Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tribe Needs: Looking Ahead to 2015

normally, i write this blog a couple weeks after the end of the season, about a week or so after my Season Recap blog goes live. this year, i had a lot of extra Brantley stuff to write about, so this one had to take a backseat for a while. but it's finished now, and includes any moves already made up to this point, so enjoy.

2014 was a bit of a step back compared to 2013. in Terry Francona's second year as the Indians' manager, we didn't make it to the postseason in any capacity and had 7 more losses. next year has to be better. and i'm not saying that in the "there's nowhere to go but up" way. i mean it in the "we HAVE to do better next season because there's no other option for us" type way. improvement is dependent upon both roster upgrades and internal progression. we can't just count on the latter and i really hope the front office realizes this. otherwise, it'll pretty much be a crapshoot on whether or not the Indians will reach and have an extended stay in the 2015 postseason.

the issue for the Tribe is always the same--money. so just how much of the payroll do we already have committed to our current players, and how much is left to spend? well, we're not gaining any extra cash from free agents this offseason because we only have 1, and he wasn't making much money to begin with. the fact that we have a lot of players who stand to make more money in 2015, by way of pay raises and arbitration, isn't exactly saving the Tribe any money either. right now, 10 players on the roster have set deals in place, and 5 players are eligible for arbitration. most of the rest will be getting paid the league minimum, another salary which always increases a little each season. if the team stays in the $80-85 million range, like it has in the last few years, then we're not going to have much cash left to spend in free agency. as usual.

let's start with adding up all of the 10 set contracts for 2015.
Swisher - $15 million
Bourn - $13.5 million
Santana - $6 million
Murphy - $6 million
Brantley - $5 million
Kipnis - $4,166,666
Aviles - $3.5 million
Raburn - $2.5 million
Gomes - $1 million
Atchison - $900,000
that's a total of $57,566,666, an increase of $9,816,666 from the set contracts that were already in place going into last year's offseason.

next in the arb eligible group, we have Chisenhall, Carrasco, Tomlin, Shaw, and Rzepczynski. i went over what everyone made for the 2014 season and weighed that against their performance to come up with what i felt were fair salary increases for 2015. my total was around $8 million. (and if it ends up being much more than that, then a lot of guys must have gone to arbitration and won lol) that brings the payroll up to $65,566,666 and the roster to 15 players.

so this leaves 10 players left to make the 25-man roster out of spring training, and most of those will be earning the league minimum. it's hard for me to guess which guys will for sure make the roster though, because after our top 4 relievers, i have no idea who else will be filling up the bullpen. and we could also bring in outside players to the team, taking some other guys' spots and forcing them to be optioned out to Columbus at the beginning of the year.

guaranteed to be a Cleveland Indian next year on the league minimum's salary are Kluber, Allen, and Ramirez. but there's also gonna be McAllister, Salazar, Bauer, and House fighting for spots in the rotation, as well as Lee, Crockett, and Hagadone fighting for bullpen spots. we need to name a backup catcher, too, so Perez could very well open up the season with the Tribe for the first time. and it's anyone's guess as to whether guys like Walters or Holt will be on the 25-man.

currently, the league minimum for 2015 is set at $500,000 plus a cost of living adjustment rounded to the nearest $500. so i really can't do an exact calculation for this. the league min increased by $10,000 the last 2 years, and it's a safe bet that it will increase a little more next year. i'll estimate a 520K salary for 2015. i shouldn't be off by too much regardless. odds are we won't fill our roster with 10 of the above guys, but i'll account for 8 league minimum contracts next season. going by that, the total is $4,160,000 for league min contracts.

the next category of players is quite easy--free agents. the only free agent we've got this time around is Giambi, and he's not coming back as a player next year. so there's no cost to be added here.

that's gonna bring the grand total to $69,726,666 just to keep the majority of our players. for simplicity's sake, we'll call it $70 million already committed to players. going back to the assumption that we have a payroll between $80-85 million, that means we'll have between $10-15 million to spend. or maybe more if not all those league min players are gonna make it to the bigs. still, that's probably not enough to get us everything that we need and get it in the form of high quality players.

