The Cleveland Indians Should Be The Favorite In The AL For 2017 With Encarnacion Signing
With the news that Edwin Encarnacion signing a 3 Year Deal Worth $55 MIL< and a Team Option for a 4th season that is $25 MIL – or a $5 MIL Buyout, the Indians have put themselves back into the lead as the favorite in the Junior Circuit.
So far, the oddsmakers don’t agree with that last statement, as the Red Sox are currently +475 to win the World Series – while Cleveland is listed at +700 to win the Fall Classic, but lets look at what Cleveland has going for it.
Michael Brantley is coming back (potentially fully healthy, and was a legitimate AL MVP candidate in 2014 and 2015. Now to have him as a 3/4 tandem with EE, you are talking about a great heart of the lineup.
Carlos Santana had a career year for HRs (34) RBI (87) OPS (.865) and will still bring in his 100 Walks a year.
The club can fend enough offense in RF a Catcher to hit 8th and 9th.
But the biggest reason why I prefer the Cleveland squad over the Red Sox is the path of resistance to the AL Pennant. It all starts in a now easiest Division to win in the League.
Chicago and Minnesota are either rebuilding or just too young, whereas the Tigers and Royals are looking to dump payroll and trade some long term contracts. Detroit has not said goodbye too many players yet (Cameron Maybin was a decent stick in 2016 for them), but that is maybe 2 teams giving some resistance.
Boston will have to contend with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, all that had winning record in 2016 – and should at least put up a fight to the Beantowners. The Tampa Bay Rays are no slouch either when it comes to Starting Pitcher or power.
Perhaps no club has had a worse winter in the AL other than the Texas Rangers. Seattle is a good solid club – but is banking on Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma to carry them pitching wise. Houston’s Starting Rotation may be their downfall as well.
The Angels are better defensively but still have many questions to ponder whether they can even have a winning campaign upcoming.
Still none of these teams stand that much superior in their Division as the Indians do to their AL Central rivals.
No doubt Boston has talent in their lineup. however they have just lost David Ortiz out of their offense, and will hope the internal improvements of Andrew Benintendi, Blake Swihart – and newly arrived Mitch Moreland can help out cover the offense.
David Price is an outstanding regular season pitcher – however is tormented by a horrible playoffs mark.
Did we mention yet that Cleveland beat the Boston Red Sox out in the ALDS this past year?
After signing Edwin Encarnacion. the Indians payroll projects to be around $120 MIL for 2017, yet I think the club might stretch out the payroll a bit more if they can see a spike in attendance figures. This is a must considering Cleveland went to the World Series.
Boston is also still at the Luxury Tax Threshold, which the club is dying to get down under for a reset, so don’t look for them to add any more significant pieces extra this offseason now.
Yes Dave Dombrowski has the power to swing some deals throughout the year to add more dollars and players. yet I think with the AL East more competitive, I could see the team battling the Jays all season long.
Toronto could still add some more players in their own right, and be better 0n paper than they were in 2016. The Orioles are going to be a tough lineup to plow through.
I honestly think the Boston Red Sox will miss David Ortiz more in 2017 than they will ever realize.
While on merits of team rosters – the teams are more equal, yet the strength of Division is the decisive factor in why I believe the Indians are the favorite to win the American League right now.
By Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner)
*** 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***
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Posted on December 23, 2016, in gambling 101 and tagged al central, AL West, American league, andrew miller, blake swihart, boston red sox, cameron maybin, Carson Smith, cleveland indians, Cleveland Indians payroll 2017, Cody Allen, Corey Kluber, craig kimbrel, Danny Salazar, dave dombrowski, david ortiz, edwin encarnacion, Edwin Encarnacion contract Indians, felix hernandez, Francisco Lindor, jason kipnis, Jose Ramirez, lonnie chisenhall, michael brantley, mike napoli, mitch moreland, progressive field, rick porcello, toronto blue jays, trevor bauer, tyler naquin, tyler thornburg. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.