There are some people in this city who look at the Cleveland Indians through rose colored glasses.
They are baseball’s model organization, the small market team with the smartest front office in the sport.
Some of these people work at the ballclub’s flagship radio station, others are media members who are charmed by the genuine, good people who work in the Tribe’s baseball operations department.
Others are fans, usually of the younger persuasion, who see the organization building a young core of talent and feel optimistic for the future.
Heck, they get excited by the news of Josh Tomlin, a back of the rotation starter at best, signing a club friendly, multi-year contract extension.
When Tomlin inked the deal yesterday, social media was flooded by people telling us what a wonderful deal it was. To us, it was “meh”.
We see their side of the argument. We too are excited by Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, and one of the best starting rotations in all of major league baseball.
That’s the half filled view. Looking on the bright side of things.
We can’t give them that benefit of the doubt simply because of that dominant pitching. Our opinion is if the Indians can get to the post-season, their arms could carry them a long way, but they have to get there, and we don’t think they can score enough runs to accomplish that.
Terry Francona’s squad still have a lot of holes in the everyday lineup. We see big question marks at 3B and the entire outfield, depending on how long Brantley is out of the lineup.
Yes, getting Mike Napoli looks like a solid move. He upgrades the defense at first base, but outside of the second half of last season with Texas, he’s not the player he was with Boston three or four years ago.
He is 34 years old after all.
And Rajai Davis would be a nice pick up as an extra outfielder. Unfortunately, he looks like the starter in LF until Brantley returns.
Also, why do we have the feeling that the Indians will rush Brantley back from his injury, and because of that, he may have an off year? Probably because they did the same thing with Kipnis and Yan Gomes each of the last two years.
Would anyone be truly surprised if both players struggled in 2016? If they do, how does Francona get his club to put more runs on the board.
Our problem is that Tribe management always has the strategy that if everything goes right, we can win the AL Central, but the reality is, it rarely happens that all factors fall in our favor.
That’s why this off-season was the perfect time to make a bold move for a hitter in their prime. Yes, we understand that it is difficult because if you sign a free agent, you likely will have to pay for the player when he is past his prime.
And making a trade carries a risk because the player you move may wind up being better than the guy you get.
That’s one of the reasons we say the Indians operate in fear. They deal in mostly low risk, high reward moves, but many times they get players who don’t have much left.
This would have been a perfect time to strike and put this team in a position to win the division and avoid wild card game.
It may work out, but why not eliminate some of the “hope” factor. It’s okay to put a team out there that doesn’t need a luck factor to win.