in typical Tribe offseason fashion, we are most likely going to add new faces by acquiring reclamation projects for cheap and inviting them to spring training, and also by making other minor signings. i think it's pretty clear that we aren't going out and signing any big name free agents, not like we'd have the money for that even if we wanted to. we'll be looking for the cream of the crap in regards to free agents that we can afford who might actually make an impact lol think in terms of more Murphy and Raburn type role players who will cost anywhere from $1-6 million. that's certainly not what Tribe fans want to hear, but you guys know as well as i do that if any "big" moves are going to be made this offseason, they will have to come through trades. it's possible that we'll part ways with some current players in a multi-team deal to bring in help. i will get into who could potentially be on the trading block and some lesser name free agent targets a little further down in this blog. but those are really our only options, cause we sure as hell aren't handing out any more 50 million something dollar contracts to anybody again.

truthfully, i can't blame the Indians for being hesitant about signing free agents to big deals anyways. look at what's happened with our last 2 big FA signings. how's that Nick Swisher contract working out? before coming to Cleveland, this was a guy with good health, durability, and decent numbers. since he's been here, he's been hurt half the time and sucked at the plate the other half. he's a 56 million dollar joke so far. when this signing officially went down, i wasn't a big fan, mostly because he came from the Yankees. but i also knew he was part of a lineup there with guys who were much better hitters than him, and that made some of his numbers look better. in Cleveland, we don't have the power hitters that he was used to playing with, so now Swisher's shortcomings are more obvious. first, all the sudden he couldn't be playing right field because of his shoulder. then, he had to be limited at 1st base because of his knees. it wouldn't be surprising to see him mainly in a DH role next year. and that's not worth the huge contract he signed. it just screams Travis Hafner all over again--another big long-term signing gone bad. and Swisher's endless, positive attitude, even when he shouldn't be smiling, is, was, and always will be obnoxious to me. Bro-hio i don't think so. if he does not come back strong next year (and yes, i realize i said this last offseason, too), then he really is a bust and his ass needs to go. to this point, he's been a 2-year, $26 million dollar waste. if this continues, and i'm convinced it will, then we have to cut our losses. all i want is a picture with his wife JoAnna first, and then he can just GTFO lol

then there's Bourn. i was not excited when we signed him either and it looks like i was right. again. he was supposed to be this amazing leadoff man who could steal 40-50 bases with his ridiculous speed. he hasn't even stolen half that since he's been here. first, the excuse was he needed to learn the American League pitchers better. now he's battling continual hamstring issues. he had been another guy who normally plays 150 games a year and he's also currently dealing with health problems that he didn't have before. not to mention when he was healthy, he was disappointing at the plate. and of course it angered me that despite all this, he was still leading off. if this had been Brantley, he would have been (and was) ripped outta the leadoff spot in less than 2 seconds. anyways, Bourn's OPS is too low for him to be the leadoff man. sadly, Francona won't move him cause he's too loyal to his vets. i'm over that. and for the record, i wanted him gone last offseason. that didn't happen and look how he played. (instead we traded Stubbs and he had one of his better seasons with Colorado. shoulda kept him and unloaded Bourn.) he's another player who needs to do better next season. although having said this same thing one year ago also, my hopes are low.

lately, every time the Indians take a chance on signing free agents to big deals, they get fucked. it's been like this since the glory days of the 90s ended. it's like there's a new curse on us. guys who have good numbers come here and slump. guys who never go on the DL are becoming all too familiar with it. so as much as fans want to bitch about our lack of activity in free agency, based on the results, i can't fault the Indians for staying away from and backing out of some big deals. we don't have a great track record here and we're still in the middle of two bad contracts. we don't need any more right now.

from a totally biased perspective, this just really makes me appreciate what Brantley did this season even more. boy was he lucky that his little health issues didn't amount to anything serious that would have kept him out long and hurt his numbers. and i also got to thinking, if we make a trade and pick up that big bat that we need, Brantley may never lead the team with his numbers again like he did this year. plus, if Swisher and Bourn do get healthy, along with Kipnis, and if Santana finally reaches his full potential, there could be more competition next year. but i know that really doesn't matter. while being a team stat leader is nice, it's by no means an end-all be-all goal. this was simply something that came to my mind, being the ginormous Brantley advocate that i am lol

now before i get into our team needs and this offseason's free agent market, let's say our goodbyes to the players who i think are outta here:

--Jason Giambi is our only free agent and he is too old to be playing. if Francona can find a spot for him on his coaching staff, that'll be the only way we see him in Cleveland next year.

--J.B. Shuck. he was brought in towards the end of the season due to a few injured outfielders and made little to no impact. he won't be back and won't be missed.

