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Trading for Jake Westbrook?

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On another forum, I saw FOLSB BurntOrange suggest that an Akinori Otsuka for Jake Westbrook trade would make some sense.

Thinking about it, I think that's a deal that has a real possibility of happening, and that would make sense for both teams. The Indians exercised their 2007 contract option on Westbrook, and he's owed $6.1 million for next season. Otsuka is looking at about $4-5 million for 2007 through arbitration.

Trading Otsuka means no "proven closer" for 2007, but Ron Washington has been coaching in Oakland for a while, where there has been something of a revolving door at the closer spot for some time, and Jon Daniels doesn't seem like the type of g.m. who is going to be wedded to the notion of having to have a "proven closer." If Frankie Francisco is healthy and throwing the way he was in 2004, you can plug him into the closer role, with Wes Littleton and C.J. Wilson in setup roles, Scott Feldman, Kam Loe and Ron Mahay as middle men, and Joaquin Benoit (if he's brought back), Nick Masset, or an NRI like Rick Bauer as your long man. You don't have quite the depth you'd have with Otsuka, but you'd have a quality starting pitcher.

And of course, Buck Showalter is apparently going to be in the Cleveland front office shortly, which might help facilitate making a deal. Buck, of course, famously claimed that there's a reason Otsuka wasn't a closer anymore, early in the 2006 season, but seemed to warm to Otsuka as a closer as the season went on.

Also, with Buck's familiarity with the Rangers system, there might be some Rangers prospects he'd value more highly than those still here -- think, for example, of Grady Fuson's targeting of Vince Sinisi and John Hudgins last season -- and thus you could see some prospects involved on either side to facilitate a deal that, perhaps, neither Mark Shapiro nor Jon Daniels would necessarily do head-up.

The Rangers have been rumored to be interested in Westbrook for a while, and the Indians' official website recently included a piece about the Indians looking to patch their hole at closer via a trade.

It is something to keep an eye on, but it seems so logical that you'd think it couldn't possibly end up happening...