Indians general manager Chris Antonetti sat down with a group of local media Friday before he headed for the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando that kick off Monday. He touched on a variety of subjects related to the team, including on the recent headlining moves of the Tribe's division foes.
On the AL Central: "The Tigers, Twins and Royals have all made moves to improve themselves. The White Sox added a really good player in (Bobby) Abreu. I expect it to be a very competive division. Hoplefully we’ll be right there in the mix."
On the Indians not making similiar big moves so far: "We went into the off season with a defined set of needs, in a much better position than maybe the last few off seasons. Really, some of our strategy last off season was to put ourselves in a stronger position this off season. Some of those players we acquired last year with impact us moving forward."
On whether starting pitching and bullpen help is a priority: "We need to make sure we find the right guys at the right values."
On looking for pitching help outside of the organization: "I'm not sure we need to. Our preference would be to try to improve our alternatives if we find the right guys at the right value...We have quality in-house alternatives for starters and hope to get more innings from (Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin).
On trying to find another pitcher who can have a comeback year like Scott Kazmir: "We’ll spend time trying to find those guys again. Our medical staff and our coaches do a really good job of working together and have a coordinated approach to put those guys in the best position to be successful."
On looking at free agents and trades, which way likely to go: "It's hard to say, have had outstanding offers both ways. We could go either direction or both."
On not making big moves yet: "I don’t think last year at this point we’d made any significant acquisitions. I may be off on the dates. This year we’ve already made a significant acquision with David Muprhy and other smaller deals. We expect there will be other activity between now and spring training. The magnitude of that is hard to say."
On the Tigers' trade of Prince Fielder and Doug Fister: "I expect them to be a better team next year. Dave Dombrowski is extraordinarily good at what he does in building a roster and an organization. They’ve got a lot of good players back."
On whether good to not have to face Fielder: "There are a lot of guys you have to face. Individually am I happy we don’t have to face Prince Fielder? Yeah, but now we have to face Ian Kinsler instead. I’m very confident Detroit is going to have a very formidable lineup. They already do."
On getting over the hump against the Tigers, whether it's a psychological barrier: "We don’t look at it any one way about a particular opponent. Inevitably there are going to be teams you fare better against than others in a given year. Is anyone asking the Tigers why they couldn’t beat anyone but the Indians? Our record against everyone else was better than the Tigers. I would expect us to be better against the Tigers next year, but maybe not be 17-2 against the White Sox."
On the general state of organization: "I think organizationally and in our minor league system, we're a lot stronger than we were 12 months ago."