--Chris Gimenez signed a minor league deal with the Rangers earlier today (on November 20). he was picked up as a backup catcher when Gomes went on the DL with a concussion. however, Roberto Perez ended up taking over the catching duties, so Gimenez didn't even play much in his time here.

since we have no free agents that we need to worry about extending qualifying offers to and retaining this offseason, i think the front office should definitely approach Mr. Cy Young Award Winner, Corey Kluber, about a contract extension. odds are he would accept it too, because the mind-boggling truth of the matter is he's only due to make the league minimum right now for 2015. i would offer him a very generous deal, buying out some of his arb eligible years, and ensure that he's here during what i'm assuming will be the best years of his career. it won't be a Miami Marlins-Giancarlo Stanton type contract (that shit was nuts lol), but Corey should still make out pretty good.

after that, i would scour the free agent pool for some glimmer of a decent starting pitcher and right-handed bat. while we can't afford any big names, we could potentially take on an older vet--Francona's favorite lol--and bring him in on a cheaper, 1-2 year deal. or we might sign a player who's been struggling recently, for whatever reason, yet maintained a strong reputation in his past. you never know, a change in scenery and the right circumstances could bring someone here who surprises us and positively contributes to the team and its ultimate goal. 

specific Tribe needs for 2015 include:

--a starting pitcher for more depth

--a right-handed hitter with some pop (when have we NOT needed one of these? lol)

--a backup catcher needs to be decided upon, whether internally or externally

--more bullpen depth

--potentially another 3rd baseman (could kill 2 birds with 1 stone if he was a righty too)

--possibly another right fielder (again, a righty would be nice, and it'd be a huge plus if he could also play 3rd lol)

i'm going to break things down by position in a second, but first i want to go back to our guaranteed spots. we have 10 players with set contracts and 5 who are eligible for arbitration. of those 15, i think only 14 are truly locked in for Opening Day. we don't technically have to start with Tomlin here, so i'm not committing him to a spot just yet. then we have Kluber, Allen, and Ramirez--3 more who are definitely guaranteed. that brings the total to 17 committed roster spots, giving us 8 open spots.

now let's run through the roster positions and see just where we have open spots that need filling. 


left field: Brantley, Raburn

center field: Bourn, Brantley

right field: Murphy, Raburn

other OF possibilities: Swisher, Aviles, Walters (if he makes the team)
waiting in Columbus: Tyler Holt, James Ramsey, Carlos Moncrief

the outfield seems pretty set. however, with the unreliability of Bourn, Raburn, and sometimes Murphy, i'm sure the Indians will bring in another outfielder or two to spring training on a minor league deal or non-roster invite and stash him in Columbus until needed.

taking into account the 25-man commitments at the moment and our immediate team needs, i'd say this is an area where we have 0 open spots to fill.


1st base: Santana, Swisher, Chisenhall

2nd base: Kipnis, Aviles

shortstop: Ramirez, Aviles

3rd base: Chisenhall, Aviles

other IF possibilities: Walters
waiting in Columbus: Jesus Aguilar, Francisco Lindor, Giovanny Urshela

i personally would find a way to squeeze Walters onto the 25-man roster because he can play a variety of positions and that's never a bad thing. i know we also have Aviles signed for next season, but because of our tendency for injuries, another versatile player couldn't hurt. additionally, i think we could use another 3rd baseman to platoon with Chisenhall, other than Aviles. it's probably safe to say that Santana won't ever see the hot corner again lol Urshela was making progress at 3rd in Columbus last season, but he recently injured his knee playing winter ball in Venezuela. thankfully, he won't need surgery and is expected to participate in some spring training. as for the highly-touted Lindor, he shouldn't be promoted before the 2nd half of the season unless there's an injury. Ramirez will play short for now, but there's nothing set in stone about what's going to happen to him when Lindor is finally ready to be an Indian.

regarding the infield and our priority of team needs, i think w/o a trade, again we have 0 open spots here to fill.

Behind the plate:

catchers: Gomes

other possibilities: Perez?, Santana in an emergency?
waiting in Columbus: n/a

at this point, i can only guess that Perez makes the team out of spring training this year. i really don't think Francona wants Santana to be Gomes' backup catcher anymore, playing behind the plate 1-2 times a week. so we need to find a different backup, and Perez would fit that role nicely. then again, you can't rule out a spring training invite to someone who can catch and also play another fielding position.

we have 1 open spot to fill here.


