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Declined the 2005 Option of RHRP Bob Wickman ($5M)

Like Vizquel, this doesn’t do anything to damage the chance of Wicky coming back. I think the biggest issue right now is whether Wickman wants to play another season or not. If not, the Indians will explore some of the other closer options, including guys like Troy Percival, Armando Benitez, and John Smoltz. If you’ve read my blog previously, I don’t place much stock in spending a ton of money on the bullpen. That being said, if Benitez can be had for $3M, I think the Indians would be crazy not to go for it. The good thing is that a lot of the larger market teams have closers under contract, so the Indians might find a couple bargains via free agency.

Outrighted IF Lou Merloni and C Tim Laker; Both elected free agency

Laker is gone, but Merloni will most likely be back. Wedge made silk out of a sow’s ear platooning Broussard and Merloni at first base most of the season, but now that Josh Phelps is around, Merloni should be able to go back to being a nice backup infielder. If Casey Blake does in fact play second base next season, Merloni might fit into an offense/defense platoon at second. Maybe he’ll be Jake Westbrook’s personal second baseman.

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