After a dreadful 69-93 season, the Cleveland Indians seemed like they were centuries away from their fantastic teams of the ’90s. Like the Royals, a lot of this team’s success depends on whether or not prospects develop.
The Indians do have All-Star type of players in guys like Shin-Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore and even Fausto Carmona, whose 13-14 season wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. But the Indians are also full of players with more question marks than last year’s Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault case.
Fun fact: Orlando Cabrera has played for five teams in the last four years. Must be a great locker room guy to put around young players…
Let’s check out the squad.
Additions: Austin Kearns, Adam Everett and Jack Hannahan.
You’re right. You can hardly call any of these guys “additions.”
Kearns will be a back-up designated hitter. Sounds promising.
After Hannahan’s decent 2007 season with Oakland (.278 in 41 games), he’s never batted over .230 and at 31 years old, it’s entirely possible the infielder will end up finishing his career in the minor leagues.
Finally, to Everett. He had four RBI last season. Need I say more? Good news for him though, he’s getting paid over a million dollars this season. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
Subtractions: Andy Marte
Can you call a guy who batted .229 last season with five homeruns and 19 RBI a subtraction? When you replace him with Hannahan, you absolutely can.
Who needs to play great?
Remember when the Indians traded CC Sabathia to the Brewers? There was one prospect that the Brewers were very reluctant to get rid of. His name is Matt LaPorta and he is now the starting first baseman for Cleveland.
LaPorta hit a disappointing .221 with 12 homeruns and 41 RBI last season. Not exactly the numbers people were looking for. If Choo, Sizemore and Hafner (this isn’t 2004 anymore, I know) can produce, expect LaPorta to see some pitches.
Offseason grade: F
The team did nothing to help itself out. The lineup struggled last season, but at least has some names a fan would recognize. The rotation is something the Indians really needed to address and besides Carmona, none of the names are recognizable and while the team is turning the page and in rebuilding mode, veteran leadership wouldn’t kill them. No, Hannahan doesn’t count. The Indians will give the Royals a run for their money as the last place team in the AL Central.
Kyle Ratke is a contributor. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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