Apr 6, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher (33) singles in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Early Returns on Cleveland Indians: "Flawed Contenders"


The Cleveland Indians have started their season with 2 series, their third is a double header today. The team stands at 3-3 with a -3 run differential, but with such a small sample that number is currently pretty meaningless. The Indians have extended 3 of their core position players, Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis, while allowing pitchers Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez to move on and letting ace Justin Masterson play out his contract. Grantland has the Tribe as the lowest rated amongst their grouping “Flawed Contenders.”

They don’t give a further description of the Indians but here is the group:

Flawed Contenders

Better than some, worse than others, but good enough to contend.

14. Cleveland Indians (3-3, -3)
13. New York Yankees (3-3, -2)
12. Atlanta Braves (4-2, +6)
11. Kansas City Royals (2-3, -3)
10. Texas Rangers (3-3, -7)
9. Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2, +7)
8. San Francisco Giants (5-2, +10)
7. Oakland A’s (3-3, +3)

They do go on to describe the Braves, hence the boldface type, who, like the Indians, have some major concerns in their rotation. For the Braves it is due to injury, the Indians due to free agency and hope in young arms developing.

Flawed contenders may be the best description of the Tribe. They could make a run if the youth of the staff comes together and the lineup and bullpen stay solid. Yet if anyone of those falls apart they don’t have an overwhelming strength that could carry them through a struggle in one area.

How would you rank the Indians so far? What have been the positives? Negatives?

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Cleveland Indians

  • Gary

    The Indians did nothing to improve on a pretty decent team last season. Absolutely, nothing!
    So, I really wasn’t expecting anything more than a .500 team this season.
    Their starting pitching is a very big issue. They let two good pitchers walk and think Carrasco is their best bet as the number 5 starter over Tomlin. I don’t see it. And as the season progresses Carrasco will prove it himself. He is better suited out of the bullpen.
    Doing nothing to bolster a inconsistent offense will also hurt any chance they had of competing with the Tigers. No true lead off man, no true clean up hitter. Nobody who will hit 30 hrs and drive in 100 rbi.
    The Indians chose to pretty much keep the same team as last season. Last season they played over their heads. That won’t happen this season. They were only a couple pieces away from really contending this season. But, chose to sit back and watch other contenders improve their teams.
    I will still root for the Tribe. I have been a fan for 50 years. Just wish they could have built on the season they had last year and really gave themselves a chance to compete this season.

    • Letterman007

      Agree with you Gary, they went back to dumpster diving in free agency and lost much more than they gained! They over paid for Bourn and Swisher, but they had too! They will have to over pay any decent free agents who come here except the ones they usually go after. The has beens at the end of a career and hope for one good year as they got last year, but were never going anywhere past the play in game!! Or they get the players that didn’t do anything and were busts with the club that drafted them and hope a change of scenery will wake then up! mostly doesn’t happen!!

  • “Bobby”

    The “Factory of Sadness”?

    Indians Baseball since the Gateway project, for me anyway, has not been that. If it just causes sadness, why follow? Win or lose, baseball is no real sadness. Baseball protects us from real sadness.

    • Jared Mueller

      Big fan of baseball as well. Site name was given awhile ago to play off Mike Polk Jr. but sports are to be a refuge. We try to focus here on the positives and enjoyment of all Cleveland professional sports.