October starts tomorrow. No more #ChasingOctober, no more #HuntForOctober and no more “If the season ended today…” No more maybes, what ifs, hopefullys there only ARE. The Cleveland Indians ARE in the Playoffs. The Indians ARE the first Wild Card. The Tribe ARE 92-70. They ARE hosting a Playoff game Wednesday. They ARE waiting for 1 of 2 teams to beat on each other for the right to face the Clevelanders. Today we at FoS ARE giving out some seasonal awards as we look back at a season that was.
MVP(ickup) – Nick Swisher – While his numbers aren’t other worldly, .246 average with 22 HRs and 63 RBIs, his attitude and approach was culture changing. His genuine enthusiasm for the game and for Ohio is evident. His decision to sign here gave Michael Bourne more reason to sign as well.
LVP(ickup) – Daisuke Matsuzaka – While a few names could fit here it, since Dice-K never pitched in the majors for the Tribe he is most appropriate. He was signed along with a few other players with the hope they could come back to the way they had played in the past. It was not to be, so all the fans excitement was for not, as he requested his release and signed with the New York Mets. There he had 7 starts with a 3-3 record and 4.42 ERA. Nothing lossed.
Best Steal – Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes for Esmil Rogers – The Indians were possibly looking to trade starting shortstop Asdrubel Cabrera so they made this deal. Rogers posted a 4.77 ERA for the Blue Jays while Gomes and Aviles were key bench components throughout the year. They gave Francona flexibility when players struggled or needed a day off. Both should be key players the next couple of years. All that for a reliever. STEAL.
MVP(erson) – Tito Francona – As has been noted in the past his optimism and enthusiasm defined the team this year. Francona isn’t always the best in game manager but the way he approaches his players shows how much he believes in them. That belief often turned the player into a better player. When someone believes in you its much easier to believe in yourself. How else do you explain Jason Giambi’s walk off homeruns, and under 200 batting average, belief.
MVP(layer) – Michael Brantley – Brantley, or Dr. Smooth as he is known on Twitter, didn’t have the best stats for the team but overall was the most impactful and important player for the Tribe this year. Brantley drove in runs with 2 outs, moved runners over and did all the little things at the plate. His defense in left, as a former centerfielder, is often overlooked but Brantley was dynamic. He made catches look easy and showed a great arm, he has been credited with at least 11 outfield assists.
LVP(layer) – Brett Myers – Mark Reynolds was a option here but he provided a boost from the plate for the first month before struggling and later being released. So at least he gave something to the team. Myers was a abject disaster. Myers lost all 3 games he started and had a 8.02 ERA. He was demoted and later released. His large contract is off the books and hopefully that money can be spent better next year.
MIP (Interesting Player) – Scott Kazmir – Kazmir was another pickup, like Dice-K, that the team hoped could return to form. Not only did he do that but more. He was most interesting due to his ups and downs. Throughout the year he would have great stretches followed by poor stretches, and calls for him to go to the bullpen. Kazmir finished up strong and will be interesting in the playoffs and if the team and player can agree to a contract for 2014 and beyond.
LIP – Carlos Santana – Santana is the Least Interesting Player, not because he wasn’t productive, but because he was hardly noticed. With so many other story lines it seems Santana’s 20 HRs and 74 RBIs are taken for granted. Santana didn’t explode offensively like many had hoped but his solid play was a rock in a topsy turvey year.
Wednesday will be a huge day for the Tribe and their fans. The game is sold out, the team is excited and for a few days, at minimum, Cleveland is a TRIBE TOWN!