The end of this baseball season can’t come soon enough, and it seems insane to keep going over the inadequacies of the current roster any more.
It’s starting to feel like piling on to mention that Casey Kotchman, Jack Hannahan, and Shelley Duncan stink. Oops, we did it again!
And since the people who run the franchise don’t feel any urgency to address the future of the franchise, we decided to fill a suggestion box and tell the ownership what they should be doing.
First, changes must be made in the upper reaches of the organization. At least two of the big three (Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, and Manny Acta) have to be replaced.
And we don’t care how coveted Antonetti was several years ago. He completely messed up the off-season, particularly not giving Josh Willingham a third year, and giving Grady Sizemore $5 million to take a year off.
Bring in a new GM who has experience with a successful mid market team. Perhaps he can shed a fresh perspective on the way teams like the Indians have to operate.
Of course, that GM will want to hire a new manager. Let him. Although Acta is a small part of the blame this season, he’s not a difference maker. Right now, this young team needs someone who will be a disciplinarian, an old school type of guy.
That type of skipper doesn’t last long, and isn’t the type of guy hired by the Indians in a long time, but for the next couple of years, it would be the correct choice.
The next thing they have to do is raise the payroll. Again, no knowledgeable fan thinks the Tribe can have a payroll of $150 million. However, $85 million should be well within the Indians’ means.
That would mean a whole lot of money for the new GM to spend after the Travis Hafner settlement is reached.
It would also mean a competitive offer can be made to arguably the Tribe’s best player, Shin-Soo Choo. A nice 3-year deal at $10-11 million per year should work.
It would also allow the Indians to get a quality starting pitcher and a right-handed bat that it desperately needs.
The higher payroll commitment would stop the trolling for low risk, high reward free agents like Kotchman. The players the team signs are available after Christmas for a reason, no one wants them, at least good teams don’t want them.
It will also eliminate the need to keep these marginal players on the Opening Day roster at the expense of younger players. For example, the Indians should have handed Lonnie Chisenhall the 3B job from the beginning of camp, and told him it was his job to lose.
The player development department should also be overhauled. Mid market teams need to have a steady flow of talent acquired from the draft. That hasn’t been the case in Cleveland.
In addition, the Indians need to promote players quicker. Yes, Akron may win the Eastern League, but they are doing it with a lot of players who are repeating AA ball for a second year. There isn’t any reason why OF Thomas Neal and C/1B Chun Chen should still be in Akron with the numbers they’ve put up.
And if a guy hasn’t performed in several opportunities, cut him loose. David Huff comes to mind here. If he isn’t an option to help the big league team, then release him.
This is just the beginning of what should be done with the Cleveland Indians going forward.
It may be painful for the Dolan family to do some of these things, but what they are doing now isn’t working.
Changes should start on October 4th. The day after this nightmare season ends.