The 2012 baseball season ended just two weeks ago, and already the Cleveland Indians are worrying us in terms of next year’s season.
Why? Because there are many indications that GM Chris Antonetti is prepared to do another total rebuild. The Indians will point to the success the Oakland A’s had this year in using that tactic, but really, how often does dealing for a bunch of prospect have an impact the very next season?
If it happened all the time, then everyone would do it.
This thought comes from the rumors that the Tribe is taking offers on SS Asdrubal Cabrera, OF Shin-Soo Choo, SP Justin Masterson, and closer Chris Perez.
Sounds again like the front office is giving up on 2013, much the same as they gave up on the 2010 season when they dealt Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee at the trading deadline.
Enough is enough.
While certainly the Indians should look at dealing a couple of those guys, most notably Perez, to try to fill some holes, trading all of them makes long time fans think of the 1970’s and 1980’s when the Indians routinely traded their best players.
That list is as long as your arm.
If Antonetti is going to go down that path, he has to get major league ready players, not guys who won’t be contributors in Cleveland until 2014 or 2015.
Also, Oakland’s rebuild was helped significantly by going out and signing Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes to a big contract. In a normal year, by that meaning no Mike Trout, Cespedes would have been the AL Rookie of the Year.
How many people think the Dolans will make a big financial commitment to anyone?
So far this winter, the Indians had a chance to get either Ervin Santana or Dan Haren from the Angels for basically a one-year contract. It would have been a lot of cash, but for one year, why not?
At the end of the season, most people agreed that the Indians had some solid young players, like Cabrera, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, and Jason Kipnis. Why not add to those guys and try to win now?
The desire to trade Choo is understandable. He will probably be looking for a four or five-year deal, and since the outfielder is 30 years old, that might be pushing it. A three-year deal would work for the Indians, but his agent Scott Boras is sure to want more.
Masterson has shown to be no better than a #3 starter, too inconsistent to be a staff ace. If you can fill one of your holes at LF or 1B by dealing him, it may be worth it.
And we’ve discussed the organizational depth in the bullpen as a reason for dealing Perez.
But trading all of them and include Cabrera as well seems like a total rebuild.
The Indians would then need a first baseman, shortstop, left fielder, right fielder, designated hitter, and three starting pitchers.
Would you buy tickets to watch that?
Instead, why not get 1B/3B/DH Kevin Youkilis for a two-year deal, sign Joe Blanton as a starting pitcher, and trade one of four rumored to be dealt for more pitching and/or a LF?
That way, you have a chance to win next year without being on the hook for a bunch of crazy contracts.
It’s not as though the Cleveland Indians have a lot of age on the roster. So why not build on the talent already there.