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Cleveland Indians State Of The Union For 2016

The Indians had a disappointing 2015 with an 81 - 80 record, however some trades midway through the year have cleared the deck to acquire some upgrades at the OF and 1B positions. They should take advantage of this, and a lot of depth at the Starting Pitching to address their needs. If they play their cards right, they could some top players near the Trade Deadline next year and contend for a playoff spot in the American League.

The Indians had a disappointing 2015 with an 81 – 80 record, however some trades midway through the year have cleared the deck to acquire some upgrades at the OF and 1B positions. They should take advantage of this, and a lot of depth at the Starting Pitching to address their needs. If they play their cards right, they could some top players near the Trade Deadline next year and contend for a playoff spot in the American League.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Indians have had three straight losing seasons.  The problem is that they have gone from 92, to 85 to 81 wins over the last 3 years.  That is not the kind of trajectory you want to be on.

With the strong onus on the clubs drafting and decent trades over the last few years, it has been the Free Agency signings they haven’t fared so well on.

Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn killed their budget over the last few years, but at least they got from under those two players by dealing them both with some cash to Atlanta for 3B Chris Johnson.  The result is some better flexibility with cash going forward.

It is funny though, as they could use a CF and a 1B/DH type as their top two needs on the acquisitions market this winter.  They could use a guy with some pop from the right side as a Center Fielder.  The Tribe should definitely target Austin Jackson as a priority.

Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor may prove to be the best all around player tandem at 2B and SS in the Major leagues next year. They are far better than most of the Middle Infielders in the big leagues right now, and hold the key to make up for some other offensive deficiencies the rest of the squad may have,

Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor may prove to be the best all around player tandem at 2B and SS in the Major leagues next year. They are far better than most of the Middle Infielders in the big leagues right now, and hold the key to make up for some other offensive deficiencies the rest of the squad may have.

Michael Brantley is as solid as they come in LF, and is a great value contract at an average of $9 MIL per season over the next 3 years.

The club has Lonnie Chisenhall as their #1 guy on the RF depth chart, but the club could also stand to sign another player for beyond the grass.  There is a definite chance they can re-sign Ryan Raburn again too.

Chris Antonetti has drafted well - and traded decently as well. His Free Agency track record has not been great. He will need to change that his winter.

Chris Antonetti has drafted well – and traded decently as well. His Free Agency track record has not been great. He will need to change that his winter.

Indians Target List:

The Tribe should take a peek at Free Agents Justin Morneau or John Jaso.  Both can provide great AB as Veterans that could see some time at 1B for Santana.

Justin Morneau would definitely be a flier for some team based on his recent concussion history. Although he did recently win a Batting Title for the Colorado Rockies. A club like the Indians may use his services where he could DH some and play 1st Base.

Justin Morneau would definitely be a flier for some team based on his recent concussion history. Although he did recently win a Batting Title for the Colorado Rockies. A club like the Indians may use his services where he could DH some and play 1st Base.  He has a great eye at the plate and would definitely be an upgrade defensively over Santana if he can stay healthy.

A trade for Adam Lind may also be a good idea for one year.  I would trade Trevor Bauer or Josh Tomlin for him.

The Indians could use an offensive player who hits for a decent Batting Average – but also Walks a lot.

They should be fine at Catcher with Yan Gomes signed for years.

Having picked up Chris Johnson may have been ever better than they could have imagined as the hot corner market is futile right now on the open market.  Having a guy with a .280 Batting Average lifetime is not so bad.

Their doubleplay combination is dynamic with Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis working the middle infield. 

Only Houston Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve can rival the potential offense these two guys may put up next year,  This may make up for the lack of 1B/DH numbers they have if they can’t improve at the position.

Carlos Santana should be a permanent DH, and they 1B slot should be a wide open proposition for a transaction soon.

That is why it may be a great idea to take on flier on Justin Morneau. 1 year stop-gap candidates via trade maybe Pedro Alvarez, Adam Lind or James Loney.

You have to add to the Outfield depth as Abraham Almonte can’t be listed as your Starting CF if you are going to contend. 

With Cleveland never breaking the bank financially, one of the guys we already discussed at the position would be perfect.

Corey Kluber was the Cy Young Winner in 2014 - with an 18 - 9 record and a ERA of 2.44. That climbed to a 3.49 ERA in 2015 - with a 9 - 16 record despite a great WHIP o 1.05. He had some tough luck and will look to bounce back in 2016.

Corey Kluber was the Cy Young Winner in 2014 – with an 18 – 9 record and a ERA of 2.44 + WHIP of 1.05. The ERA climbed to a 3.49 in 2015 – with a 9 – 16 record despite a great WHIP of 1.05. He had some tough luck and will look to bounce back in 2016.

Perhaps other trade possibilities would be for the Cardinals to flip Jon Jay to them for a Starter, or a club like th Giants trading Angel Pagan if they sign a guy like Jason Heyward.

Cleveland has a deep rotation of young arms starting with 2014 AL Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber, followed by Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Cody Anderson and Josh Tomlin.

Francona went 744-552 (.574) as Manager for the Red Sox. He is now 258 - 227 (.532) under his 3 year term in Cleveland so far, although the wins are depleting for the 3 years at 92, 85 and 81 respectively. The man can build a Bullpen and cultivate young talent. With some right moves and a winnable Division where the teams aren't so mighty - Cleveland could definitely contend again in 2016 for a playoff spot.

Francona went 744-552 (.574) as Manager for the Red Sox. He is now 258 – 227 (.532) under his 3 year term in Cleveland so far, although the wins are depleting for the 3 years at 92, 85 and 81 respectively. The man can build a Bullpen and cultivate young talent. With some right moves and a winnable Division where the teams aren’t so mighty – Cleveland could definitely contend again in 2016 for a playoff spot.

The Bullpen has always found a way to get it done for Terry Francona teams, and they could also keep building it up through mid season trades.  It is never a good idea for a small market team to invest in a Relief Core in the offseason.

So far with all of the contracts the team has, they could potentially spend $25 – $30 Million this offseason.

One more thought I had for them is to sign a guy like Bartolo Colon.  You may only get him for a half of year, but an added arm to the rotation, mixed in with his leadership, could really help out the young core on the team next season. His pricetag would not be that high.

For a guy who only started 47 games from the 2006 - 2009 years, has defied all odds to be one of the most durable pitchers in the last 5 years, posting a record of 65 - 51, while lugging 147 Game Starts. His career renaissance has enabled him to become the Active Leader in Pitcher Wins (218) and Shutouts (13). He will turn 43 in late May next season. Cleveland has several young pitchers who will throw more Innings in 2016 then they every had. If Colon could work out for the Tribe - he may bring in that veteran leadership the club needs provided he doesn't cost that much to sign.

For a guy who only started 47 games from the 2006 – 2009 years, has defied all odds to be one of the most durable pitchers in the last 5 years, posting a record of 65 – 51, while lugging 147 Game Starts. His career renaissance has enabled him to become the Active Leader in Pitcher Wins (218) and Shutouts (13). He will turn 43 in late May next season. Cleveland has several young pitchers who will throw more Innings in 2016 then they ever had. If Colon could work out for the Tribe – he may bring in that veteran leadership the club needs provided he doesn’t cost that much to sign.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on November 25, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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