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The Tribe is alive, but next year they will thrive (Part 1)

The Tribe is alive, but next year they will thrive (Part 1)
The Indians could do a lot of celebrating next season with the promising team they have assembled. (Photo: AP)
September 19, 2014
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Fans of the Cleveland Indians are surely disappointed as the team stumbled mightily in the first two weeks of September, a month which proved so successful for them in last season’s torrid sprint to the playoffs.

While the Tribe is still mathematically alive, their failure to take advantage of tremendous starting pitching has cost them a great opportunity to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons, as there seems to be too many good teams ahead of them to pull off a miracle finish in 2014. But you know what?

That’s okay.

It has been a challenging, yet entertaining season for the Indians. But the best part of this season… is next season.

Come again? Hasn’t the mantra of the Tribe always been, “Wait ‘til next year?”

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But there is a huge difference as to why the 2015 version of the Cleveland Indians gives much for the organization and its fans to be excited about. That difference is a compelling core of young stars, and an opportunity to have one of the best, young staffs in baseball.

Let’s start with that young pitching.

Corey Kluber (28) has morphed into a true #1 to lead the group. At 28 years old, he’s just into his prime, and possesses a wicked combination of power and durability that will keep the Indians in any game against any pitcher. (Post-All-Star numbers:  7-3 / 1.84 ERA / 102 K / 16 BB)

Carlos Carrasco (27) has emerged from the bullpen with a whole new attitude to go with his killer arsenal. Fresh off a two-hit, complete game shutout, Carrasco continues to do more than flash his front-of-the-rotation potential. He has maintained it over a period of time, and at a level never before met in his tenure in the majors. And at age 27, Carrasco is in his prime pitching years. With the new approach, there should be no reason why he can’t springboard to bigger and better things behind Kluber. (Post-AS:  6-2 / 1.70 ERA / 67 K / 10 BB)

Danny Salazar (24) has rebounded from a rough start to his season to put together a nice run late in the year. Yes, he did that last year as well, but that was a time when he relied on his power fastball to blow batters away. Now, one year further removed from TJ surgery, Salazar has learned he needs to pitch, not just throw, and seems to be doing just that after working his way through a slight injury earlier this year. (Post-AS:  5-3 / 3.30 ERA / 56 K / 14 BB)

Trevor Bauer (23) has been showing why the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round, and why the Indians were interested in acquiring him in a three-team deal last off-season. After struggling to reinvent himself in 2013 with very mixed results, Bauer has looked more like the pitcher he was at UCLA. His numbers this year may not sparkle, but once you get past some recurring bouts with a lack of control, as well as a few big innings you see a very promising pitcher. Bauer could benefit by taking heed of Carrasco’s success of trusting his stuff and attacking hitters, while staying ahead early in the count. The talent is there, and it’s really beginning to show. (Post-AS: 2-4 / 4.24 ERA / 65 K / 30 BB)

The real beauty of these first four guys is that they all throw mid-90s and up, with really nasty secondary stuff. If harnessed, and it looks as if it is getting there, this is a formidable foursome to trot out to the hill. Since the All-Star break, the Indians are a close second in strikeouts in the American League behind Tampa Bay, and the gap between them and third-place Detroit is considerable. With those four being power guys that throw from the right side, it only makes this next guy that much better.

TJ House (24) hasn’t missed a beat. The unheralded rookie has never been overwhelming in the minors, and there likely weren’t lofty expectations upon his arrival in the bigs, but the moniker of “crafty lefty” and his skill set fits nicely in the midst of a bunch of flame-throwing righties. Showing an approach beyond his years, House has attacked hitters and shown a great desire to improve and adjust to what polished opposition has confronted him with. That willing ability to adapt may be the ticket to keeping House in the majors as an effective pitcher for years to come. (Post-AS numbers:  2-1 / 2.49 ERA / 43 K / 10 BB)

Beyond the rotation, manager Terry Francona has had an excellent bullpen, which he has leaned on heavily throughout the season. Unfortunately, the weight of that kind of usage has cost the Tribe as the season winds down, as a run of late-inning stumbles has cost them dearly during the playoff push.

