Sunday, September 14, 2014


The 2014 Cleveland Indians were an unlikely team.  A big batch of likable guys that just one season ago perpetrated a minor miracle to get into the post season.  Despite fizzling out in the wild card game last year, many fans were excited to see what this season was going to offer.  Unfortunately this season hasn't quite lived up to expectations.  But I really don't think that is very fair, because this team hung around in the playoff race much longer than they probably should have.  Here is my list of reasons that we shouldn't feel like this season was a waste, because we shouldn't even have been .500.

Corey Kluber:
In April our ace was Justin Masterson, and very quickly we realized that Masty was no ace.  In fact in the first couple weeks of the year it looked like we didn't have anyone that could even be close to considered an ace.  Then along came Corey Kluber.

The man who never smiles managed to continued to improve all season long.  And responded to an All-Star snub by becoming an elite Major League pitcher.  While I'm not going to bore you with his amazing stat lines from this season, you can see above that his efforts will not go unnoticed during the offseason awards.

We are among the bottom 5 payroll in all of baseball:
The Dolans are cheap, and where we stand in the rankings of baseball payroll doesn't exactly lump us in with the contenders, it barely qualifies for a team around .500.  To make matters worse most of that said payroll was used on Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.  Bourn did a good job when he was out there, but spend a good amount of time this year on the DL.  And Nick Swisher was abysmal before his season ended due to knee surgery.  So the old saying, "You get what you pay for," doesn't seem to apply to this year's team.  We should be extremely proud that this team was able to keep themselves in it for so long.

So here's to hoping for maybe a little effort in the offseason combined with a healthy Bourn next year.  And a rebuilt Nick Swisher...

We didn't even have a left hander in our rotation to start the year:
No offense to the team, but the offseason wasn't exactly world beating.  We signed David Murphy, who really showed up during clutch situations, and John Axford who was essentially given to Pittsburgh.  But outside of that we were probably most hurt by not being able to get Scott Kasmir back in an Indians uniform.  Instead we went with five right handed arms, which is a dream come true for most major league hitters over the course of a three game series.

The bright side came in the form of T.J. House a young lefty, who was able to solidify his spot in the rotation at the season progressed.  Here at the end of the season he has almost done a better job than Kluber.  House provides us with a bit more stability in the rotation heading into this next offseason.

We were the worst fielding team in the MLB:
Not that is something to tip your cap on, but it is a testament to the pitching staff.  No team that is as bad at the fundamentals of defense should have won as many games as us... period.

We didn't hit well:
Once again a feather in the pitching staff's cap.  We were inconsistent at best on the offensive side of the ball.  In fact we scored less runs than even the last place Twins... let that digest.  Remind me again how we stayed .500.

We traded our ace and one of our veteran bats for prospects:
This was an issue that I probably caused the most people to lash out me for my opinion on.  While I agreed with many people that Justin Masterson wasn't performing well enough to stay in the rotation, I simply took the side that teams that contend don't make trades that don't improve the current roster.  It just doesn't happen that way.  Contenders buy veterans, pretenders sell them for prospects.

That is what made it crazier when the Indians traded mainstay Asdrubal Cabrera for a young prospect.  Once again a bizarre move for a team still in the playoff hunt.  Considering we didn't trade for any veteran help and just plugged in prospects to their spots, the team rallied time and again keeping them very much in the hunt for postseason.

We discovered Jose Ramirez because of the bizarre roster moves: 
In a year that had many people clamoring for minor league phenom Francisco Lindor to step up and take over the shortstop duties, when the job came available it was given to Jose Ramirez.  After a slow start he soon became a very solid player at the position.  In fact several of the prospects have come in and done a great job.  Again something you won't normally see out of a team in the playoff hunt.

So I'm not going to cry for the Indians.  I am going to sit back and see what happens to this roster in the offseason.  But I'm proud of this year's team, let's face it... they really shouldn't have been so interesting.

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