The rumors about the Cleveland Indians’ off-season are starting to fly fast and furious.
MLB Network contributor Jon Heyman reported that the Dolan family is growing disenchanted with manager Manny Acta, leading to speculation that he will be dismissed.
Another report has the Tribe willing to trade players such as Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, and Chris Perez.
Sound like a total rebuilding effort, doesn’t it? Wonder how that will play with a fan base already angry by this season’s turn of events.
Then again, it has also been reported that because people don’t show up at Progressive Field, the front office doesn’t feel the need to make major changes in the off-season.
The Indians don’t need to destroy everything this winter, but they do need to make major changes, particularly in the pitching staff.
In regards to trading Cabrera and Choo, GM Chris Antonetti (or whoever will hold that title) would basically be dealing their best two offensive players.
And if you do that, you must replace both of them with equally talented players if you plan on contending next season. Therefore, it makes no sense to trade either player, although the organization is scared silly about Choo’s impending free agency.
With Lonnie Chisenhall looking like he’s ready to assume the hot corner, the Indians need to get a solid right-handed bat to play 1B or LF, and they will have improved the offense greatly.
Part of the problem this season was the five decent hitters the team has hit in the top five spots in the batting order. A couple would get on base, and the dreadful sticks in the 6-7-8-9 slots would come up and make outs.
That why a good team needs at least seven good hitters in the lineup. The Tribe does need to add some power, because you need to score every once in a while by getting one hit, a home run.
As for the pitching staff, the bullpen should be fine, even if you trade Chris Perez, but not because he blasted management, but because you have Vinnie Pestano, who can close.
The one area the Cleveland farm system has some prospects in relief pitching with guys like Scott Barnes, C.C. Lee, Cody Allen, Tyler Sturdevant, etc. ready to help the big league club.
As for the starting rotation, keep Zack McAllister and feel free to get rid of everyone else.
Justin Masterson has a good arm, but doesn’t have the demeanor to be a top of the rotation starter. Ubaldo Jimenez has a $6 million option for next year, but you can get someone more reliable than him for that money.
Roberto Hernandez? Goodbye.
Jeanmar Gomez and Cory Kluber can compete for spots in the ’13 rotation at spring training. But you have to go out and get at least one proven arm and more prospects.
And hope than Carlos Carrasco can come back from Tommy John surgery.
That’s where the GM should concentrate his efforts. The Indians rank last in the AL in ERA, a major reason for why they are where they are.
The other thing that must change is the total passiveness of the organization. Some players deserve patience, such as Chisenhall.
If he hitting .230 in the middle of May, the manager has to keep writing his name in the lineup.
If a borderline veteran isn’t doing the job, he has to be replaced instead of carrying them around all season long.
It may seem crazy to say this after the incredible losing skein the Indians have been on, but they do not need a total rebuild.
The pitching staff is in need of dire repair, but other than that, it’s the philosophy of the organization that needs the biggest facelift.
They have to stop being afraid. They need to get over their fear of young players, big contacts, and aggressiveness.
Until that happens and they upgrade the talent, firing Manny Acta will have little or no effect.