If there is any blame to be placed, it resides squarely on the shaky state of the Indians’ rotation, not only in the first half, but since the break as well. Through June, the rotation was just bad, as Justin MastersonZach McAllisterand Salazar were shelled and injured, Carrasco and Bauer showed their youth and Josh Tomlin was coming back from TJ surgery. But even after the break, as the youngsters began to settle in, they were still giving Francona only five or six innings, and he again had to go to the heavily-taxed bullpen to get through the latter innings.

As a result, the Indians have dropped a number of critical games in September. But while it looks disappointing for 2014, an interesting transformation is taking place with the rotation. Following Kluber’s lead, the youngsters have begun to press on deep into games and give Francona a solid seven or eight innings. Even Bauer, who has struggled with pitch count issues, and Salazar, throwing with fewer limitations and recently threw near 120 pitches, have gone eight or nine frames.

It’s a very promising trend, and it doesn’t look like a fluke. With a solid closer in Cody Allen, along with the emergence of young lefties Nick Hagadone and Kyle Crockett, this staff is shaping up to be something very special. And as we’ve seen, a special staff can mean big things to come in major league baseball.

It does appear that the patience from the Indians’ front office has paid off, and with a solid core of young position players entering their prime as well, 2015 could be lining up to be a great year for the Tribe.

UP NEXT:  The Tribe’s position players

User Comments

Ryan
September 22, 2014 - 6:12 PM EDT
Jerry, I proposed elsewhere in the internets that a trade of Chisenhall, Roberto Perez, CC Lee for Beltre might be enough to for the Rangers. Chisenhall is a replacement for the Rangers at 3B, Perez solves their catching issues, Lee is a potential closer for them.
Throw in Aguilar to the package if they pick up 10 million of the rest of Beltre's contract.
Next year, maybe by June due to Super-2 you have a starting 8 of:
Brantley, Bourn, Murphy/Holt in the OF L-R, Beltre 3B, Lindor SS, JRam 2B, Santana 1B, and Gomes C, now suddenly the liability of the defensive infield becomes a huge plus, and we re-sign Giminez as our back-up C and also utility corner IFer. Kipnis DHs and Swisher slowly rehabs his way back/plays the Giambi role as the old sage at the end of the bench.
Jerry
September 21, 2014 - 10:14 PM EDT
Homer:

"As for Jason Kipnis, that would be possible, maybe a larger pkg 2-3 qlty prospects." - like it.

Also, I think you are probably right about Martinez, Swisher and Bourn, but perhaps less so about Bourn. He is playing well right now.
Chip
September 21, 2014 - 6:51 AM EDT
I'm still holding out hope for a WC spot this season, but next season can't get here fast enough. I've mentioned before, I would like to see the Indians attempt to sign one of Chad Billingsly or Brandon McCarthy, but TJ House deserves that fifth spot and there is some potentially nice SP depth in the minors so I have my reservations now. I also believe the next sleeper in the organization is Joe Colon. His power sinker with an improved infield defense would make sense. The Indians' coaches seem to have built a solid reputation for fixing and developing pitching. Guys like Clevenger and Maronde could explode onto the scene with a good winter and/or spring performances.

The removal of Bourn, Raburn, Murphy, Aviles and a resurgence from Swisher and Kipnis are the keys to next season IMO. It's hard to determine who plays where in 2015. Defensive upgrades are needed at 3B and 2B, but both Chisenhall and Kipnis have very good offensive upside. The more I contemplate the situation the realization of Chisenhall and Kipnis staying put comes to fruition. Unless they are blown away with an offer, Kipnis will get the chance to regain his value. Chisenhall could move to the OF if the chips fall correctly which would open the door for Urshela or an aquisition. It should make for an interesting offseason.
Homer
September 21, 2014 - 6:13 AM EDT
Jerry,

I don't think those fans would turnout, nor would the Tribe be wise to bank on it.

I doubt the Tribe would want to lose a draft pk to sign him.

No way they can trade Swisher, unless they eat a huge portion of his salary.

Re: Bourn - see Swisher.

