As we do each summer at WFNY when the Cleveland Indians hit the All-Star break, we take a look back at the four facets of the team on the field. There’s been been a lot to talk about with this club. Their 44-41 record is good enough for second in the American League Central, but the team has shown some serious flaws. GM Chris Antonetti continues to tell us that the Indians have not played their best baseball yet. I hope he is right. Additions will need to be made and in-house improvements will be a must if the Tribe plans on playing October baseball.
The best laid Indians outfield plans were shelved before Spring Training even started. The decision to bring back Grady Sizemore for another year was good in theory. But the Indians should have known better. While preparing for the season, Sizemore hurt his back so severely that he needed surgery. The team doctors didn’t want to put a timetable on his return, but the earliest we were told we’d see him was mid-June. At this point, the free agent market was completely barren.
The injury began a chain of events which hamstrung the team’s offensive plans. Instead of Sizemore in center, flanked by Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo, Brantley would move back to center (where he belongs by the way), and left field would become a contest between Shelley Duncan and a bunch of former Major League castoffs on Minor League deals. Nobody stepped forward to claim the job other than Duncan, who showed some power in Goodyear, but hit under .200. He was given the job by default. [Read more...]