Saturday, February 11, 2012

No Reason to be Pessimistic About The Indians Offseason.

Some will point to the moves the Indians made this winter as an indictment against the Indians front office and say its more evidence that the team does not want to contend.  Despite the increase in opening day payroll from 49M in 2011 to somewhere in the 63M-70M range in 2012 (depending on the Carmona [RHH] outcome) the same segment of fans will suggest that the ownership is more interested in collecting welfare from MLB than in investing in the on-field product.

These same group of fans will only see spending on brand name players as the only way to close the gap on the rest of the competition and would show the fans that they are serious about winning. Anything short of multiple brand name signings or trading prospects for higher priced brand names reverts the argument back  to the opening paragraph..don't want to win, cheap owner, etc.

Whether a fan is happy with the moves the Indians made or disgruntled by them the trust factor that the front office is trying to field a competitive team that can challenge for a division title should not be a question up for debate. What the Indians front office is banking on is the following:

1. A healthy and productive return of Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo.

2 Ubaldo Jimenez straightens himself out and reverts back to the top of the rotation pitcher he was in Colorado.

3. Justin Masterson continues to develop and is closer to his first half performance than his second half performance.  

4.  Carlos Santana continues to develop in his second full big league season and becomes an even bigger middle of the order bat.

5. Asdrubal Cabrera has a 2012 season that matches his 2009/2011 seasons.

6. Lonnie Chisehnall advances and at some point during the season takes over as the everyday 3b and sprays line drives from gap to gap at Progressive Field.

7. Michael Brantley finally steps up, stays healthy, and has a breakout year.

8. Jason Kipnis shows that he is an above average second baseman with all-star potential.

9. The  bullpen will be able to effectively work as many innings as necessary to overcome the lack of quality starting pitching.

10. Casey Kotchman provides stellar defense at 1b and saves the team numerous unearned runs and errors that force the starting pitchers to make more pitches hastening their exit (see #9).

11. Derek Lowe can survive pitching in the AL, pitch to a below league average FIP, and avoid the 2011 September collapse.

All of these things probably won't happen but the Indians front office is hoping that enough of them materialize, enough to carry the team through until the trade deadline with the team in contention.  From there they can add and supplement the roster as needed.

You never know what can happen at that point - remember the Detroit Tigers were only 51-46 when they made the deal to acquire Wilson Betemit on July 20th and were only 56-51 when they made the trade for Doug Fister at the trade deadline. Believe it or not they still only held a 2-game lead with a record of 64-57 when they acquired Delmon Young on August 15th.

Fister, Betemit, and Young weren't on the February 2011 Tigers roster and the 2011 Tigers hadn't done much over the first 4 months of the season except play near .500 baseball. From there the Tigers took full advantage of a schedule that from August 5th to the end of the season saw them matched up against one team with a record over .500.

No comments:

Post a Comment