The Cleveland has ridden great drafting, trades and salaried contracts to put themselves into contention for the AL Pennant over the next couple of years. The last thing they need to do is try to deal the one Bullpen member who helped pushed them over the top in the Junior Circuit in 2016. At worst, start the season with Andrew Miller – and if things go horribly, you can always trade him midway through the year with ome other guys as well.
Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner)
The 2016 season showed us just how valuable that a Relief Pitcher like Andrew Miller can be. Loaded with an arsenal of great Bullpen guys, Terry Francona flipped the coaching book on its keester by bringing back the old way that Relievers used to be implemented late in the games. I was a kid who would watch Goose Gossage mow down hitters as a hired gun late in contests.
We all saw it before our very own eyes. Now comes the most ridiculous notion ever of considering trading him? Really Cleveland?? You better not even fathom this until at least midway through the 2017 campaign.
I understand it is tough for a mid market club doling out $9M a year for a guy who might log 70 Innings – and not save the games he is in, but they just need to look at how good they fared in 2016.
The Tribe was without its best player all year in Michael Brantley, and also without Danny Salazar/Carlos Carrasco for the majority of the playoffs too. There is no way this club should have gone this far, and pushed the Cubs to the brink of elimination in the Fall Classic, before the reigning champs came back to ruin the party in Cleveland.
If I were in Chris Antonetti’s shoes I don’t start any dialogue about 2017’s roster without Andrew Miller on the opening day squad.
$9 Million is not earth shattering cash when you consider Andrew Cashner – and his bloated ERA of 5.25 just backed up his dome into Texas and settled for a cool $10 MIL for the 2017 season. If Cleveland can’t afford the guy they might as well pack up town in the middle of the night and head elsewhere (something that has happened in Cleveland before.) The 6 FT 7 – 31 Year old-fashioned a 10 – 1 record this year. with an incredible 123 Ks and just 9 BB in his 74.1 IP worth of work. Miller then fanned 30 batters, walked just five, while sporting a 1.40 ERA in 20.1 IP in the postseason, winning the ALCS MVP honors and nearly helped lead his team to Cleveland’s first WS win since 1948. If the goal is to win in the playoffs you can’t trade this guy right now. He is money there, and you have a chance to go back to October baseball again in 2017.
This 2016 AL Pennant squad should be conceivably better with a healthy Michael Brantley coming back, equaled with more seasoning from Tyler Naquin, and topped off with the emergence of Francisco Lindor/Jason Kipnis as an awesome double play combination.
it may be hard to fill the 34 HRs and 101 RBI that Mike Napoli brought forth, but one could still find a few cheap replacements to pull in some nice numbers. They could employ another DH full time like Pedro Alvarez on the cheap, and work in some against LHP – by bringing back Rajai Davis who crushes southpaws. Davis could act as a 4th OF in the midst of Naquin, Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall.
The Indians still also have Brandou Guyer – who can handle a stick against LHP as well – and act as a DH/OF.
Cleveland is currently slated to pay around $105 MIL to all of its current guys. Maybe there is only a few million in the coffers to play in Free Agency this offseason, yet this teams strength is its Bullpen – so don’t trade from that position of strength.
Terry Francona should be given all ample bodies to begin the campaign. If it all goes awry during the season you can always trade some players midway through the year if it looks like it will not be their year.
Furthermore, I would ride the beginning of the year just like they ended the playoffs. I would not change anything at all out of the gate. I would start the year off by playing with a huge sense of urgency.
The way the rest of the AL Central is looking, with the Tigers and white Sox talking a bot cutting payroll and maybe going for a rebuild, combined with KC potentially selling on their pending Free Agents in the next couple of years like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Wade Davis, then you could see how a quick Cleveland start could discourage the rest of the pack.
The Dodgers just set a record for innings logged into the playoffs and it served them well. The good news is the Indians can rely on their starters to provide some much needed rest for their late inning arms, by logging some of their own innings.
Go into frontrunner mode and let Francona figure out a way to get the likes of Miller, Allen and Shaw enough rest – so they can patchwork it through the end of the season.
Winning a bunch of games early, added with an awesome 2016 season – should see the Indians organization see a rise in attendance through the wickets to start the year. An early lead would only help the situation out. Cleveland should go all out to win in 2017. Go the way of the 2014 Royals turning a World Series loss into a repeat trip the next year.
Cleveland will need Miller’s skill set when it comes time for the playoffs too. This guy just seems to get better the more work he gets. Keep riding the horse.
The franchise is so lucky that they have Lindor in Pre-Arbitration status – and that despite missing almost all of the 2016 season – that Michael Brantley is criminally underpaid for his services on the board.
Kipnis, Kluber and Carrasco were also extended contracts at the exact perfect time. Having all these guys not cost a boatload is the reason you could have afforded Miller in the 1st place
Bryan Shaw and Carlos Santana are the only guys that are free after the 2017 year anyways. Those guys while vital to the team this year, can be replaced – whereas a guy like Miller is a game changer in his role. If they really need to keep the finances in line, they would be better served to dangle these players as trade bait first.
Terry Francona has won 2 Manager of the Year Awards in his 4 seasons in Cleveland. He is also underrated in his Bullpen management. The organization should let him have all of the weapons in the Relief Core. I think he should also run with the style he used in the playoffs to start the year. Worry about resting the guys later in the year if they come flying out of the gates early. This way of thinking could have us return to what Relievers used to be implored for in game use.
*** 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/Part Owner’ Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.
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