As for Jason Kipnis, that would be possible, maybe a larger pkg 2-3 qlty prospects.
Jerry
September 20, 2014 - 10:44 PM EDT
Here is the perfect "bold" move the Indians could make without committing Hari-Smoltzi: Sign Victor Martinez. The sure-fire interest from the "90's spoiled children" "fan" base would most likely pay for the salary increase the Indians will say they can't afford. But if more budget flexibility would be needed, then trade Swisher for the player to never be named later, trade Bourn for any decent right-handed hitting veteran outfielder and trade Kipnis for a top, mid-level left-handed pitching prospect, and there we have it.
Jerry
September 20, 2014 - 10:14 PM EDT
I am not against adding Beltre, but how many third baseman are playing at a top level at 37, 38 -40? In other words, this would be a a form of rent-a-trade and therefore would not justify the Indians 2nd or any top five prospect. I would not be against trading Chisenhall and/orUrshela, Lee and Aguilar, something of that nature.
anonymous
September 20, 2014 - 10:14 PM EDT
I am not against adding Beltre, but how many third baseman are playing at a top level at 37, 38 -40? In other words, this would be a a form of rent-a-trade and therefore would not justify the Indians 2nd or any top five prospect. I would not be against trading Chisenhall and/orUrshela, Lee and Aguilar, something of that nature.
Rich
September 20, 2014 - 7:45 PM EDT
Troy, I think you better read Tony's last post about how Beltre compares to all other ML third basemen before you describe him as an "aging veteran on the downside of his career".

He's not pushing 40, either.

I seriously doubt that he'll be available unless the Rangers think they're three years away from contending with the Angels and A's, and even then the Indians would have to put together one hell of a prospect package.

But make no mistake - this is a rare opportunity for a mid-market team to strike hard for a championship, much like the Brewers did when they traded for Sabathia a few years back. We have five young starters pitching well, under team control for several years, and for the moment, affordable. We have a nice nucleus of Gomes, Santana, Brantley, and Chisenhall. We have one of the better bullpens in the majors when they're not overworked. This is the time to make a bold move.
troy
September 20, 2014 - 6:43 PM EDT
I don't think anyone can reasonably expect Corey Kluber to be as good as he is in 2014""

Why not? Did you ever hear of Curt Schilling ? Like Kluber, Schilling had the same career path before he hit it big with a change of scenery.

Jose Ramirez is an exciting prospect to me. put him at secondbase next year alongside Lindor and we will have the best defensive keystone combo in baseball. Ramirez turns 23 next year at this time. On the flip side, Jason Kipnis has Tony Bernazzard defensive skills.
troy
September 20, 2014 - 6:18 PM EDT
I think the Indians have a great future unless they start making stupid, Smoltz for Alexander-like, trades such as Clint Frazier for 36 year-old third baseman."

Or Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen type trades. This type of trade is something Frank Lane, Gabe Paul, Phil Seghi would have made.

Beltre is pushing 40 yrs old and is at the end of his career. We already made one dumb move for an aging veteran with Nick Swisher now we are paying for it. Where is the logic in giving up a centerfield , righthanded hitting middle of the order prospect like Frazier for an aging veteran on the downside of his career? I dont want ancient has beens like Beltre, Swisher and Bourne on my roster!

This type of thinking has led to deals such as Pedro Guerrero for a minor league relief pitcher,

Frazier at this point in his development looks like a Bobby Bonds type prospect minus the base stealing abilty


Walter
September 20, 2014 - 2:50 PM EDT
Adrian Beltre is one the best options for the Indians. On terrible/injured Rangers team his avg is higher than last year, his OPS is about the same. The difference is his HR power is down from recent years. Put him batting cleanup with Brantley batting 3rd, Santana batting 5th and Gomes batting 6th I believe he will regain some of that HR power and maintain his good OPS.

This team needs a 3b that can field and hit.
Pathofkindness
September 20, 2014 - 2:21 PM EDT
I'm not a big fan of the Beltre idea. And I seriously doubt if Texas is either. They are not the type of org that rebuilds over the course of many years, and they're not having financial issues with the kind of attendance they have, so there's just no reason they would gut the middle of the lineup for a player who's probably three years away from being a rookie.

Even though they had a terrible year, much of that is due to injuries and some underperformance of their stud players, and they could very easily turn it around with some health and a few moves. They're not rebuilding, they're all in over there with very high FO and fan expectations, and so it's WAY more likely that they add to Beltre, especially pitching, then get rid of him.

They would laugh at Frazier...the only thing that might make sense to them is Salazar or Bauer, and I don't think we want to do that...8--)
rsamak
September 20, 2014 - 1:46 PM EDT
What Indians fan doesn't anticipate going into next season with these 5 starters. Could become the best since McDowell, Tiant, Siebert, Hargan if healthy. The 60's big 4 couldn't stay healthy. Badly in need of improved infield D to go with them.

