The Cleveland Indians have won the first two games of their weekend series against the first place Kansas City Royals and now sit just 3-1/2 games out of first place in the AL Central Division.
They are the same amount of games out of the second wild card spot in the league, giving them two chances to claim one of the five playoffs spots in the American League.
Supporters of the Tribe are very well aware of this, but it seems the front office and ownership is not. We say this because there has been no move to add talent to the gritty bunch of Indians.
Despite moves that many fans don’t agree with, including ourselves, Francona should once again be in contention for the Manager of the Year award, as he kept a team that had struggling starting pitching for most of the year, and now can’t score runs consistently in the race as the season hits the final stretch.
The front office appears to be asleep at the switch, though.
As we have said before, we understood dealing SS Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson at the end of July, both players were not performing to expectations and both were free agents at the end of the year.
However, we did criticize GM Chris Antonetti for not finishing things off by bringing in someone who could help in the short-term.
Yes, people have talked about Zach Walters contributions, and there is no doubt he has had some big hits for Cleveland, but in reality, he is a younger switch-hitting version of Russell Branyan, an all or nothing hitter who doesn’t walk a lot.
Walters does have six dingers for the Indians, but he has also struck out 23 times in 63 at bats, while walking three times. Unless he changes his approach at the plate, he is not a major league regular going forward.
At the very least, Antonetti could have brought in someone who is an upgrade over veteran journeyman Chris Dickerson, who continues to receive regular playing time despite a .227 batting average (642 OPS). Since the all-star game, those figures are worse (.175 average, 562 OPS).
As we have said before, you don’t need to get an all-star, if you got someone better than Dickerson, it would improve the ballclub.
To be sure, the starting rotation, led by Corey Kluber, but getting tremendous contributions from youngsters Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar, as well as a rejuvenated Carlos Carrasco is the main reason for the club’s surge, but had the Tribe lost last night, their starter in perhaps the biggest game of the season would have been rookie T. J. House.
House has done better than expected (2-3, 4.18 ERA), but he’s allowed 86 hits and 21 walks in 71 innings pitched, meaning he’s seemingly always on the edge of disaster. To his credit, he’s mostly pitched out of it, but wouldn’t Francona be better served putting someone more reliable and with more experience out there?
The front office again seems unwilling to get the team some help.
Don’t you think the players question why the front office/ownership doesn’t believe in this group of players? Especially when they see other teams adding players for the stretch drive.
Even the Yankees added a left-handed reliever on Thursday in Josh Outman, who they got from…the INDIANS!
What more do you need to see regarding the management’s view of this squad than the fact they helped a team who is competing with them for a playoff spot.
If you have a fan of the Cleveland Indians, you have to wonder about how much the current front office wants to win.