This morning, I had the privilege of interviewing Cleveland Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro. Despite just clinching a playoff spot and preparing for the post season, he gave me ten minutes to ask him some questions. Shapiro has been with the Indians since 1991 and recently lost his Special Assistant Neal Huntington to the Pirates, so he is a pretty busy guy right about now. I want to thank him again for giving me this interview, I really appreciate it.
ELI: You started with the Indians in 1991, what was your title then?
MARK: I wouldn't even say that I had a title, but I guess you could say Assistant in Baseball Operations.
ELI: Neal Huntington is going to the Pirates, how do you think he will do?
MARK: I think he will do great. He is prepared as possible, has had ideal training, knows how to develop players, has negotiated contracts, and has made important decisions, so I think he will do a great job there.
ELI: You were able to get Beau Mills signed early and off to the minors, where do you see him fitting into your future plans?
MARK: We usually don't look at him like that. We know his potential to be a middle of the order bat and help are team so we will see how he does as time goes on. We always try to draft guys that we would not be able to sign on the free agent market, and I think because we signed him early, he benefited and will ultimately make it sooner.
ELI: Was he eager to sign?
MARK: Yeah, I think he saw that the sooner he signed, the sooner he could make money and make it to the big leagues.
ELI: Now that the draft is over and you can plan for next season, what did you think of the rule change?
MARK: I think it had a minor impact on some teams.
ELI: Being in player development for so long, what did you see working for Fausto Carmona that wasn't working last season?
MARK: He developed the ability to slow the game down, remain focused on the mound, and execute his pitches more effectively. But his ability to slow it down allowed him to relax and get comfortable, which was a problem last season.
ELI: How many trade proposals are received a season?
MARK: There aren't many formal proposals but the ones the fans usually hear about do have some sort of significance in terms of they were talked about. Teams are always looking to improve their team so talks are ongoing all year.
ELI: The acquisition of Kenny Lofton sparked the team, how long was he on your radar?
MARK: I'd say a good amount of time. Once Dellucci went down we checked the list of corner outfielders and saw the Lofton would probably most help the team.
ELI: If you get the choice to which playoff schedule to follow, do you know which one you will take?
MARK: Yes, but I'm not going to tell you.
ELI: What would you say is the slow time during the off season?
MARK: Probably the end of December to early February. There just isn't a lot that has to be done during that time.
ELI: What do you hope to address this off season?
MARK: Not a lot of glaring needs so I think we will address internal contracts and always try to fortify are pitching.
ELI: Besides Jacobs Fields, do you have a favorite stadium?
MARK: I like Camden Yards because I grew up there and because of its history.
ELI: Do you usually travel with the team?
MARK: I'm not a big believer in traveling with the team. I do it strategically.
ELI: Princeton football is looking pretty good, any chance they could beat Michigan this season?
MARK: [Laughs] No.