Adding Beltre might be a smart move and if a new leadoff hitter a much more potent offense. A top prospect would be needed in a trade. Not sure if Frazier should be the one as he is the lone rh power bat.

May need a few pen arms as the overuse could really affect them. The high usage guys could be the ones taking step back.

Homer
September 20, 2014 - 11:51 AM EDT
Ted,

I forgot to mention Cody Anderson. I'm guessing he ends up back at Akron, unless he has a very good fall / winter.
Hiram
September 20, 2014 - 9:34 AM EDT
With the Indians starting pitching at the ML Level it's is important that the Indians use this time they have with them wisely, All of their efforts should be toward developing the pitching they have in the minors and continuing to draft more of them. When it comes time for some of these current starters to move on they will have guys who are ready to to step in and have this team ready to continue to compete on Championship level
Tony
September 20, 2014 - 9:34 AM EDT
I still find it interesting that everyone keeps saying that Beltre is in the downside of his career. People are making it out like he's struggling this year. Yes, he is older, but the key to me is the Indians would only be on the hook for two years. He provides everything this team needs from a defensive, offensive, leadership and more standpoint.

Compared to other third basemen in ALL of baseball this season he is 1st in batting average (.324), 1st in on-base percentage (.388), 2nd in slugging percentage (.488), 8th in isolated power (.165), 2nd in wRC+ (140), and 4th in WAR (5.4). That's a heck of a player to add if you ask me.
Hiram
September 20, 2014 - 9:23 AM EDT
Seth,

great post. I think these guys who are saying this stuff about Kluber and Carrasco are all about the "it can't be this good" stuf and and leads to very boring and crazy talk. Thank you for that post
Tony
September 20, 2014 - 9:19 AM EDT
I like Ramirez just like everyone else....but I think he's being vastly over-rated by fans. He's a solid player but a borderline starter for me. He's a solid average to slightly above average defender at shortstop....which looks so good because the guy who was there previously was a below average defender. He also has a .292 on-base percentage which is horrible for a guy in the top of the order. Now, I fully expect him to improve as he settles in at the big league level....but I have some serious concerns about the offense moving forward with him being an everyday guy. I love his confidence, I love his good speed and I love his versatility, and to me that is going to be where his value is at in the future with this team. I wouldn't bat an eye lash if the Indians could use him to get an upgrade at another position.
Homer
September 20, 2014 - 9:11 AM EDT
Ted,

The Indians have...

Joe Colon - RHSP - should be in Columbus next yr.
Will Roberts -RHSP- should be in Columbus next yr.
Shawn Morimando -LHSP- should be in Akron next yr.
Ryan Merritt -LHSP- should be in Akron next yr.
Dylan Baker -RHSP- should be in Akron next yr.
Adam Plutko -RHSP- should be in Akron next yr.

There is depth there, but the Indians are about a yr away from having multiple SP prospects ready. You never know with pitching, (injuries, ineffectiveness, etc) one of these or others deeper in the farm (Lugo, Brown) could rocket through the system in the next yr or two.

I think they need to pick up some depth at the upper levels, that could come in the form of prospects or FA veteran. McAllister will likely get the Carrasco treatment, having a shot at SP, but likely headed to the bullpen. Tomlin has an option remaining so there is a possibility he is heading the rotation in Columbus.
Homer
September 20, 2014 - 8:57 AM EDT
BrianM,

I think Brantley could handle RF, I'd rather see him in CF with Bourn traded for peanuts to get loose of his bloated salary. However, I think Brantley would be avg or better out there.

As for Allen Craig, he's definitely had a tough yr. I haven't seen him enough this yr to say whether he is a bounce back candidate, but I believe he could be. The Red Sox also have Yoenis Cespedes and Shane Victorino playing out their last yr of their deals. Victorino has missed significant time this season, so I would be weary, but there are options.

