While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, our countdown has reached the 30-day mark to the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season schedule. We at Did The Tribe Win Last Night continue to look ahead to the warmer days of the year by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 30 days
The Indians’ current number 30 is once again in spring camp for Cleveland, hoping to latch on to a spot in an outfield mix that has a few question marks heading into the 2018 season.
Tyler Naquin has had opportunities in each of the last two seasons to make a lasting impression on the coaching staff of the Indians, but he instead played his way back to Triple-A Columbus and watched other men fill the outfield void.
The #IndiansTwitter-sphere exploded a bit on Tuesday with the tweet-announcement from Ken Rosenthal that stated that the Indians could be looking to trade Nick Swisher.
Rosenthal’s tweet said that sources implied the Indians are “exploring wide range of options, including a trade of Swisher for another player with an inflated contract.” He went on to state that since Swisher is owed $30 million in 2015 through 2016, players such as the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, the Braves’ B.J. Upton, and the Orioles’ Ubaldo Jimenez would be examples of trades and contracts the Indians could be considering as a trade for Swisher. Rosenthal clarified that not every player mentioned is necessarily being considered, but acted as examples of the sort of inflated contract the Indians would be looking at.
If you’re still riding the roller coaster ride that has been the Cleveland Indians season, congratulations on wearing your Cleveland sports pride and pain on your sleeve.
After 117 games, the Indians have been a largely underwhelming team. A frantic finish to the 2013 season led the club back to the postseason for the first time since 2007, but offseason rotation and lineup concerns were relatively overlooked. While the Indians did not lose anything on the offensive side of the ball in free agency over the winter, their upgrade of David Murphy to a platoon and Nyjer Morgan to the bench left a gaping need in the lineup for a power bat, especially a right-handed stick. The rotation, one that saw the departures of Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez to free agency, opted to build from within around mainstays Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister.
Only Kluber remains and that is largely at play for Cleveland’s 58-59 record heading into action Sunday afternoon. Yet despite the subpar play over the first 70% of the season, the Indians are actually closer to the top of the division than they were at this time last season.
It was one of the few Cleveland sports seasons in recent years that ended too soon.
Instead of crawling to another dismal 4-12 season or talking about how many ping pong balls are in the hopper, the newly rebuilt 2013 Cleveland Indians hung around the playoff race all season, then tore off a 10-game winning streak to end the season and secure a place in the American League Wild Card game. Winning: it’s something Clevelanders haven’t experienced a lot of recently.
It was the first playoff game of any kind in Cleveland since the spring of 2010. A sold out Progressive Field, waving towels and completely locked into the game went home disappointed, however. The Indians lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the one-game playoff, 4-0. After 10-straight wins and building enthusiasm around the city, it was all over in just nine innings. It ended too soon.
The Cleveland Indians entered the 2013 season with an alarming lack of apparent ability in the starting rotation. With the turnaround of Ubaldo Jimenez, the comeback of Scott Kazmir, and the emergence of Cory Kluber, the starting rotation became a source of strength for the Indians. Kazmir moved on to the Oakland Athletics and Jimenez seems destine to sign with another team as well. With the loss of two key players, the big question is whether or not the Indians can repeat their playoff season.
In order to look at where the Indians could be in 2014, we must look at what they have lost and gained in this current off season. In addition to this, we have to look at the loss and gain of the other teams in the American League Central. Using a statistic known as Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, we can project how many wins each player is, or could be worth. If we add up the cumulative WAR of the players the Indians lost, and the WAR of the new additions to the team, we can project how many wins the Indians lost or gained with through free agency and trades this winter.
It was not business as usual for one of the three professional sports franchises in Cleveland in 2013.
What a year it was for the Cleveland Indians and their fans, at least those who still supported the Dolans and their franchise. Say what you will about the final results, the team took a gigantic step forward in 2013, improving their record on the field by 24 wins with an exciting new-look team and a brand new brain trust in the dugout.
Did The Tribe Win Last Night was there every step of the way and covered all of the highs and the lows throughout the season, with a few fun projects along the way.
It’s still not probable, but it’s possible.
Over six weeks ago Ubaldo Jimenez turned down the Indians’ qualifying offer, leaving a one year deal worth $14 million on the table and opted for free agency. At the time it seemed Jimenez was destined to turn his rebound 2013 season into a big payday. It would be a payday the Indians likely would not be a part of. When free agency began, Jimenez was rumored to be looking for a 4-year deal, worth between $54-60 million.
It’s good money if you can get it. So far, it looks like Jimenez can’t get it.
There has not been substantial audible conversation about Cleveland Indians free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, despite being frequently listed amongst the top free agents available entering this offseason.
Cleveland tendered Jimenez a $14.1 million qualifying offer in early November, securing the Indians a draft pick if the resurgent pitcher opted to leave town for a longer and more financially enticing offer.
Like each of the other twelve players around Major League Baseball to be offered such a deal, Jimenez declined and hit the open market. Since then, mum has been the word on Jimenez as the pitching market remains unresolved. With draft pick compensation looming in addition to his contract, the lost portion of draft bonus pool money, and the uncertain status of Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka grinding the market to a halt, Jimenez remains out of a job for the time being.
Criticism of the Cleveland Indians’ lack of activity this offseason has not just come from fans of the ball club. It has also come from the national media, where some have gone so far as to call the Indians losers of the annual Winter Meetings while others have opined that the team’s lack of aggressiveness and free spending could end the upcoming season before it even begins due to other upgrades within both their division and league.
The Indians, who finished just one game in back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and exited the postseason after a one-game AL Wild Card loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, have been an almost non-existent and irrelevant player in the free agent and trade markets so far this offseason.
For many fans, this is a significant problem.