Indians: Change In Philosophy Acquiring Offense Is Needed


Another Cleveland Indians offseason is occurring. Despite a new chance to change the outlook of the team, the same way of acquiring offense looks to be the same. That is something that needs to be altered now.

Making the necessary transactions for a small market team like the Cleveland Indians can be very challenging. However, that does not mean Cleveland cannot get quality talent to fill key needs on their roster.

Even though they will sign some players, the Indians have not gone out of their way to acquire players who can fill a need now and be key members of the future.

The toughest hurdle to succeed is their limited payroll, but that does not mean teams cannot get the talent they need. Look at the World Series winner, Kansas City Royals. Their organization is certainly not a big market team and they have had success for a number of years now.

Sure the Tribe has made bad signings such as 1B/DH Nick Swisher, but all teams have bad signings.

Could this offseason be different? So far no it does not look like it is going to be. In fact, the Indians are already off to a bad start attempting to acquire offense. The team placed a blind bid for Korean 1B Byung Ho Park, but they fell short of the Minnesota Twins’ bid of $12.85 million. How does Cleveland let another player go to a division rival? Cleveland’s bid is unknown.

There is no guarantee Park and the Twins will be able to work out a deal, but more than likely they will be able to. For an Indians team that could use an upgrade at 1B, why wouldn’t the Indians make more of a substantial bid? Cleveland’s current 1B Carlos Santana is more suitable for the DH position.

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The total cost to sign Park is not going to be as much as other players who have played in other leagues or of the top infielders on the free agent market. IF Jung Ho Kang signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates last offseason to a four year, $11 million contract that could be worth as much as $16.25 million.

Say Cleveland offered a bid of $15 million and signed Park to a contract worth $15-$20 million. That is an investment of $30-$35 million. A contract over four seasons would cost the team no more than five million a season pending how the contract is structured. This is an opportunity down the road from now that Cleveland would have wished they did more to secure.

Fans have seen the team sign players other teams do not have interest in, are past their prime for some time now, and/or is struggling to still play. Sure the signings of veteran free agents are still going to occur. That is no problem.

What is a problem is when the team does not sign a player who wants an extra million or two and is a better fit for the team. Instead, multiple older or less talented players are signed to fill a position.

One notable example of this is when the Indians decided not to increase their offer to OF Ryan Ludwick.

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What about trades? If the Indians would trade for talent for the present rather than the future, then the team would not have the issues they currently have.

Popular pitchers such as Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco could be on the move. If a trade is made involving pitching, then they cannot trade for a player(s) that is still going to be in minor league level for a while. Should Cleveland make such a trade, the return needs to include players who can improve the offense now.

It does not hurt acquiring someone in the minors too as a throw-in, but there are multiple teams who are more than willing to improve their pitching depth for immediate offensive help.

How will Cleveland look to improve themselves this offseason? They are not going to be big players on the free agent market so the improvements to the team via trade will take some time for something to happen.

Next: Potential Cleveland Indians' Free Agent Targets

The free agent signings they make will help, but in order to take that next level, the Tribe’s front office must be first be willing to take a step up in their negotiations to acquire the best possible talent.