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IBI Power Poll: The Indians biggest concern?

Is there a player or situation that worries you heading into 2013?

IBI Power Poll: The Indians biggest concern?
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
March 18, 2013
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The Cleveland Indians’ roster appears to be close to set as the Indians round out their spring training over the next two weeks. The only battle may come down to the final utility role, the final spot in the starting rotation, and perhaps some semantics in the bullpen, depending on how many pitchers the Indians choose to break camp with.
With the focus clearly turning to the start of the major league season in April, the focus of Today’s power poll will head that direction as well.
The majority of discussion around the Indians has been positive, but hidden among all of the roster changes have been some players who have struggled a bit in Spring Training. While I’m not a guy that worries about spring training numbers all that much, they can provide a bit of insight as to how a player is going to start the year off.
Which Indians player are you most worried about heading into the 2013 season?
The candidates:
  1. Jason Kipnis-Kipper is currently hitting .162, and has struggled mightily since last August. Is this something that’s going to pass, or is he still mired in some hybrid of the sophomore slump?

  2. Drew Stubbs-There’s been a lot of talk about new surroundings for Stubbs, as well as a new approach at the plate. So far that new approach (a much more simple swing, that really looks good) has looked a lot like the old approach. He’s hitting .216, with 11 K’s and two walks. The K’s are the most on the team in the spring.

  3. Michael Bourn-Bourn comes to the American League for the first time, and with it comes some concern that his offense will take a hit. So far, the Tribe centerfielder has gotten off to an extremely slow start, hitting .222, with a double and a triple. Will speed prevail here, or is Bourn’s numbers going to continue their downward trend?

  4. Asdrubal Cabrera-Cabrera has looked good from the start. He’s in shape and ready to play in what could turn into a massive year for the Indians’ shortstop. There’s a part of me that wonders, though, if playing non-stop this entire offseason won’t eventually wear him down? Of course, with down-time, would Cabrera come in looking like the ‘Round Mound of Rebound?” I should probably eliminate his name from the list, but he’s a curiosity to me.

  5. Nick Hagadone-This kid has been unstoppable so far this offseason, showcasing the type of talent that he has. With that said, he started off the season in the bigs last year in a similar fashion, and we all know how that ended. Is Hagadone finally for real, or will his “stuff” become all too familiar to the big league hitters he faces?

  6. Scott Kazmir-When Terry Francona talks about Kazmir and his rejuvenation, he keeps talking about whether or not the balloon is full yet, or if there’s more progress to be made. What if the balloon is full? Is Kazmir going to pop?

  7. Carlos Carrasco-Carrasco is in an interesting situation. He’s missed 1 ½ years, and he was coming off of a dominant month of pitching when he got hurt. Taking all that into account, there’s a lot on his shoulders this year to be a top-end guy at some point. Can Carrasco come back healthy and return to form, or is he destined to be a guy that just misses?

  8. Ubaldo Jimenez-He’s had flashes of good in the spring, but in the end, is he
    just a guy that “just gets by?” I can’t help but feel that he’s similar to Kazmir in that I can’t help but think his balloon is full and about to pop again, or still popped from 2011.

  9. Vinnie Pestano-Pestano’s stuff is electric, of that there is no doubt. With that said, he got lit up like a firecracker this past Friday night in the U.S.’s elimination game, turning a 1-0 Puerto Rico lead into a 4-0 lead. The U.S. would lose 4-3. It’s only the WBC, but I get the impression that Pestano took this whole thing very seriously. Will it make him better, or will it hurt him in the 2013 season?

  10. Justin Masterson-Alright, I have to say it, is he a starter, or a reliever?

  11. Jason Giambi-Giambi appears a lock to make this club as the 25th guy. Will his addition mean a guy like Chris McGuiness goes away, and becomes a solid everyday player in Texas down the road?

  12. The starting pitching-It will never be good enough to help an offense that will be pretty good.

  13. This team—is overhyped, and will never be able to match the buzz it has created in Cleveland 

  14. Other—I’ll post it below!!!
To be quite honest, this was a piece that I wanted to avoid writing this year. The vibe around Cleveland has been nothing but positive, when generally things are about as optimistic as a demolition derby. So here’s my line of thinking here. I’m the optimist here at IBI, so I thought I’d be the one to throw the curve ball out there with this piece about the worries of this team.
My commentary is simple: I’m not worried about a thing right now with this team, other than that starting rotation. I know there are pieces to the offense that may not jibe. I know that there will be a ton more strikeouts. I know that there will be strikeouts and blown saves and bad starts. I know that there will be one or two or more of the guys listed above that will struggle.
I also believe that this team is built to overcome that.
What’s your biggest concern?