Swisher, Walters?

other possibilities: Santana, Gomes, Chisenhall, anyone else who needs a break to get off their feet or when someone's bat needs to be in the lineup

like last season, anyone on the roster could essentially be the DH for a game, depending on who all needs to be at specific fielding positions. but i have a feeling the main guy will be Swisher. and if Walters makes the roster and continues to hit for some power, he could also be a frequent designated hitter for the Tribe. it's been years since we've had a middle of the order power hitter; maybe together Swisher and Walters could provide that. or someone else we might bring in. keep in mind though, there is 0% chance that we add a player who is strictly a DH.

we have 0 open spots to fill here, since any current hitter we have or plan to acquire can be a DH as necessary.

Starting Pitchers:

Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, McAllister, Bauer, Tomlin, House

other possibilities: Shawn Marcum
waiting in Columbus: Tyler Cloyd

only 5 of the above will make the OD roster and presently only the #1 and #2 spots are committed (to Kluber and Carrasco). unless Bauer totally flops in spring, i think he's a favorite for one of the last 2 rotation spots right now. i'd bet that House starts the year in Columbus and will be one of the first call ups when needed. as for Tomlin and McAllister, it's hard to say. Tomlin could also start the season as a Clipper, but the same cannot be said for McAllister, who's out of options. consequently, if he's not on the 25-man, we will lose him. for that reason, he may just start out in the bullpen as a long reliever. i have no idea what the Indians plan to do with Salazar, but i don't think his rotation spot here is guaranteed yet. Marcum is a long-shot. very long. he will have to prove that he's not only fully healthy, but reliable during spring training. we brought him in as a non-roster invite last season too, when he was still recovering from 2013 shoulder surgery. needless to say, he never made it to Cleveland. he's also likely to be in Columbus next year, if he's not simply released during spring. i figure we'll invite another starter to camp in some capacity. we need more depth for our rotation, so look for another cheap, older, middle of the order type signing.

we have 3 open spots to fill in our rotation.


we have some solid in-house options for our bullpen. as it stands, here are the 4 guaranteed to be on the 25-man roster:

closer: Allen

8th inning setup: Shaw

7th or 8th inning: Rzepczynski

long relief: Atchison

other possibilities: McAllister (if he's not in the rotation), Lee, Crockett, Hagadone, Dustin Molleken
waiting in Columbus: Austin Adams, Bryan Price

part of the Indians' M.O. is to bring several relief pitchers to spring training and then hang onto the ones that look promising. one or two might make the team, and the rest will end up in Columbus. and after losing a couple guys last year that we'd previously kept around for depth (Pestano, Herrmann), we will need some new arms. luckily, Francona loves to keep his bullpen as full as possible. at minimum, we know there will always be 7 guys in the pen. going by that, i would put Lee and Crockett in there to start, along with our top 4. so there's at least one open spot for a newbie. that could be an older veteran, but hopefully not as old as Atchison lol one thing i'll say about him is he really impressed me last year. but i don't know if he can put together another solid season. the hands of Father Time might be against him. it's very possible he (or someone else) gets DFA'd mid-season, because someone always does, so we definitely need to have some other arms ready to go.

we have 3 open spots to fill here in the pen.

so to sum up, we have needs for 1 catcher, 3 starters, and 3 relievers. that's 7 position-specific needs that are guaranteed to make the team. who exactly will take those spots is not yet completely known.

if we add those 7 to our other 17 guaranteed spots, we're at 24 total players. that means we have only 1 spot left to add an additional player, whether he be an outfielder or infielder or extra relief pitcher, to the 25-man roster. that could go to Walters or someone new that we sign. there's no telling what and who this offseason will bring.

now that i've just pinpointed our needs and where we have open roster spots, i'm going to list some free agents on the market that we could realistically acquire who might provide the extra help we've been searching for. but brace yourself; this is not going to contain players on a Nelson Cruz and James Shields type level lol

FA starters:

--Justin Masterson. i've heard the rumors about possibly bringing him back on a one-year deal. he might take that to prove to the other 29 teams that he's worth a longer contract after 2015. and i might honestly be okay with it. Masty has a habit of being off one year and on the next. 2014 was definitely an off year, so odds are good that 2015 will be an on year. he and his agent claim he's healthy now so, i'd take the chance. however, another ballclub could offer Masterson more than one year, and he might prefer that over reuniting with the Tribe.

