Cleveland Browns, Indians Step Aside, It’s Time For The Cavaliers

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Aug 18, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; The glove and hat of Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey (28) rest on the third base wall prior to a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Down The Line With The Cleveland Indians…

Does it seem like Indians season ended too early? Doesn’t it seem like it just started? Maybe that’s because the season really didn’t start until the team brought up Fransisco Lindor. The team’s prospect finally made his debut halfway through the season, and by September the Indians were playing meaningful baseball.

The dead weight of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn‘s deals were gone, and every night it seemed like there was someone new stepping up to win the game. I know I was watching the standings daily, hoping the team could overcome a 5 game deficit and make the playoffs as the second wildcard team. Yet it proved to be a goal that was too insurmountable so late in the season. Yet I wanted more.

I wanted more Lindor, I wanted more Cody Anderson, I even dare to say I wanted more Lonnie Chisenhall in Right Field. Sure, the team finished just a game above .500, but it doesn’t feel like that. For a season that started out with Sports Illustrated picking the Indians as their favorite to win the World Series, 81-80 is far from where this team was predicted by many to be. However, it was a different team in the last few months of the season. I’m left optimistic for 2016, whereas in June I may not have said that.

Aug 29, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) delivers in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Who will be in the 2016 starting rotation?

If there was one thing we knew going into 2015, or thought we knew, it was that the pitching staff would lead this team. Well, we were right, although perhaps not in the way one would think. Ace Corey Kluber went from Cy Young award winner to a 9 wins and 16 losses kind of pitcher despite a 3.49 ERA. While Trevor Bauer had a very average year going 11-12, Danny Salazar went 14-10, Carlos Carrasco 14-12, Cody Anderson 7-3, and Josh Tomlin 7-2 behind Kluber.

Tomlin’s contributions were a surprise to the team as he was returning from surgery, so it’s hard to know what to expect from him going forward. Salazar and Carrasco both finished the year with double digit wins and double digit losses. They were either on their game or they were off. Carrasco found himself part of trade rumors around the trade deadline, so it’ll be interesting to see if the team moves him in the off-season in an attempt to acquire a big bat to bolster the offense. Salazar started the season at AAA, but kept his spot in the rotation with solid pitching efforts all year. The wildcard for the season was Trevor Bauer who started the season effectively, but fell off the wagon at the end of the season giving up big innings and multiple home runs in his starts. Then perhaps the most effective pitcher was Cody Anderson, who has earned himself a spot in the rotation going forward in my opinion.

So 5 starting rotation spots, who gets them? That’ll be the question for the new front office of the Cleveland Indians and manager Terry Francona to decide. If it was up to me? I look to trade Tomlin, Bauer, or Carrasco and see who gets me the best return. As it stands now, my rotation would be Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Anderson, and Bauer. Tomlin is the odd man out/long relief guy.

Oct 4, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, left, stands with outgoing president Mark Shapiro before a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Front Office Shake-Up, Same Philosophy

When the Dolans promoted Mark Shapiro and put Chris Antonetti as GM, the Indians Front Office operated as though Shapiro had never left. We as fans practically married the two together for firing when calling for the Dolans to make a change. Now new Indians GM Mike Chernoff is in the mold of the departed Mark Shapiro and newly promoted Chris Antonetti.

What does that mean? It means much of the same. It seems the Dolans are in love with the idea of consistency, perhaps something the Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam could learn from. However, it could be to the detriment of the team. Sure I said I was looking forward to 2016 and I have some optimism, but if I have to put my hopes of offensive production in the likes of Nick Swisher or Brandon Moss again I might scream. Here’s hoping I’m wrong about Chernoff, but from what I’ve heard, it’s going to be status quo even despite the front office shake-up.

Next: Ramblings and The Week That Was