Cleveland Indians: 2017 offseason Christmas wish list

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Andrew McCutchen /

The offseason has not gotten off to a great start for the Cleveland Indians. Maybe the 2017 Christmas wish list can help.

The Cleveland Indians are going to be a good team next season but being a World Series contending team is no sure thing. Given how the offseason has played out so far, many holes need to be fixed before stating Cleveland could legitimately win it all again.

That’s not to say their window is closed. Rather, it is closing, and the front office cannot be content with replacing the production with at best average players.

Having lost three impactful players already (with others expected) in Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and Joe Smith, this offseason has not been welcoming to the Tribe. So, knowing that Christmas is right around the corner, what is on the Indians’ Christmas wish list this year?

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I have voiced my displeasure many times regarding Cleveland’s decisions to bring back Michael Brantley and Michael Martinez. However, since both will be part of the organization in some way, both can help to an extent, which leads me to the first topic on the list.

The first is just hoping to see Brantley not miss as much time as he did in the past and not playing like a shell of himself.

Next up is without an everyday first baseman, moving Brantley to first and hoping for the best is announced sooner rather than later. With that said, this is assuming Cleveland does not view Bobby Bradley as the best option to start the season at the big league level. This wish may have to be postponed a bit until spring training arrives.

Assuming Brantley is the starter at first, Jason Kipnis needs a spot. Well, on this Christmas list, Kipnis is not going to be playing somewhere in Cleveland. Instead, the Indians deal Kipnis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Andrew McCutchen.

While Kipnis could play the outfield in Cleveland, Kipnis is owed nearly $13.7 million according to this upcoming season. He’s also owed $14.7 million in 2019. Not to mention his team option for 2020 that is worth $16.5 million.

Kipnis’ arm is questionable and given his contract, among other reasons, I’d move him. Maybe Cleveland could still land McCutchen without giving up Kipnis. However, if they were able to pull that off, more of their farm system would be depleted as a result.

McCutchen is not going to be the MVP candidate anymore wherever he plays but having just one year left on his deal at $14.5 million, why not go big? McCutchen would play either corner outfield spot.

Here is how McCutchen has finished each season:

More subtractions than additions have occurred so far, so I understand why there is hesitancy in moving on from Kipnis. On the other hand, Kipnis isn’t the nucleus of the roster and there are other scenarios Cleveland could use to fill their infield after a Kipnis trade.

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Many people like Jose Ramirez at second base. While he’s probably preferred by the front office to play third, Ramirez is a difference-maker wherever he plays.

Therefore, having him at second and playing either Yandy Diaz if he can take the appropriate steps in spring training or Giovanny Urshela (if he could just hit) at third could be a good compromise. If the latter two doesn’t cut it, adding veteran infielder Yunel Escobar on a bargain deal in a platoon role with one of those two wouldn’t hurt.

All that said, a Christmas wish list wouldn’t mean much without shooting for the moon.

So, here are the following wishes that would properly wrap up the list: Many key relievers are coming off the market so whether it is via trade or free agency, the sooner moves can be made to help the bullpen, the better.

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Last but not least, somehow even with many teams interested, Cleveland brings back Jay Bruce as their right fielder. The longer other free agents like J.D. Martinez remains available, the better the chances that possibility could be. Yes, the likelihood is not that great but never say never.