Will the Cleveland Indians fail to live up to preseason expectations yet again? The FoS team weighs in.
It is that time of the year again. Spring training is in full swing and the Cleveland Indians are looking to improve on their 2015 third place finish in the AL Central (81-80).
In 2015, Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the magazine’s pick to win the World Series. Well, the prediction did not come to fruition. A 7-14 start in April ultimately doomed the Cleveland Indians. Manager Terry Francona will look to right the ship in his fourth season with the club.
The Tribe’s starting rotation is arguably the best in baseball, but plenty of questions remain as opening day approaches. The FoS team gave their predictions for the 2016 Cleveland Indians.
Too Many “Ifs” To Predict Success
With the free agent moves the Cleveland Indians made and no real trades in the offseason, I’m afraid they are right back in the situation they were in last year. Most fans were looking for them to make at least one significant trade to add the power bat or at least the RBI bat that has been needed for years here. It didn’t happen, therefore, they basically are back to having the pitching do what it could not last year and that is holding their opponents to fewer than three runs a game to get a victory.
Granted they picked up Mike Napoli, Juan Uribe, Will Venable , and a few others that are either coming back from injury or at the tail end of their careers. In other words cheap pick-ups, quantity instead of quality. We have to hope they have bounce back years or return to their former strengths and help the offensive and defensive ends of this team.
They have not solved their third base problem, as they only put a patch on it with the signing of Uribe. He is turning into a Franco clone as he just keeps showing up on a big league roster to fill a hole for a short time.
The biggest problem is in the outfield and the hole left by, 1) the surgery and recovery time for Michael Brantley, and 2) the PED suspension of Abraham Almonte. That gap in left hurt but as I understand it, Brantley is making good progress and barring a setback, may come back early. However, coupled with the Almonte suspension, really left a hole! Hopefully, Rajai Davis can help the situation.
The starting pitching is possibly some of the best in the American League. This may be the biggest reason some baseball predictors are putting the Tribe in position to finish high in the division. Some have gone so far as to say they could win the American League Central division. With Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and the rest it looks formidable.
The bullpen on the other hand, has some questions. Other than Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw there are a lot of question marks. Both the starting pitching is the and the bullpen staff is predominantly right-handed. They need to find at least one lefty that is reliable to get that left-handed hitter out when needed.
There are still many ifs for my liking on this team. If they can score runs, if they do not dig a hole early as they have the last few years, if everyone plays to their potential, and if they stay healthy are some things that need answered. They cannot afford to lose any more players to injury or suspension.
There ae just too many ifs and I hope I am wrong as I have rooted for this franchise for years. But I’m going to have to say a final record of 75-87.
Next: Offense Key To Success