The one thing the Cleveland Indians have done during this collapse which has extended to 18 losses in 22 games in put their entire organization under the public microscope.
Unfortunately, most of the blame is placed at the feet of the ownership. From the standpoint of they are the ones writing the checks and putting the people in charge, then they should shoulder that burden.
But this horrible situation is like an onion, there are many layers to peel away and doing it makes your eyes water.
Certainly, the Dolan family has put Mark Shapiro in charge of the organization. Under his watch, the Indians have put together nine of eleven losing seasons.
There are people who think Shapiro should stay because he’s not involved in the day-to-day running of the baseball operations. However, he would hire the new GM if he chooses to fire Chris Antonetti, and more than likely, he will hire someone with similar ideas.
So, there wouldn’t be a new direction there.
Others feel Manny Acta should be the fall guy. But if Antonetti and Shapiro stay, do you really think the new manager will be different from Acta or his predecessor Eric Wedge? Doubtful.
Fans blame the organization for not wanting to go a third year for Twins’ slugger Josh Willingham last winter, but whose decision was that?
Did the ownership tell Antonetti not to include a third year or did the baseball people decide it wasn’t worth the risk?
Did the ownership push the baseball people to sign Grady Sizemore or Casey Kotchman? Doubtful.
Did the ownership say not to call players up from Columbus? Also doubtful.
Did the GM make the decision to deal three top ten prospects for a pitcher with make up problems in Ubaldo Jimenez, and then deal a pitcher who could have helped the bullpen in Zach Putnam for Kevin Slowey?
On the other hand, did Acta push for Kotchman in order to improve the infield defense?
Does the skipper have a problem with young players Matt LaPorta and Lonnie Chisenhall and that’s why they both started the season in Columbus?
Does anyone know if Acta went to the front office and asked for reinforcements at the beginning of June, or did he assure Antonetti and Shapiro that the Indians could contend with its current roster.
We just don’t know. Nobody does, and it is doubtful anyone will find out the answers to these questions any time soon.
That’s why the Dolan family have to do something we know they are loath to do, and that is clean out the entire organization.
Since they’ve owned the team, they have put a great deal of trust in Mark Shapiro, but seriously name one area of the franchise that is in top-notch shape right now.
The farm system is ranked very low by experts. The top two levels (Columbus and Akron) don’t have many impact players.
We’ve talked about the performance of the big league team over the same time frame. It also doesn’t pass muster.
And fan morale and belief in the front office is at an all-time low. That means it is getting more and more difficult to sell new season ticket packages.
What makes it more difficult is that the Dolan’s seem to be good people. It would be very hard to get rid of someone who they have worked very closely with since they bought the team.
It’s time for a new fresh set of ideas. That can only come with new leadership.
To borrow a phrase from a different sport, Mr. Dolan, the ball is clearly in your court.