--Chad Billingsley. he would be affordable because he's been recovering from Tommy John surgery. this signing would have the potential to mimic the Scott Kazmir deal from 2013. i'm very curious to see what Callaway could do with him.

--Carlos Villaneuva. should be cheap, could provide depth.

--Franklin Morales. he's interesting because he could start or come out of the bullpen. might be another cheap signing worth looking into.

FA relievers:

--Jeanmar Gomez. how about bringing back another former Indian? this time we could strictly use him out of the bullpen. he will assuredly be budget-friendly.

--Kyle Farnsworth. yes he's another oldie--39, like Atchison--and he might be a little costly for his age, but this is a guy who's still got it and he's exactly the kind of veteran role model that Francona loves. 

--Luke Hochevar. this is my long-shot pick. he will probably be too expensive and want a multi-year deal that we won't want to give him.

FA catchers:

--J.P. Arencibia. he is all i could bring myself to suggest, but i'm still not sold on him because he just doesn't have great numbers. i'd rather go with Perez and i hope the team agrees.

miscellaneous FAs to fill our final roster spot:

--3B Chase Headley. this would be a Tribe fan's dream signing, a right-handed 3rd baseman who can hit, but the probability of it happening is extremely low. the Indians would have to commit to him long-term and he will surely get better offers elsewhere, if we even try for him.

--3B Mark Reynolds. wanna bring him back? he's a right-handed hitter we could probably get for under 2 million. he could potentially become the new Giambi, a la 2013, except he can play the field.

--3B Jack Hannahan. speaking of throw backs, i feel i have to mention Hanny. his numbers aren't great but he would come cheap. then again, he's another lefty and we did try the Chiz-Hanny platoon once before.

--CF Nyjer Morgan. would both parties want to give this another try? Morgan was doing well for us until he played a position he shouldn't have been playing and got hurt. i wouldn't mind another year with T-Plush in the house.

--OF Ryan Ludwick. right-handed hitter, right field option, won't break the bank. sounds good to me.

--OF Corey Hart. another affordable right-handed hitter who can play right field. worth exploring.

--OF Jonny Gomes. disregarding the weirdness of having two Gomeses on the team, this one could be another option in case Murphy/Raburn don't play well or get hurt. he'd be my third choice behind Ludwick and Hart in terms of righty right fielders.

while the above could all be intriguing to the Tribe, the money issue might very well still stand in the way. these players may be cheaper than some of the top dog free agents, but it is possible that they receive better contract options--more money and more years--from other teams. and then we'd lose out. which brings us to the possibility of a trade. 

so who's on the trading block this offseason?

it's not as cut and dry as last year. we already traded our 2 biggest free agent names--Masterson and Cabrera--during the season before the trading deadline so they wouldn't just walk away from us with no return. and i have no qualms about it because it was the right thing to do.

the players we should be looking to move now include Swisher and Bourn, but with their contracts, that will make it difficult to find trading partners. if we traded Swish, we'd literally be exchanging one bad contract/iffy player for another. it's probably wiser to just leave him alone and pray for improvement. with Bourn, we might get a little better return, but that's still a long shot imo. it's possible that Chisenhall could be included in the right deal. and it wouldn't come as a shock to me if one of our starting pitchers ended up in a trade, such as Salazar or McAllister. if you put one of them, along with a lower level prospect, or some kids in Columbus, and cash together in a package, then we might be able to get a decent bat in return. also, because Ramirez has recently emerged as a capable shortstop, and we have Lindor down in Columbus just waiting for a call up, the Indians may decide to use Double A infielder Erik Gonzalez in a deal. then again, Ramirez could be the one to go mid-season if the Indians are ready to let Lindor run the show at short.

study up those names for a minute and then answer me this: do you think we'd have enough to include in a trade for Yoenis Cespedes? picture him in right field alongside a healthy Bourn in center (ha! i know that's hard) and All Star Brantley in left. that's a very likeable outfield. i'm sure we only have a slim chance in hell of making that a reality, but i hope the Indians do their due diligence about him anyways.

and can i just squash the rumors out there about the return of Ubaldo Jimenez? it's NOT HAPPENING! anybody seriously spewing that out has no idea what our team is trying to do. we've been down the Ubaldo road before and we will not go down it again. he's the past, not the future. he's no better than anyone we already have. there's no point in swapping his contract for Swisher's, because Swisher has much a higher chance of making a comeback.

