The 2016 Cleveland Indians have the rotation to go far in the post season, yet potentially lack the offensive firepower. This offseason, the Indians chose to keep their stellar pitchers intact rather than acquire a bat or two to elevate the middle of the lineup. Their most consistent hitter Michael Brantley, had right shoulder surgery in November and could miss significant playing time, so the club signed Rajai Davis, traded for Collin Cowgill, and will entertain a whole slew of other outfielders to fill in. Cleveland also signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal and along with Francisco Lindor and a healthy Yan Gomes should assist in their offensive production this season. Cory Kluber returns as their number one pitcher and with an improved offense and a healthy foot should be back to his 2014 Cy Young form. Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, both 14-game winners last season fill out the middle of the rotation while Trevor Bauer, Cody Anderson and Josh Tomlin will all compete for the back end. Lindor at shortstop and Jason Kipnis at second are instrumental in the success of the Indians this season. Hitting first and second, this tandem is quite dangerous and both play effective defense as well. With failing to significantly upgrade the corners this offseason, Cleveland is looking at Napoli at first base and Giovanny Urshela at third base with switch-hitter Jose Ramirez also possibly seeing some playing time at third. Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez make an impressive catching duo with Gomes’ ability to frame pitches and game calling, and Perez’s bat and arm.
The Indians put together three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1999-2001. This year, they certainly have a playoff worthy lineup, they will just need to execute and hang tough in a division that also boasts the Kansas City Royals who have been to the World Series the past two seasons. Fans, be sure to give these guys your support by purchasing Cleveland Indians tickets and heading down to the ballpark this summer.
The Cleveland Indians are an intriguing franchise. They have had a run so bad that they were the club chosen for a major motion picture about the unlikeliest of winners (Major League), but, eerily, followed this movie up with a run of domination should have ended in more than two World Series losses. The team’s history is not solely defined by these two eras (the rough period from 1960 to 1993 and the glorious time from 1995 to 2001).
Previous to all this, the Indians won two World Series, first in 1920 and second in 1948. Tris Speaker’s impressive hitting and Jim Bagby’s stellar pitching led the Indians to the first. Joe Gordon, Ken Keltner, and Lou Boudreau were the offensive catalysts and the Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, and Gene Bearden dominated on the mound for the second.
The slump years followed and, like any MLB team, there had to be a curse. Rocky Colavito was traded to the Tigers in 1960 for Harvey Kuenn. Colavito would continue to thrive while Kuenn, a former batting champion did not. Colavito claimed never to have cursed the team. Instead, the era is more accurately named the Curse of Frank Lane, a GM with a talent for making disastrous moves.
Luckily, eventually John Hart took the GM job and he built a roster with plenty of young stars. Albert Belle, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez hit for power. Kenny Loften played amazing defense in center and dominated on the base paths. Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel played great defense up the middle. Add the efforts of Charles Nagy, Dennis Martinez, and Orel Hershiser and Cleveland won six AL Central titles in seven years. The Indians tried to recreate the success in the 21st century, but the baseball team would not quite enjoy the same success as the team only added one more division title.