Indians' GM Gets 5-Year Extension

Thursday, March 15th 2007, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) _ General manager Mark Shapiro agreed to a five-year contract extension through the 2012 season with the Cleveland Indians, a team he has dismantled and rebuilt into a playoff contender.

Shapiro was only signed through this season _ his sixth as Cleveland's GM _ before working out a new deal with president Paul Dolan.

``We are extremely pleased with the leadership, direction, passion and pride Mark has instilled in the Cleveland Indians organization,'' Dolan said in a statement. ``It's crucial for Mark to remain in this executive role to ensure the continued success of the Cleveland Indians franchise.''

Shapiro's duties will remain the same. There had been speculation that his role with the club might expand.

Shapiro, who finalized the contract during spring training, had signed a two-year extension in 2004.

The 40-year-old Shapiro has been the driving force behind the Indians' resurgence in the AL.

In 2002, with the Indians unable to contend and rebuild simultaneously, Shapiro traded top pitcher Bartolo Colon to the Montreal Expos for outfielder Grady Sizemore, pitcher Cliff Lee and infielder Brandon Phillips.

The deal signaled the beginning of Shapiro's massive reconstruction of the Indians, who had been one baseball's top franchises since 1995, winning six AL Central titles and two pennants under GM John Hart.

After winning only 68 games in 2003, the Indians jumped to 80 wins in 2004. The following season Cleveland went 93-69 but missed the playoffs when they collapsed in the season's final week. However, Shapiro was named baseball's top executive by the Sporting News.

The Indians were expected to contend last season, but a poor start coupled with baseball's worst bullpen resulted in a 78-84 record and fourth-place finish in their division.

This winter, Shapiro put off working on his own contract to rebuild Cleveland's bullpen and add championship-caliber players to compliment a roster of young stars like Sizemore, Travis Hafner and C.C. Sabathia.

Shapiro joined the Indians in 1992 as an assistant in baseball operations.