The Cleveland Indians should be considered a conservative organization, although at times they do make some aggressive moves.
They may have cost themselves a playoff spot in 2015 with their stubbornness in leaving Francisco Lindor in the minor leagues until his service time would not be an issue.
They give some veterans every opportunity to succeed before replacing them with a possibly more productive young player. Think about the long rope vets like Michael Bourn and Juan Uribe received from the current regime.
That said, here are some things we would like to see the Indians do, even though we know it will never happen:
A change in position for Jason Kipnis. Kipnis was an outfielder in college and moved to second base when he was drafted. However, it is pretty clear to us that Kipnis is the third best defensive option at the position for the Tribe, behind Jose Ramirez and Erik Gonzalez.
The Indians leave outs on the field more than they should because of plays not made up the middle or double plays not turned.
We understand Kipnis is a key member of the team both on the field and in the clubhouse. The simplest thing would be to just flip flop Ramirez and Kipnis and move the latter to 3B.
In these days, where offense continues to put up numbers, outs are at a premium, you can’t give them away.
The Brantley Dilemma. Michael Brantley’s return to the everyday lineup is a boon for Terry Francona, with an OPS of over 800 on the season.
However, it is evident that his defense in left field has slipped greatly. Sunday night, a groundball single went for a double for Jose Iglesias because he couldn’t cut the ball off.
There have been other deep flyballs which haven’t been caught either throughout the season.
Where can Brantley go? Perhaps first base if Carlos Santana goes elsewhere via free agency after the season, but if Santana resigns, Francona may want to consider a defensive replacement in the late innings.
Swap Gomes and Perez. The Indians are blessed with two very good defensive catchers who can handle (frame) pitchers. And we understand Roberto Perez is hitting just .178 with a 517 OPS, compared to Gomes’ 680 OPS.
However, Gomes hasn’t really been an effective hitter since winning a Silver Slugger Award in 2014. And with men on base, Gomes becomes very impatient at the plate.
We would like to see what Perez would do offensively if he were given the bulk of the playing time. Our gut feeling is he would hit better.
We would just like to find out, because in a year or two it will be a moot point (hopefully) because of Francisco Mejia.
Keep Mejia/McKenzie. In order to make a big move at the trade deadline, the Indians will have to trade one of the studs in their farm system. We would love to not give up either because as a small to mid market team, it is important to keep players like them.
Besides, the Indians have other players that would be desirable to other teams. Gonzalez is good enough defensively to start for several major league teams, and we would consider moving Bobby Bradley because we fear he could be like Texas’ Joey Gallo.
And don’t forget Yu-Cheng Chang is another shortstop blocked by Frankie Lindor.
The Tribe has a lot of depth in the system, we know it might be a fantasy, but we would like to keep these two after moving Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield last season.