Last winter, the Indians were late entrants in the race for Michael Bourn, who agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal with the Tribe in late February after seeing his value on the free agent market decline. While his numbers were not spectacular (.263/.316/.360), Bourn did help the Tribe to their first playoff berth in six seasons.
The Indians have not been mentioned as a suitor for Masahiro Tanaka, but they could be contenders for pitchers who have seen their own free agent process stalled as teams pursue the Japanese sensation. Jimenez, Matt Garza or Bronson Arroyo could lower their demands as spring training approaches, and the Tribe could get another bargain.
"If it gets to the point where a one- or two-year contract is possible, then the Indians might again be players to re-sign Big U," wrote MLB.com's Jordan Bastian on Monday.
Over the holidays, our Jim Bowden felt Jimenez could stay in Cleveland:
"Jimenez had his best year since 2010 when he posted a 3.30 ERA and a career-high 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. However, his career inconsistency in both performance and mechanics have most teams lukewarm, considering his high asking price. Therefore, many in the industry believe he will return to the Indians on a short-term 'pillow' deal, which would allow him to prove that he’s truly turned the corner."