Pujols, Fielder too pricey; Tribe seeks other first base options

John Nestor – AHN Sports Correspondent

Dallas, TX, United States (AHN Sports) – Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are out there but not for the Cleveland Indians. The two slugging first basemen will command contracts too rich for the Indians, who are looking at other options at the winter meetings.

Matt LaPorta may still have a role with the Indians and may even turn out to be the answer at first base but the team is exploring possible upgrades.

LaPorta was expected to be the answer at first base when the Indians acquired him from the Brewers in a trade deadline deal four seasons ago but it hasn’t worked out as planned. In three seasons in the big leagues, LaPorta has hit .238 with 30 home runs and 115 RBIs over 269 games.

Last season he hit just .247 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs in 107 games.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said that the team has not lost faith in LaPorta but it seems that the Indians are not willing to guarantee him a spot on the Opening Day roster.

“We still think Matt has a lot of potential,” Antonetti said. “He’s demonstrated at different points in the past that he can be a very productive Major League hitter. The challenge for Matt is to demonstrate that consistency over the course of a full season.

“We’re hopeful that he can do that, and do that as early as next year, but right now our job is to build the best team that we can. We’ll look at all avenues to improve the team.”

After Pujols and Fielder there are options like Carlos Pena and Derrek Lee, but they also may be a little too pricey for the Indians. Free-agent Casey Kotchman has been linked to the Indians but he does not have the power that the Indians are looking for.

If Pujols does end up with the Miami Marlins a name to look out for would be Gaby Sanchez.

The Marlins would likely look to move the 28-year-old Sanchez, who hit .266 with 19 homers and 78 RBI in 159 games for the Marlins last season.

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