Once the Cleveland Indians best everyday player and MVP candidate, Michael Brantley has become one of the team’s biggest question marks over the last couple of offseasons.
One question surrounding Brantley was answered this offseason already. That happened last week when the Tribe picked up his $11.5 million team option for 2018. In doing that, it put to bed the question of whether or not the two-time All-Star and a former top-three MVP vote-getter would be back for a tenth season in Cleveland.
There are so many more questions, however, clouding the winter and early spring when it comes to the superstar left fielder. As was the case the last two offseasons, they involve an injured body part and recent surgery. Unlike past offseasons, the concern is not with an ailing shoulder. Instead it is with a problematic ankle.
While the Indians did not get to play as deep into October as fans may have hoped, the efforts of the Cleveland players have been recognized numerous times during the annual November award season in Major League Baseball.
Friday marked just such a night as free agent Carlos Santana was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year among all Major League first basemen.
Minor league infield prospect Willi Castro put together a career year on the farm for the Cleveland Indians and headed to the Dominican Republic to participate in offseason activity in the Dominican Winter League. But after a hot start there, the 20-year-old shortstop has seen his last game action for 2017 as he has been shut down with a left knee injury sustained in the competitive offseason league.
Castro injured the knee on a slide in the third inning of a game against Los Gigantes de Cibao on October 24. He returned to Cleveland to be examined by a team doctor the following Monday, with an announcement by the club a week later confirming that he had sprained the MCL in his knee.
Despite having four finalists in the hunt, the Cleveland Indians were denied a winner in the annual Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Tuesday night.
Four of the American League’s 27 nominees for the 2017 awards came from the Indians roster, but as has been the case for much of the last decade, the Tribe did not have a player selected as the best at his position.
It’s easy to forget just how well-run the Indians organization is.
I mean, I think everyone in Cleveland knows they’re the best run sports organization in the city, if only by default. When the Browns’ executive vice president has to call a news conference to announce that he didn’t sabotage a potential trade, you have problems, particularly since the alternative to malice in this instance is incompetence. And the Cavs suddenly look inept as well, although you can never count out any team with LeBron James on it.
But the Indians’ tentacles reach far and wide, as evidenced by where former Indians players and coaches end up. Pitching Coach Mickey Callaway is the new Mets manager. Charlie Nagy is the pitching coach in Anaheim, and although Omar Vizquel interviewed for the vacant Tigers managerial job after four years as a coach, he didn’t get it, and wasn’t retained by new skipper Ron Gardenhire. But I have no doubt he’ll end up somewhere.
The offseason begins with a lot of minor moves for teams that oftentimes get lost in the shuffle of an otherwise busy fall and winter break from playing.
The Cleveland Indians completed some of their mandatory moves on Monday, adding several players to the 40-man roster, opening another spot by declining an option, and extending one very important qualifying offer.