Cleveland Indians: Rebuilding for the Future...and 2013?
However, it's not going to be an easy task to accomplish. But it does give the Tribe a bright outlook for the future.
The team made a big splash directly after the season was over in 2012, inking Terry Francona to manage the club next year. Francona, who has ties with the club, told this to ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald about his new team:
"This is a little different right now. We're younger and we're not in the same position, but our expectations, at least in my opinion, are still the same. We're supposed to try to win, so we're trying to put together the best roster we can and then when it comes time to put a uniform on then that's when I get really excited. We'll try to have our guys play the game correctly."
In order to fill help fill Francon'a wishes, again with money at their disposal, the team managed to draw switching-hitting free agent Nick Swisher back to his college state, signing the 32-year-old to a 4-year, $56 million deal.
Swisher will certainly provide an upgrade to an offense that finished ninth (out of 14 AL teams) in batting average, 13th in runs scored and ranked 12th in home runs. But it's uncertain as how consistent he will perform away from the short porch in right at Yankees Stadium.
The club may have thought of that well, however, when they chose to add former Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds to the mix. Although Reynolds is a strikeout king, he does proved decent power—regardless of the stadium layout.
The team also added veteran depth in the rotation when they signed Scott Kazmir to a minor-league deal. Although Kazmir is only 29 years old, lack of production in seasons past has made him forgettable (and seem way older).
However, the left-hander is looking to at least get back to his form in 2008—the last time his ERA was under 4.00—giving the squad another solid option in the rotation.
Speaking of the rotation, there was one more deal made by the Indians that may prove to be their best for next year (and the future). And it’s not the one involving trading away Justin Masterson or closer Chris Perez.
While many of the top-tier players on the market were a swing-and-a-miss for the Indians, they made a smart move involving Shin-Soo Choo. The Indians sent Choo to the Reds (in a three-team deal) and in return they received right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, and center fielder Drew Stubbs.
Not only will the move give the team needed pitching next year, with the added bonus of a veteran player (Stubbs), but it will also build a foundation for the future.
And that, like it or not Rachel Phelps, is what the Indians really need to be focusing on. The future—in Cleveland