In another thread I mentioned going after Josh Donaldson from the A's. He a cornerstone player and would likely take a big return to get. There are changes coming in Oakland, Donaldson will be in his first yr of arb. and he will get too expensive qkly for Oakland. The A's farm system has been depleted in recent yrs, something the Indians could afford to move a few pieces. I suggested, Chisenhall, Naquin, EGonzalez and AAdams for Donaldson and Ryan Cook. Cook could be another candidate to be traded by the A's as he's entering his arb yrs too.
Grady
September 20, 2014 - 8:42 AM EDT
Is it bad that the comments to the article provide more insight than the actual article? Here's what needs to be done with the next piece: Just post the headline so we can add insight to such a bush league piece. On second thought, don't let him write headlines either.
Rich
September 20, 2014 - 7:11 AM EDT
Callaway has done a tremendous job with Carrasco, Bauer, Salazar and House, just like he did an exceptional job with Ubaldo and Kazmir last year. He's the MVP of the entire organization, IMO. I'd offer him a lifetime contract.

With the young starters expected to go deeper into games next year, the bullpen should be even better.

All five starters are under team control for several more years. They need to strike while the iron is hot and make a deal for a power bat to be the final piece of a middle of the order that includes Brantley, Santana, and Gomes. If they add that piece (Beltre) and get healthy, bounce-back seasons from Swisher, Kipnis, and Raburn, they'll be a legit World Series possibility.

At age 21, JRam is only going to get better.
ted l
September 20, 2014 - 3:03 AM EDT
Many have gotten ahead of this article. It's about the pitching. This season's problem was the Indians rebuilt the rotation during the season; that is not recommended. Ubaldo was to great a risk so they let him go, good move. Kazmir was also a high risk too. However, he may have been worth the risk. Masterson just was not doing well and they traded him. That made sense because, he would not have gotten a qualifying offer and they would have gotten nothing in return,.

Who are the legitimate starting prospects who are close? Beside McAllister and Tomlin, who do they have? That may mean the Indians need to get some starters. There will be some available through free agency not hindered with a draft pick.

The Indians present starters are inconsistent (except Kluber.) That is to be expected. Remember how many of us felt about him prior to lest season. The question on my mind is if Carrasco and Salazar can contimue on or will they drop back to their old form. Can Bauer put it together and can the three of them carry on? I think House is pretty much what he will always be. He'll eat innings and keep yhe team inmost games.

I'll talk about position players after the appropriate time.
Norm
September 20, 2014 - 12:30 AM EDT
How are you guys going to pay salary for the players you are cutting and buying this next season? The Indians will be fortunate if the have attendance of 1.5 million this year which is down about 20%. They are so confident they are reducing seating 20% for next year. Unless there is a special negotiation which allows the Indians to pay in Pesos rather than Dollars, some one will have to explain the economics of that one to me.
yourtribe
September 19, 2014 - 10:34 PM EDT
Jram has to play next year. Best D in infield by a long shot. Not close.

Kipnis and Lonnie I would look to move.

Bourn has to be moved. Eat part of salary. Horrible leadoff hitter.

Need a leadoff hitter and big bat.
BrianM
September 19, 2014 - 9:55 PM EDT
Regarding trading Frazier,

Frazier may be the most valuable right handed power bat in the system, but he is 3 years away. We could draft or sign other free agent power hitters in that 3 year span. People tend to forget how much occurs in 3 years. I would trade Frazier for Beltre any day of the week.

Regarding the lineup CL posted below,

Having a lineup without Kipnis is asinine. However, having Ramirez at 2nd and Lindor at SS is not. I assume Kipnis could handle a transition to LF, but I am curious to know if people think Brantley would be able to handle RF. He doesn't have the prototypical arm strength of a RF, but his arm is far from weak and he has shown the ability to throw out baserunners at a pretty high clip. With Kip, Bourn, and Brantley manning the OF, I think our money and/or resources would be much better spent acquiring a RH corner infielder as an upgrade to Chiz/Swisher. Beltre really does make a lot of sense. Allen Craig is also a fairly realistic option if you believe in a bounceback.
Jerry
September 19, 2014 - 7:33 PM EDT
Tony:

I am amazed that you would think trading a prospect like Frazier for someone on the downside of his career would make sense. I also want to point out that Frazier is the primary, right-handed outfield, power prospect in the system as Zimmer, Naquin and all of the current major league starters are left-handed included Bourn, Murphy and Brantley.
anonymous
September 19, 2014 - 7:33 PM EDT
Tony:

