Cleveland Indians off Season Report
- Updated: November 21, 2008
The Indians had a disappointing year on all accounts. Picked by many to go to, and even with the World Series, the Indians underperformed and were marred with injuries to some of their main contributors for most of the season. They also traded away one Cy Young Award winner, but they did have another Cy Young winner emerge in Cliff Lee. Some of the young talent proved to have talent that would translate to the big league level, leaving some a bit optimistic for next season. They finished right at the .500 mark and were in the top 10 in the American League in many categories.
Holes to Fill
Another starter would be nice for the tribe after saying goodbye to CC Sabathia. Fausto Carmona looks like a star in waiting, but he had an up and down year, so at this point, it’s hard for the tribe to make a safe bet on him. The Tribe also traded their fourth starter, Paul Byrd away during the season, so they are going to have to fill that hole some how. It is likely that Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey will make the team, but there seems to be an opening in the rotation that will be up for grabs at least until Jake Westbrook comes back from surgery during the middle of the season.
The bullpen definitely needs some work and the Indians are actively looking for a closer after seeing many attempts fail during the season. As reported earlier by BaseballReflections.com, the Indians are in pursuit of a few top name closers. Among them are Trevor Hoffman and Kerry Wood.
Adding another bat in a corner outfield position wouldn’t be so bad either. Although they have some young talent in the outfield, none of them seem to hit with the power that is really expected from the corner positions these days.
Amazingly, the Indians do not have any free agents. They traded away Sabathia, Byrd and Casey Blake, which left them with no deals to strike during the off season. The only thing they have to worry about is whether Shin Soo Choo can get some sort of discharge from the South Korean military, which doesn’t seem likely at this point. In terms of spending in free agency, the Indians are not generally big spenders, but they could go after someone who they think can add some strength to the outfield in a platoon position.
The Indians should have many key players including designated hitter Travis Hafner, catcher Victor Martinez and second baseman Josh Barfield back from injury. While it seems that Hafner has stopped hitting since he was awarded his contract, this should afford the Indians with a boost to their line-up that was badly needed during the last season.
At this point, it’s really hard to tell what the Indians are going to do. There have been a few rumors about trades, but it’s always been hard to tell at this point in the season if there is any truth to those rumors.
If the Indians can return everyone who was injured back to form and can fill a few holes in their pitching rotation and bullpen, they should be able to compete in a division that doesn’t have a strong contender. Finishing with a win total in the upper eighties should put them in the running for the division.