Indians eyeing ex-stars Thome, Hafner & others -- though not Manny
Cleveland has a little money to spend and will add a hitter, who could be an ex-Indians standout like Jim Thome or Travis Hafner. Manny Ramirez does not appear to be a thought, though.
The Indians are looking to add a hitter, have a few bucks to spend (but not too many bucks) and are considering a reunion with several former longtime Indians.
Jim Thome and Travis Hafner are two of the ex-Indians being considered, among other free agents. There has been a hint of buzz about a possible Manny Ramirez reunion, but the ex-Indians great who is tearing it up on the winter league playoffs is not a consideration at this point, one person familiar with the Indians' thinking said.
Thome, who had eight homers, 25 RBI and .252 batting average with the Phillies and Orioles this past season, carries the added bonus of being a beloved figure. He played for the Indians from 1991-2002 and again in '11 and is likely a future Hall of Famer. Thome is 42, two years older than Ramirez, his longtime Indians teammate.
Hafner, who had 12 homers, 34 RBI and a .228 batting average in 2012, played the last 10 years for the Indians. Hafner was a star for the first half of his Indians career but has been hampered by injuries in recent years.
Other free-agent hitters still available include Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, Carlos Lee, Jason Giambi, Juan Rivera, Johnny Damon (another onetime Indian) and Casey Kotchman (another ex-Indian). Grady Sizemore (yet another longtime Indian) is also a free agent, but won't be ready for the start of the season.
But Ramirez, who is aiming for a comeback, is not on the Indians' radar. He was hot in the playoffs for Aguilas in the Dominican winter league but has a hill to climb. He didn't play in thje majors last season after spending spring training with the A's and had only 17 at-bats in 2011 with the Rays.