Let's take a look at the competish, shall we? The Cleveland Indians had a rough 2012 season. They gave up a lot of runs, didn't score a lot of runs and finished 13th of 14 American League teams in attendance. The 2012 Indians were sad, so let's talk a bit about those 90s Indian teams. Remember when Albert Belle trampled Fernando Vina? Yeah, me too. Also, Kenny Lofton was everywhere. I swear he had a 1.000 OBP. Omar Vizquel was cool. Jim Thome used to play third base! Bartolo Colon wasn't swollen. Those were the days. The 2013 Indians have a long way to go, if they want to make people forget those fun 90s teams. Did they get there this off-season? What does 2013 hold for the Cleveland Indians?
Let's find out!
Cleveland Indians 2012 - Actual W-L - 68-94; Pythagorean W-L - 64-98
Free Agent Signings - Nick Swisher - 4 years, $56 Mil; Mark Reynolds - 1 year, $6 Mil; Brett Myers - 1 year, $7 Mil
Key Losses - Esmil Rogers, Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald, Tony Sipp, Lars Anderson, Jeanmar Gomez, Travis Hafner, Roberto Hernandez, Russ Canzler, Kevin Slowey, Rafael Perez, Grady Sizemore (?), Jack Hannahan, Casey Kotchman
Seriously? Actual key losses - Choo. Perhaps Sipp and Sizemore. Time will tell.
Addition by Subtraction - Probably Grady Sizemore. The fans need to be able to move on and so does Sizemore. Hopefully, he can get healthy and salvage his career. He's only 30, despite spending 75 years on the DL.
Waiver Claims - Blake Wood from Kansas City
Notable Minor League Deals - Matt Capps, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Raburn, Ben Francisco, Matt Carson, Fernando Nieve
Other Moves - Picked up Ubaldo Jimenez's option; New manager Terry Francona
Former Twin alert! - Matt Capps! I analyzed the signing here, and I like it!
Bullet Dodged - Matt Carson. I got tired of people telling me that the Twins needed to give Matt Carson more playing time. He's like 50, just let him rest.
The 2013 Cleveland Indians added one of my favorite non-Twins in Nick Swisher. I used to just loathe the guy. I found his antics and t-shirts to be obnoxious and I resented him for his positive attitude. I have done a complete 180 on Swisher. Why should it bother me that someone really enjoys his job and wants to include other people in his enjoyment? So, now I love him. Why not? It makes me sad that Grady Sizemore has had such a rough stretch, but Michael Brantley put together a nice season last year. He is 25 years old, seems like a good fielder (eye-test!) and posted a 113 OPS+ last year. Not bad. Finding guys like Brantley are vital for successful teams.
They have some really interesting young players other than Brantley. Carlos Santana looked like he could become an MVP candidate a couple years ago. His ceiling might not be that high, but he still has star potential. Jason Kipnis was great in the first half and terrible in the second half. Even if he can be somewhere in between, he can have a lot of value. The bullpen has some really talented young arms too. Chris Perez is the closer. His nickname is Pure Rage? Is that true? Hmm, not sure how I feel about that. Vinnie Pestano is excellent as the set up man, and could close games himself.
Cleveland also made a really interesting trade. They moved Shin-Soo Choo, one of their most productive players, in a deal that netted them Drew Stubbs and Trevor Bauer. Stubbs is a strikeout machine, capable of playing a solid outfield. Bauer was the gem of the deal. He had been a top five pitching prospect but disappointed in his MLB debut with Arizona last year. Arizona was sour on Bauer (rhymes!) but he still has really big upside. There is risk, but it's hard to find a player with Bauer's ceiling. Bauer is pretty close to MLB ready, so he might even help in 2013.
2013 might not be a playoff season, but the future is fairly bright in Cleveland. Francisco Lindor. Enough said.
Oh yeah, Mark Reynolds is blind.
Are they better than last year? Perhaps. It would be hard to be worse. I'm not sure they did enough to make a playoff run though. Francona is a good manager, so he could have a positive effect. I could see them getting to .500 if things go well.
How the Twins can finish ahead of them - Injuries could hurt this team. I don't see a juggernaut here, but they should be safely better than the Twins unless their pitching really falters.
Predicted Division Finish - Probably 3rd or 4th, but 2nd isn't crazy. This is crazy. Crazy great.
Interested in the rest of the Central? Here are the remaining teams. Twins coming soon.
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals