Mixed results for Cleveland's deals

  • Article by: CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE JOE CHRISTENSEN'S LOOK AT THE AL CENTRAL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 14, 2007 - 5:05 PM

After locking up Travis Hafner and Jake Westbrook with contract extensions this season, Cleveland's next concern is C.C. Sabathia, who can hit the free-agent market -- just like the Twins' Johan Santana -- after 2008.

The Indians continue to negotiate aggressively with their young players, a policy that goes back to how they handled Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle and Co. before they moved into Jacobs Field in 1994.

Hafner was a force last year, batting .308 with 42 home runs and 117 RBI. But when he signed his four-year, $57 deal over the All-Star break, he was batting just .262 with 14 homers and 57 RBI.

Money can't always buy consistency. Westbrook passed up a chance to be one of the most coveted pitchers on the free-agent market when he signed his three-year, $33 million deal. He missed time because of a strained rib cage muscle this year and entered the weekend 1-4 with a 6.27 ERA.

Last August, Cleveland signed lefthander Cliff Lee to a three-year, $14 million extension. Also hobbled this season, he entered the weekend 5-5 with a 5.23 ERA.

Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who signed a five-year, $13 million extension last spring, slumped to .257 last season before rebounding nicely this year.

Then there's Victor Martinez and Grady Sizemore. Martinez, who signed a five-year, $15.5 million deal in 2005, entered the weekend batting .324 with 16 homers and 68 RBI.

Sizemore, who signed a six-year, $23.4 million deal last spring, is having another All-Star season at age 24.

Guillen's progression

Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen was named to his second All-Star team and entered the weekend leading major league shortstops in on-base-plus-slugging percentage at .961. Twins shortstop Jason Bartlett, for comparison, had an OPS of .653.

Some players get better every year. Guillen has the stats to prove it.

Since 2000, in seasons in which he has played at least 90 games, Guillen's batting average has jumped from .257 to .259 to .261 to .276 to .318 to .320, and he entered the weekend batting .322.

Around the division

• After signing Mark Buehrle to a four-year extension, the White Sox have him signed through 2011. Jon Garland is up after 2008, Jose Contreras after 2009 and Javier Vazquez not until 2010. Rumors are floating that Chicago will soon look to trade Contreras or Vazquez.

• While the Twins hope to play host to the 2015 All-Star Game in their new ballpark, the Royals expect to draw the 2012 event at then-renovated Kauffman Stadium. Commissioner Bud Selig promised Kansas City an All-Star Game when voters approved $250 million in upgrades. Kansas City hasn't been home to the midsummer classic since 1973.

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