By Bob Toth
The baseball season is a grueling one.
A total of 162 games are played over a six-month span. Teams travel all across the country, staying in one road city no more than four games at a time, and rarely at home for any stretch above nine games.
Winning streaks and losing streaks are inevitabilities of the season. Slumps and injuries factor into both.
But all of it is for naught if your team is not sitting in first place on the last day of the season.
In this week’s podcast Erik Pinkerman and Ronnie Tellalian introduce the new title to the podcast, “Wahoo Watch,” and talk about all the rumors and speculation the Indians created at this week’s Winter Meetings, and how little activity has come …
The first day of the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee did not produce any movement for the Cleveland Indians, but it created a lot of rumors and speculation. With rumors and speculation comes everyone’s opinion about the moves potentially at the Indians’ doorstep.
The biggest rumor—and the one having the largest impact upon the team—is the report from the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes that the Indians are actively shopping Asdrubal Cabrera, but looking for a large package of Major League ready players in return. Hoynes reported that an unnamed team was ready to offer a Major League starting pitcher and two high-level prospects, but the deal fell through when the Indians asked for a third prospect.
“He’s the best guy out there at that position,” said a scout in Hoynes’ story. “They’re going to get something good for him, but they’re asking for a lot.”
In this week’s podcast, Erik Pinkerman, Ronnie Tellalian and Mike Brandyberry have an in-depth discussion about the new Baseball Hall of Fame ballot including whether Kenny Lofton belongs in the Hall. Mike has an interview with 850-AM ESPN Cleveland’s T.J. …
By Mike Brandyberry
Did I miss something? Did the Indians let another great player walk out the door? I thought it was just Jack Hannahan?
Friday the Indians non-tendered third baseman Jack Hannahan, and left-handed pitchers Rafael Perez …
Recently, Pat McManamon of FOXSportsOhio.com had a conversation with Cleveland Indians’ team president Mark Shapiro, who talked about his challenges and interests in baseball, the recent history of the team, and his vision moving forward. Following will be a series of opinions and insight about Shapiro’s responses and how they apply to where the team was, how the team got to where it is now, and most importantly, Where Do the Indians Go From Here.
By Bob Toth
Nobody enjoys losing.
When a team like the Cleveland Indians has squandered multiple opportunities in a several year span, it is difficult to not question the integrity of the system in place and the intentions and motivation of the team, its front office, and ownership.
Indians’ team president Mark Shapiro understands that with mounting losses comes room for plenty of criticism.
By Mike Brandyberry
In August I admitted I was struggling for something to write and offered to answer mailbag questions from Twitter. Who knew that readers actually valued or listened to my opinion? Well, since then I’ve received tweets and emails asking when I will do another mailbag, so I figured what is a better way to spend about 10 hours in the car this week than answering Tribe questions while we wait for the front office to continue making offseason moves. Without further ado, your questions…
The always optimistic @ColeLopez77 on Twitter asks, “Do you expect the Indians to rebuild or retool for next season?”
I think this is as much a matter of semantics as anything. The Indians have lost 90+ games in three of the last four seasons and have not had a winning record since 2007. Fans seem to be very apprehensive about making major changes to the Tribe’s roster, but why? What is the point of retooling a roster that has not been successful? A very, high ranking Indians executive told a DTTWLN writer last week they expect the roster to have a whole new look by Opening Day and that seems accurate to me. Personally, I don’t expect the Indians to tell anyone, but I don’t think they have realistic expectations to compete in 2013.
By Mike Brandyberry
Consider this week the slight breeze before the gale force trade winds begin to swirl a month from now in Nashville, Tennessee. This week all 30 general managers met in Indian Wells, California and free agent signings and trade speculation all began to surface.
While few transactions and roster moves were completed, all 30 organizations will reconvene in Nashville on December 3-6. In the meantime much of the conversation started this week will continue, with some of it resulting in movement in Nashville. In the case of the Indians, 94 losses and a roster with numerous issues will make you the center of conversations quickly. If only a fraction of the rumors come to fruition, it should be a winter full of decisions for the Tribe.
