Indians president Mark Shapiro expects to sign a closer soon

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Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reports that Indians president Mark Shapiro expects to sign a new closer soon. After releasing Chris Perez at the end of October, the Indians are currently without a closer and prefer to bring in one from outside rather than promote Cody Allen or Bryan Shaw.

Hoynes writes that the Indians have reportedly made a two-year offer to Joaquin Benoit and have also targeted John Axford, Grant Balfour, and Fernando Rodney. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports clarified, saying that the Indians are focused on Axford. Axford was non-tendered by the Cardinals as he was expected to make close to $5 million in arbitration. Since an impressive 2011 season with the Brewers which put him at the back end of NL Cy Young balloting, the right-hander has posted a 4.35 ERA in 134.1 innings.

Indians are interested in Brad Hand

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Indians are among the teams interested in Padres closer Brad Hand.

The could certainly use the bullpen help, as their relievers rank 29th in the majors with 5.28 ERA. Hand would provde that help has he has a 3.05 ERA and 65/15 K/BB ratio and 24 saves over over 44.1 innings of work. He’s also provide an insurance policy for the next two seasons given that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen due to hit free agency this winter. Hand, meanwhile, is under contract for this year and next for a total of $13.5 million, with a $10 million club option for 2021.

He’d cost a lot, but he’d also solve a problem for the Indians, both in the short term and the long term.