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at

User Comments

March 19, 2013 - 5:00 PM EDT
Biggest concern by far is the starting pitching. That being said, we have eight legitimate candidates if you include Bauer, Carrasco, and Kluber. We should be able to come up with three good starters and two mediocre ones by the time we get to June.

Maybe nine candidates if Danny Salazar comes along quickly.
March 19, 2013 - 2:10 PM EDT
My biggest concern is Masterson. Ubie doesn't concern me because I have no expectations, other than that he'll stink. If Masterson doesn't bounce back we're dead.
Canadian Joe
March 19, 2013 - 11:25 AM EDT
The starting pitching is still a concern to me. Also, how long it takes management to make any necessary changes, as there is now some depth at Columbus. Myers, Ubaldo and Kazmir are the concerns, however Bauer and Carrasco I believe could step in after 6-8 starts. Also, would like to see Barnes and Haley start some games on the farm. Both have good, live arms that could translate to rotation help, if needed.
March 19, 2013 - 9:19 AM EDT
I voted Ubaldo but I think the key will be how Francona uses his bullpen and how quick of a hook he'll have. I see the BP as being the strength of the pitching staff and also that in today's game a strong BP is almost as important as the starting pitching. If the starters have a slow start, how quickly will TF and the FO give them before bringing in reinforcements.

I hope the rotation starts strong and stays strong but I could also see the Indians dropping the Giambi experience for another BP arm so they don't wear out the BP with the quick hook.
March 19, 2013 - 8:22 AM EDT
MEYERS is shaky. Lets try hagadone as a starter again please
March 18, 2013 - 6:40 PM EDT
Brett Myers - is he a reliever or starter?
March 18, 2013 - 3:40 PM EDT
The offense, even with less than steller years from guys like Reynolds and Stubbs, will be light years ahead of the Tribe's anemic offense of last year. If everyone just has an average year offensively thet will be competitive.

I'll go with 8 and 10 because if these guys repeat last year's inconsistency the season is doomed. The starting 5 has a chance to be adequate but if the wheels fall off early, 2013 will be all the more disheartening because the team has a chance to compete.
March 18, 2013 - 2:04 PM EDT
**other - John Mirabelli still heavily involved with the Tribe's drafts.

**other (to a lessor extent) - Matt Underwood still using "Souvenir City" as a home run call
March 18, 2013 - 1:16 PM EDT
That's a tough question. I think what worries me the most is still Myers. Ubaldo I expect little from, but I expect he'll have a pretty short leash with Bauer and Carrasco ready to go. Myers, on the other hand, will have a longer leash. I would feel better about things if Myers were Kyle Lohse or Carlos Carrasco.
March 18, 2013 - 12:19 PM EDT
Winning in baseball begins and ends with pitching and this is where the worry is in this year's Indians. The opening day starter -the ace- is now in his fourth season and has never proven he can win on a regular basis. The number 2 has restless arm disease behind his back and you never know which way it's going to be pointing when it comes forward. The number 3's last job was as a relief pitcher and he has yet to show he can fool anybody the second time thru the order. The number 4- Zach Mac- I like him- he's a tenacious horse w pretty good stuff, if they had 3 more like him I would be less worried. The number 5 pitched last year for the circus league Sugarland Skeeters- that was the only place he was offered a job. The scary part of all this is the Indians made some nice moves in the offseason to bolster the offense, defense and team chemistry, which all had fallen on hard times last year. Well the offense tends to get demoralized when they come up to bat in the first few innings and the score is 3 or 4 to nothing. And the defense gets tired of having to make highlight reel plays every inning to stay in the game. And the chemistry, well there's nothing as good for chemistry as the belief you can win everyday. If the starting pitching is not there, the belief is not there and the whole thing goes putrid. I'm not saying the starting pitching can't get the job done- it's March 18 for chris'sake, but if you're a worrier that''s where the wall is.
March 18, 2013 - 12:02 PM EDT
The only thing on the list I am not worried about is Nick Hagadone. I think he will have is act together after last years fiasco. The good news is that last year my big concerns were the bullpen and Kipnis and I thought the starting pitcher would be better than the year before.That is why I am a fan and not an expert, but what the heck that is why we play the games.

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