What do a known steroid user, an alleged "gyroball" pitcher, a mafia don, an all-star outfielder, a two-time World Series champion manager and the host of "The Price is Right" have in common?
They all call Cleveland home.
The Cleveland Indians have been pushing the pedal to the metal just before Spring Training gets underway, re-signing their emotional leader and closer, Chris Perez, as well as inking three free agents and a manager.
After spending eight years with the Boston Red Sox and a year at ESPN, Terry Francona takes over at the helm. Francona helped the Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years, and will embark on a mission to give Cleveland their first since 1948.
On Tuesday, the Tribe greatly improved their outfield by signing free agent Michael Bourn to a four year $48 million contract.
While those first three transactions will be huge for any success to be had for the Indians, the club also made some suspect ones. They signed Jason Giambi and Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deals within a couple days of each other. Francona and Matsuzaka are familiar with each other, but I doubt that will help his performance. And as far as Giambi is concerned, Francona is familiar with the 42-year-old former as a Yankee, whom he had to strategize against.
Those weren't the only moves that Cleveland has made so far. Another familiar enemy to Tito, Nick Swisher was picked up by the Tribe earlier in the offseason for a hefty $56 million price tag. Drew Stubbs came over from the Reds in a three-team trade along with three pitchers including former Orioles Red Sox reliever Matt Albers.
The Indians are another one of those teams that has been lying in the weeds for a few seasons now and has poised themselves to be a serious contender in the AL Central. I can't wait for Spring Training games to start, and I can't wait for MLB 2K13 to come out so I can make some sense of where all these players are and how these teams look.