I am amazed that you would think trading a prospect like Frazier for someone on the downside of his career would make sense. I also want to point out that Frazier is the primary, right-handed outfield, power prospect in the system as Zimmer, Naquin and all of the current major league starters are left-handed included Bourn, Murphy and Brantley.
Roger
September 19, 2014 - 6:35 PM EDT
aS for picking up the so called 7th or 8th option for the starting rotation i suspect most good to above avg starting pitgchers arent even gonna consider cleveland do to the no immediate need aspect and the indians are not about to get in bidding war for what on the surface appears to be viable option they seem to have 5 aND a half starting pitchers. I am, adding Zac Mac as my half. We can treat him as cross betwee n wade davis in kc and carlos corrasco in the first half here. i like one closer in the 9th but have no problem with three 8th inning transition pitchers zac could prolly go high 90 if only throwing 20 or so pitches and adding shaw and one of the lefties to the mix and all of a sudden with 3 middle inning guys and three set up the 9th guys and cody allen you have more balanced BP. I still would like cuddyer because he has v alue for maybe one year and wont cost us an arm and a leg money wise and no prospects what so ever i am convinced that the foundation of a great team is allready on board just has to return to form. (kikmis,swisher, carlos santana fist half of 2014. and all of a sudden we are avg + OFFensive team. as fpr defense i am big believer in the shortstop sets the defensi ve pace a lot like the middle lb in football and lindor should make everyone better defensively.if you think back 15 yrs omar did just that. bearga was less than marginal 2b but omar made him play above his limitations.
C L Who
September 19, 2014 - 5:35 PM EDT
Agreed Norm.

That's why I advocate signing some young players, namely Todd Frazier and Scott van Slyke, via trade. These are two solid right handed bats at RF and 3B who are young, cheap, and provide significantly better D than what the Tribe currently has at either position. And, several years until either becomes a FA.
Norm
September 19, 2014 - 5:30 PM EDT
Tony wrote an excellent article a short time ago that pointed out the Indians were a team in transition that had a pretty good year. I second Tony's thoughts and I believe the transition continues next year with several questions still to be answered. In my thinking, there are limitations to this transition because of spending which is a direct result of attendance issues which appear to e constant.

Front line pitching is promising but not deep. The Indians need an 8th starter with ML seasoning at least since there is not pitcher with potential above LC at this time. Where the money comes for a pitcher/s who can fill this gap is a big question.

Big difference in position players. Chisenhall, much, like Kipnis of 2013, has had a good year at the plate. I would not give up on either for next year although may posters would disagree. Neither is strong defensively but there are players in the organization who ccan be properly seasoned tor ML potential by mid-season of 2015. Not only is Urshela a possible answer at 3B, you have Gonsales at any IF position if Urshela is found wanting. Other than those two, there is no real RH hitter that will make a differnce , I would say that Holt is capable of platooning with Bourn and giving a needed break without a big loss to offense or defense.Othere than that, Swisher is the DH and gills in at 1B and Of corners which weakens the team defensively. There looks to be ML OF depth in the upper levels of the organization which will probably wive the Indians the necessary depth from the left side. It doesn't look like eith Aguilar or Walters are reallyready for ML regular play now and only Ramirez is fully capable of reular MI ML perormance until Lindor arrives. I think there will be changes in regular position players until 2016 which should not be rushed and adding older players of any cost/players is a mistake of long term detriment to the team with the financial limitations the Indians face.
Richard
September 19, 2014 - 5:14 PM EDT
The Indians SP has been outstanding the second half of the season. However, the most surprising thing about baseball is that there are always surprises. If a SP can repeat their success year after year, they would be all-stars. There are always injuries and slumps. That being said, when was the last time the Indians did not have SP on the off season wish list?
Tony
September 19, 2014 - 5:10 PM EDT
Fair enough Jerry. But I think there is no problem with dealing a prospect like a Frazier for Beltre. I'm all in on that. With the addition of Zimmer, who to me is a better prospect and closer to the bigs, a player like Frazier could be someone who is used in a deal to get a big upgrade.
larry
September 19, 2014 - 4:57 PM EDT
C L Who, I agree with you, if they go into next year with the same position players their pitchers better put up a whole lot of zeros
Seth
September 19, 2014 - 4:54 PM EDT
Have you ever seen Kluber pitch? It's likely that he'll take a step back in the sense that it's hard to sustain results THAT good, and the injury bug is always waiting to bite any pitcher, but it's not like his performance this year is a fluke. Kluber has the best curve in baseball and 4th best cutter in baseball this year in terms of value. Having watched him last year, I didn't find his performance this year to be at all surprising.
Homer
September 19, 2014 - 4:53 PM EDT
Maybe the Indians and Red Sox could work out something... mlbtraderumors.com is reporting the Red Sox are interested in adding some LH bats to balance their RH heavy lineup. Not sure how it might work out..
Jerry
September 19, 2014 - 4:32 PM EDT
I think the Indians have a great future unless they start making stupid, Smoltz for Alexander-like, trades such as Clint Frazier for 36 year-old third baseman.
C L Who
September 19, 2014 - 3:55 PM EDT
Tough not to agree that the Tribe has a solid pen and the makings of a lethal rotation. Other than one or more of House, Kluber and Bauer coming down with a torn elbow ligament we're good to go.