it's just gonna be very interesting this offseason because we have a lot of untouchable, core guys on the team now. there aren't many established, major league level players left to use in a trade who would actually be attractive and tradable. i'm undeniably anxious to see what Antonetti puts together. or doesn't. every year we always hear about trades that were on the table but never went down, and fans complain...until they hear exactly what the other team demanded. then they realize yeah, we were right to say no to that deal. but i think i can speak for every Tribe fan when i beg, please Antonetti, find a (satisfying) deal you can say yes to.

moving on to some less frustrating and more pleasant news, one area that we don't need to hold a scavenger hunt for is the coaching staff. it looks like the Tribe might be retaining that gang in its entirety, and unlike last year, everyone should remain in their specific coaching roles. Brad Mills will continue as Francona's right-hand man/bench coach. Sandy Alomar, Jr. interviewed for a manager's position during the offseason but was not selected, so he's still here as our 1st base coach, while Mike Sarbaugh will keep waving our boys home as the 3rd base coach. Ty Van Burkleo is set to stay on as our hitting coach, and his assistant, Matt Quatraro, will continue to assist him. and, in what i consider to be our most important coaching role, pitching coach Mickey Callaway is still on deck to help out the rotation. he did some amazing work with Ubaldo in 2013, and he worked wonders last year with Carrasco, who became almost unstoppable in the 2nd half as a starter again. now he's rumored to be working with Bauer this offseason. he is one asset the team could not afford to lose, and i'm glad it didn't come to that. the exception here is bullpen coach Kevin Cash. like Callaway, he played a role in Carrasco's turnaround, and like Alomar, he also was a candidate for a few managing positions. at the time that i'm posting this blog, no final decision has been made yet regarding the Rays' new manager. if Cash is chosen, it will be sad for the Tribe, but i'm confident that they will find an adequate replacement.

as for our manager Francona, he is not going to simply settle for finishing above .500 while he's here. and he's gonna be in Cleveland for a while because he signed a contract extension earlier this month that goes through 2018, with options for 2019 and 2020. i'm hoping that show of faith by Tito will encourage and persuade Antonetti and company to make the necessary upgrades. Francona's clearly committed for the long haul, but he's not here to rebuild--he's in it to win it. so give the man what he needs to win.

Francona might arguably be the biggest name the team has, and the biggest draw for ballplayers. he's always had his say in what players we bring in. so far in his first 2 seasons, he's tried to get some of the band back together so-to-speak, reuniting with many players he once managed in Philly and/or Boston. will that happen again? probably lol but they won't be in their prime anymore, that's for sure. all the other guys we've added over the last 2 years have said how excited they were to play for Francona and become part of the Indians' atmosphere. that's all well and good, but it would be nice if some of these enthusiastic Tito supporters could earn their keep.

i honestly believe there's grounds for hope and positivity for next year. we've got some guys in the rotation who really stepped up this season, and some who showed flashes of greatness. if they all integrate, we could have one of the better rotations in the league. not to mention we already have some of the best bullpen arms in baseball. additionally, we have some reliable hitters in the lineup with the ability to come through in the clutch.

but, as always, there are still needs. it's imperative that the players who bombed out this year at least hit for average next season. it's to be expected that some guys who did well this year will regress, so we'll need other guys to make up for that, and not necessarily the guys we currently have. we are on the cusp of playoff longevity, we have a good core group of players locked into contracts for the next 4-6 years, but we need another piece or two to finally get over that hump. i hope the front office is ready to get creative to add some help, and takes a (trade) risk to reap a reward, but i am not naive to the Tribe's ways lol

worst case scenario, no significant moves are made. then we'll solely be looking internally for improvement, which we kinda need to have happen either way. the potential is there if we can get Kipnis and Swisher and Bourn to improve and stay healthy. if Santana can come out the gate swinging instead of faltering for the first 2 months, that will also help. then if Raburn can hit like he did in 2013, that'd be an advantage as well. (so many ifs, what else is new?) and i can't wait to see what Ramirez is going to do in his first full season in the big leagues. imagine all that went right. now add it to our Silver Sluggers Brantley and Gomes, our Cy Young Kluber, a clear-headed Carrasco, and a dominant back of the bullpen. that's indisputably enough reason for me to get excited.

137 days until Opening Day as of this blog post. Go Tribe 2015! =D

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