The Cleveland Indians lost a lot this winter, to be sure.
Long-time Indian, middle-of-the-order hitter and recently-turned-Gold-Glove-caliber-first-baseman Carlos Santana was the biggest loss. The Indians will miss his 25 homer, 85 RBI potential in the middle of the lineup, pairing with Edwin Encarnacion.
After waiting a week for the news to become public, the baseball world learned on Thursday that Tribe starting pitcher Trevor Bauer won his arbitration hearing against the Cleveland Indians.
The word on Bauer’s contract for the coming season finally broke a week after his hearing while a gag order of sorts was in place to prevent any influence over several other comparable starting pitchers’ own arbitration cases that were pending. The 27-year-old right-hander will see a significant jump in his base salary for 2018, as he will be paid $6.525 million.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 47 days
With 47 days until the Indians begin the 2018 season at Safeco Field against the Seattle Mariners, baseball awaits the results of the arbitration hearing for Cleveland’s current number 47, Trevor Bauer.
The right-hander, coming off of a career year, was not able to come to an agreement with the Indians on a salary figure for the coming season when the two sides exchanged figures in January. Cleveland offered $5.3 million, while Bauer’s camp was looking for something in the range of $6.52 million. The arbitration hearing is one of just a handful for the Indians’ organization over the last few decades, with the most recent ones coming in 2014 (Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin). The Indians have not lost an arbitration hearing since 1991, when they split a pair of cases with pitcher Greg Swindell and infielder Jerry Browne.
Last season, Bauer made $3.55 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
The Cleveland Indians checked off a few more boxes from their offseason to-do list on Friday when the club came to agreements on one-year contracts with arbitration eligible players Zach McAllister, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Danny Salazar.
The trio of Tribe mainstays joined closer Cody Allen in taking care of a contract for the 2018 season, leaving only starting pitcher Trevor Bauer’s status up in the air as the team prepares to pack up for the trip to Goodyear, Arizona, for the start of spring training in just over a month.
It seems that Trevor Bauer may have grown up before our very eyes during the second half of last season.
The 26-year-old, who will be 27 on January 17, was a villain on the team during the season’s first three months as he got off to a rocky start. That, combined with his now infamous drone incident during the 2016 playoffs, had draw the ire of Tribe fans.
On July 16, Bauer was 7-8 with a 5.59 ERA. He had just allowed four earned runs and recorded just two outs in a forgettable start against the weak-hitting Oakland Athletics. Calls for Bauer to be demoted to the bullpen or sent to Triple-A Columbus were intensifying. Bauer was the last guy many fans wanted to see take the mound at that point.
The Cleveland Indians checked off another box on the offseason to-do list on Friday when it signed two players to one-year contracts and tendered contracts to their remaining five arbitration eligible players on the roster.
Reliever Dan Otero and outfielder Abraham Almonte each agreed to one-year contracts with the Indians to avoid arbitration. The Indians also tendered offers to pitchers Cody Allen, Trevor Bauer, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar as well as outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall.
The clock is ticking loudly around Major League Baseball as teams have until Friday night (8 PM ET) to decide whether or not to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.
The decisions for the Cleveland Indians may be fairly easy this year, but keeping all seven of their arbitration-eligible players will shrink what little financial wiggle room the organization has all the more.
The Indians set a franchise record for salary spent last season, and with a significant amount of money due to returning players already because of the way many of the existing contracts on the roster are structured, Cleveland is already on the brink of equaling last season’s payroll, and that includes money subtracted by the culmination of the contracts of Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and other free agents following the 2017 season.
It’s win or go home time for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees as a poor defensive showing from the Tribe led to six unearned runs and the Yankees rode a dominant performance from Luis Severino in a 7-3 rout to force a Game 5 in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Home field has been all the advantage throughout the playoffs thus far, but especially in the contest between the Indians and Yankees, as both teams have won their hosted games through four games of the series. It was the collapse of the usually sound Indians defense on Monday that led to a half dozen unearned runs, forcing an early exit from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, who made the start on just three days’ rest.
Despite what you might have read or been told Monday morning, what Cleveland Indians fans witnessed Sunday night was an incredibly well-pitched and well-fought playoff game, and not the “latest chapter in a tortured history¹” of a Cleveland franchise “intimately connected with pain²”.
For Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Major League Baseball fans were actually treated to a pitchers’ duel (a rarity in the postseason thus far) as Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Carrasco each took shutouts deep into the night. One mistake, hit over the short porch in right by New York’s Greg Bird off of Cleveland’s All-Star left-hander Andrew Miller, provided the game’s only run as the Yankees staved off eliminated with a 1-0 playoff classic win over the Indians.
In 2007, CC Sabathia was on the mound for Cleveland in the postseason at the tail end of a Cy Young Award winning year for the Indians as he became the second Tribe pitcher to ever bring home the top pitching award of a season. Seven years later, Corey Kluber joined him on that short list when he became the fourth Indians hurler to be recognized as the American League’s top pitcher.
On Friday night, the two will square off from opposite sides in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
Trevor Bauer brought a no-hitter into the sixth, Jay Bruce was involved in producing all four Cleveland runs, and the familiar bullpen tandem of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen closed out Game 1 in usual fashion as the Indians blanked the New York Yankees with their 20th shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory on Thursday night in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
All questions about Bauer starting the opener of the playoffs for the Indians were silenced as his excellent numbers against the Yankees in 2017 continued in his second ALDS Game 1 start in as many seasons for the Tribe. He contained a strong Yankees lineup all game long and got a big effort from one of the newest members of the ball club.
The wait has been excruciating, but that wait is now over. After a long three days off, the Cleveland Indians will return to the playing field on Thursday night as they host the American League Wild Card play-in game winners, the New York Yankees, in Game 1 of a best-of-five series in the American League Division Series.
The Indians (102-60) earned the right to play the home team, not only in the ALDS, but in the ALCS and in the World Series against all teams not named the Los Angeles Dodgers, after an incredible run through the final 100 games of the regular season schedule. Much is focused on the modern day record winning streak of 22 games that the team put together from the end of August into the middle of September, but the team went 71-29 in those final 100 games after a 31-31 start to the season. The Indians used impressive starting pitching, an offense that became more and more consistent and lethal as the season progressed, and a bullpen that found surprise contributions and survived several absences from one of its top arms, Andrew Miller.
The Indians won five of seven against the Yankees this season.