In terms of the Indians, the rumors are swirling from all directions. The first, and easiest to execute, is the Tribe’s interest in free agent Kevin Youkilis. Cleveland tried to trade for Youkilis in June when he was struggling with the Boston Red Sox and rookie Will Middlebrooks was taking their third base job. The Tribe lost out on Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox, but they decided not to exercise his $13 million option for 2013, making him a free agent. He hit .235, with 19 home runs and 60 runs batted in between Boston and Chicago this season.
Well, that didn’t go as planned.
When the Cleveland Indians left Goodyear, Ariz., at the end of March, expectations were high. The team was coming off an 80-82 season in 2011 that could have been much better had injuries in the second half of the season not taken their toll. Now, with a healthy team in place and a young group of players with a season of contention under their belts, 2012 was supposed to be a season to compete for the playoffs.
Six months later, those predictions of playoff baseball all seem foolish now.
After a good start, the Indians found themselves 37-33 after 70 games and a half game in first place. The plan seemed to be working.
But 71 games later, the plan had been exposed, the wheels had fallen off the tracks and the Indians were in last place. It’s one of the fastest falls from the top spot to the bottom in baseball history. At 68-94, the Indians narrowly missed being only the third team in baseball history to finish in last place after leading the division at the 70-game mark.
Chris Antonetti’s plan to resign Grady Sizemore, sign Casey Kotchman and entrust left field, third base and first base to a collection of veteran journeymen or stars past their prime didn’t work. The offense faltered, most notably against left-handed pitching. The team hit .235 against southpaws for the season and was only 18-36 when a lefty started against them.
“I can tell you I’m accountable for those decisions,” Antonetti said last Thursday. “Certainly many of the decisions we made haven’t worked out as well as we hoped.”
By Evan Matsumoto
There was no dog pile on the infield; there was no champagne flowing in the clubhouse. After Wednesday night’s game against the White Sox, fans quietly filed out and the lights went dark on another season in Cleveland.
And as they say in Cleveland, there’s always next year.
Cleveland sent David Huff to start the game against Chicago’s Gavin Floyd and ended up on the losing end of a five-homerun, 9-0 game. Huff started on the mound for the Tribe. Heading into the night’s game, he was 3-0 in six appearances, boasting a 2.86 ERA.
Chicago’s Dan Johnson kicked off the scoring in the second inning with a two-run shot to the centerfield seats to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead.
By David Roberts
Heading into the last series of the season the Cleveland Indians are looking at rounding out another season without a chance of October baseball but on the flipside, they have a chance to dash the hopes of another playoff hopeful, the Chicago White Sox.
With the White Sox standing three games out of first this three game series against the Tribe is a must-win. On this Monday night affair Indians manager, Sandy Alomar Jr. sent Corey Kluber against Hector Santiago. Unfortunately, White Sox pitching flummoxed the Tribe bats and the White Sox hitters finally awoke from their slumber in an 11-0 romping at Progressive Field.
Kluber and Santiago traded zeroes through the first five innings. Six men reached base for the two clubs through the first three innings with the biggest threat coming in the top of the second when Chicago had two men on base with no outs but were unable to get anyone home.
By Mike Brandyberry
It didn’t have first place, or playoff implications, but Saturday’s game would be one for the Indians’ yearbook. Unfortunately, after battling back from Jeanmar Gomez’s six runs allowed over three innings, the Tribe offense left 20 men on base in their 7-6 loss in 14 innings to the Royals. The Indian bullpen pitched 10 scoreless innings after Gomez left the contest before Scott Maine allowed the game winner in the 14th.
After 14 innings, using nine pitchers and 14 position players and playing until 1 am in the morning, fans can expect a unique lineup today in the series finale. The Indians will be fighting for their second straight series win and Interim Manager Sandy Alomar’s second career managerial win.