a building block to another postseason appearance. The Indians have already lost Scott Kazmir to Oakland and it looks as though Ubaldo Jimenez is not going to re-sign.

“Part of my job is to listen and understand how the industry and other teams value our players. There are a lot of guys we’ve talked about – and you guys have asked specifically about for three years – and all of those guys are still here and our answer is the same.” Antonetti told the Plain Dealer.

Cabrera is also a trade target. He’s also scheduled to become a free agent the same time that Masterson is.

This morning Bob Nightengale with USA Today indicated that the New York Yankees were interested in Masterson and that Brett Gardner could be moved to acquire him. Since the Indians have no need for another OF, another team would have to be involved.

Another trade option for Masterson is him landing in Arizona. The Diamondbacks reportedly “would really love to land Masterson” according to NY Post columnist Joel Sherman.

All this trade talk might make one think that the front office is serious about trading Masterson, but if they want to win next season (and I believe they do) then he’ll stay in a Cleveland uniform for at least one more season. Time is on Masterson’s side – his agent indicated he’d like to see where the FA market for pitchers end up. It’s likely if the Indians lure him away from free agency it will be with a $65 million deal or more for at least five years.

But don’t forget our past trades: C.C. Sebathia & Cliff Lee. They were both our number one starters at one time and close to free agency before being traded…let’s hope Masterson doesn’t leave the same way.