The Cleveland Indians are in first place in the American League Central Division. The team is 57-42 on the season and 4.5 games ahead of second place Detroit. They boast one of the best starting pitching rotations in the entire league—Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin are a five-man wrecking crew who all produce dominant performances on any given night. Ranking fourth in MLB in ERA at 3.67, the Tribe’s starting rotation is championship level. On offense, the Indians have put up the sixth most runs in the league. Led by All-Star Francisco Lindor, the Tribe offense has a good combination of power, speed, experience, and youth. The team is well rounded and good enough to make a run to the championship—the odds are heavily in their favor. The time is now.
http://www.scout.com/cleveland-sports/story/1690069-sports-fandom-probabilities-and-the-indiansIt is time for the Indians to make the necessary moves to improve the ball club. The MLB trade deadline is August 1. The Indians have a dominant starting staff, but the bullpen is far from perfect, lacking depth at the front end of the pen. The bullpen ranks 11th in the league in ERA at 3.62, but the stat is a little misleading because the bullpen has not been exposed to a lot of innings, pitching the fourth fewest amount of innings in the league at 288 1/3 innings. Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and Dan Otero are the only pitchers who emote confidence from the fan base, and even this trio has been known to lack consistency. The team is lacking arms, arms who they can rely on late in games—especially left handers. It is time to improve this weakness.
The other huge hole on the roster is catcher. Yan Gomes has a disaster of a season, now on the disabled list with a long-term injury. To replace Gomes, the Indians have tried to rely on the duo of Roberto Perez and Chris Gimenez. This experiment has gone on far too long as both players have been an automatic out since the All-Star break. In 115 at-bats this season, the duo has combined for just 20 hits, an unacceptable rate for a championship-caliber team.
http://www.scout.com/cleveland-sports/story/1690034-lucroy-and-smith-the-perfect-package-dealThe last five games of the season for the Indians against the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals have really illustrated where the team is at this stage of the season. The bullpen was exposed in multiple occasions. The starting pitchers did not have the greatest performances over that span, so the team was forced to turn to the bullpen earlier than usual. This showed the lack of depth that the team can rely on in times of need. Also, the catching position was a disaster. Indians manager Terry Francona seemed to have no answer to this big hole, replacing one catcher with the other in multiple games during the five game span, trying to grasp at straws to produce anything at that spot. But, the bright area that illustrated the team’s special quality came on Tuesday when they fought back and won on a walk off. It shows the special quality the team has, while the struggles showed the improvements needed.
There have been a lot of rumors over the last couple weeks about possible trade scenarios for the Indians. It is nice to see the front office being active, but the rumors need to come true. The team cannot afford to sit on their hands and not do anything to fix their biggest holes. Now, I am not saying to go and mortgage the team’s farm system and trading for the huge names on the trade market. But, I am saying that the team must act to their best of their ability, looking at every avenue to improve this team.
The Indians have the starting pitching depth to match and beat any team in the league. It has a championship level manager in Terry Francona. It has a star shortstop in Francisco Lindor. It has an offense with a good spread of power, on-base proclivity, speed and clutch hitting. This team is on a championship level with very few holes and major weaknesses. There is no need of huge roster changing moves. There are just a few tweaks here and there where the team is lacking a little. The front office needs to be able to get things done to address these areas. Championships are hard to get, as Clevelanders definitely know. It is time for the Indians to go for it.
Stats from fangraphs.com as of July 27th