Three Indians File For Free Agency
Mike B. | On 30, Oct 2011
Three Indians, Jim Thome, Kosuke Fukudome and Chad Durbin each filed for free agency on Sunday afternoon, the first day that players could file. Most likely, it is their final act as Cleveland Indians. Each are expected to sign elsewhere for the 2012 season.
Thome returned to Cleveland for the final five weeks of the season, replacing the injured Travis Hafner and trying to push the Tribe into the playoffs. The homecoming did not end in a playoff appearance, but on Jim Thome night it was revealed that Thome would have a statue built in his honor in centerfield. Thome told the City Club of Cleveland last week that he wants to play in 2012. With Hafner still under contract, it is doubtful he would return to Cleveland next season.
Fukudome was acquired in July before the trade deadline and was a spark to the Indian offense. While he may be the most likely of the three to return to Cleveland, his chances are still below average. The 34-year old outfielder hits from the left side in what is already a lefty heavy lineup. Assuming Grady Sizemore‘s option is declined on Monday as it has been speculated, the Indians are looking for a left fielder for 2012 and Fukudome has never played there.
Durbin was a one-year signing last spring. Durbin hoped to work his way to the back of the bullpen, but a subpar 2011 left him as a long relief and mop up pitcher. Considering he was unhappy with his role, it would be safe to assume he will not be returing to Progressive Field in friendly colors next season.
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