I will be interested in seeing how Mr. Mast improves the position player roster in 2015 despite the dwindling or limited production of Swisher, Kipnis, Chisenhall, Murphy, Aviles and Raburn. (I leave Bourn out because he wasn't signed to be a run producer, but a spark at the top of the order and a guy that could shake up opposing pitchers.)

What I would like to see......position wise

C Gomes (back up Perez)
1B Santana
2B Ramirez
SS Lindor
3B Todd Frazier (Reds 3B) Internal option: Urshela
RF Scott van Slyke (Dodgers) Internal option: Ramsey? Walters?
CF Holt
LF Brantley
DH Swisher (since he can't be moved) or Aguilar
Homer
September 19, 2014 - 3:02 PM EDT
I'm with you Hawk, I will be counting the days until ST begins. I'm not disappointed with this club. I think the avg. fan might be, but serious fans understand that this was a transition season. There's a lot of anticipation for next yr in my book, this club is set up at a serious run at the AL penant with a few additions. The farm system is deep and could probably withstand a big time trade or two. Lots of young talent on the farm with more working it's way up from deep in the farm. Should be several exciting yrs of contention ahead.
Andy Moor feat. Carrie Skipper
September 19, 2014 - 2:50 PM EDT
OK, James Shields is a nice comparison. Could happen with Kluber.
Tony
September 19, 2014 - 2:23 PM EDT
I think there should be an expectation for Kluber to step back a little or that Carrasco may not be this good. That said, if all four are healthy, this rotation will be much better than what this rotation showed all 2014. I'm seeing a lot of James Shields in Kluber.....if not more. He was never a highly touted prospect, but was always viewed as someone who had the stuff to be pretty good. I still remember talking to Indians coaches after the 2012 season and how adamant they were that he had the best stuff in the entire system - ML team included.
Andy Moor feat. Carrie Skipper
September 19, 2014 - 2:08 PM EDT
Sorry, 2014 is Kluber's best year ever (not 2013). No i'm not on drugs.
Andy Moor feat. Carrie Skipper
September 19, 2014 - 2:07 PM EDT
I don't think anyone can reasonably expect Corey Kluber to be as good as he is in 2014. The guy was always an afterthought as a prospect, and now he's a Cy Young candidate. Also, he's got a hell of an IP bump this year; from 160 IP in 2013 to 220 IP (and counting) in 2014.

I'd bet the mortgage on 2013 being the best season Corey Kluber ever has. Sell high.
Hawk1228
September 19, 2014 - 11:31 AM EDT
Disappointed? How can any true Indians fan be disappointed in a team that still is in the chase on September 19th? Outside of that glorious run in the 90's, pennant races in September are rare here on the North Coast. I sat in those stands on Tuesday the day after Labor Day and thought how many fans are missing the thrill of living and dying with a team in the playoff chase. They would rather sit and rock a stadium for a team that hasn't won 7 games since 07 and has been horrible since the days of Bernie as QB. This team will average fewer fans at a home game than a Cavs team that hasn't won 70 games in 3 seasons. It’s those fans loss; they have missed watching some of the best pitching in baseball coming from a starting staff that started the season horribly. They have missed watching young kids grow up as the season progressed. This team isn't made up of wife beaters, child abusers, or drug users I never read of any player riding down the highway carrying guns in a back pack but I have witnessed every night at the park players signing autographs and providing positive role models for children. Disappointed? Not a chance with this fan. They have provided me with entertainment every night and I am going to miss watching them play once the season ends. I will be counting the days to spring as soon as the last out is made.

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