Antonetti, Indians on the hunt at Meetings

Antonetti, Indians on the hunt at Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Many of baseball's big-ticket names have started to fall off the board, beginning the process of whittling the list of players available this offseason. There will surely be more marquee maneuvers this week at the Winter Meetings.

Members of the Indians' front office have arrived to the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort for the Meetings, which opened on Monday and will run through Thursday. As the high-priced players start to find new homes, the market continues to take shape for a Cleveland club in search of bargains.

The Tribe's primary areas of need exist in the rotation and at the hot corner, and the team will continue its hunt for help on the mound and at third base this week. The Winter Meetings provide a forum for face-to-face discussion among baseball's general managers, and Indians GM Chris Antonetti plans on taking advantage.

Cleveland is working with limited finances -- the payroll will likely be trimmed down to somewhere in the $40 million to $50 million range -- and is balancing its long-term plan with immediate needs on the roster. The Tribe believes it has a talented young group in place, but a few tweaks are needed to supplement the developing core.

Another offseason priority for the Indians was to explore the possibility of a contract extension for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Antonetti will likely attempt to continue that dialogue with Choo's agent, Scott Boras, this week at the Meetings. Choo is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.

In terms of pitching, the Indians finished the 2010 campaign with the youngest staff in the American League. Cleveland would like to add an experienced arm or two to the rotation to hopefully provide some reliability and leadership to the group. The Tribe will not, however, be in the mix for any high-priced starters.

At third base, the Indians are hoping to find a relatively inexpensive solution to help buy more time for prospect Lonnie Chisenhall's development. The Tribe reportedly has interest in free-agent Nick Punto, and the team will likely discuss Edwin Encarnacion, who became a free agent after being non-tendered by the A's on Thursday.

As the Winter Meetings move along, be sure to send any questions for possible inclusion in an upcoming Inbox to IndiansInbox@gmail.com, and make yourself heard by posting comments below articles on MLB.com.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.