5 Reasons to be Optimistic for Every Team in 2014

Indians

Masterson looks nasty as usual
His last two starts in spring have been absolutely Masterful, something we have come to expect from the Tribe’s ace. Masterson looks fully poised to not only continue his success from last year but improve on it. The Tribe should waste little time locking Masterson down while his price is still “low” .  A Breakout season could be on the horizon for Masterson in 2014.

The lineup was kept in tact
Though the Indians lost some pitching this offseason, the lineup was kept intact and possibly improved with the addition of David Murphy and Yan Gomes becoming the everyday catcher. The move of Carlos Santana to third would not only fill a hole but would also give this familiar lineup an added boost in the upcoming season.

 Swisher and Bourn
Let’s be honest the big free agent scores of last year did not exactly pan out as hoped. Swisher admitted to feeling pressure from the deal he signed and Bourn battled some nagging injuries. Swisher and Bourn are two veterans that will need to step up this year and lead this young team. The track records between Swish and Bourn are too good for them to continue to fall flat. Look for big years from these two in year two.

The Tigers had a bad off season
Ian Kinsler is a nice player but in no way is he Prince Fielder. Kinsler will not strike fear into the opponents that Fielder did, this will lead to teams being able to pitch around Miggy and reduce his impact a little bit. The Tigers also lost Tribe killer Doug Fister this off season as well as one of the best skippers in the game in Jim Leyland. Couple all those losses with the possible season ending injury to Jose Iglesias and the Tigers will not be the team they were last season.

In Tito we trust
Last year’s tribe team was okay, I believe it was Tito though, who put the tribe over the top. Tito is a manager players will go hard for every single day because they believe in him. Tito keeps the guys relaxed and motivated at the same time, something very hard to do at the professional level. The impact Tito has cannot be understated, as long as Tito is manager of the Indians this team will always have a fighting chance.

Cavaliers

Kyrie will have something to prove
Kyrie, whether he wants to stay or go, will have to have a big year next year for the Cavaliers. Irving has earned an injury prone tag that may also affect his price tag in the NBA. Why would a team be willing to pay max player money for someone who cannot stay on the court? Kyrie will have to offset his injury prone status by superstar play next season and show everybody he CAN be the guy to lead a franchise. If Kyrie can do that he will get whatever contract he wants, hopefully it’s with the Cavs.

Anthony Bennett WILL be ready from the start
Off-season surgery prevented Bennett from doing much in the off-season besides gaining weight. Bennett came into camp completely out of shape and was an embarrassment for much of the season. Once Bennett changed his diet and got into basketball shape the result was not half bad. Bennett may never be a superstar in this league, but he can at the very least be a solid rotational player. Let’s see what Bennett can do with a full healthy off-season this year.

Another high draft pick in a deep draft
The Cavs will likely miss the playoffs given Kyrie’s latest injury. It’s not what Cavalier fans had hoped for, but the Cavs will be headed back to the lottery in 2014. This may ultimately end up being a blessing in disguise. Instead of getting bounced by the Heat or Pacers in round one and having nothing to show for it, the Cavs will have a chance to add another impact player. If the Cavs can work their lottery magic again they will have the potential to add a Wiggins, Randle, Parker, or Embiid in the upcoming draft. The top four prospects, in this draft, could be potential game changers and would beat the consolation prize of picking in the second half of the first round for a taste of playoffs.

High Hopes This off Season
Spoiler Alert: The Cavs want LeBron, they probably will not get him, but we all know they will try. If the Cavs do not get the “Chosen One” to return they will do everything in its power to land a marquee player, whether it’s in free agency or trade. The team has been linked to Aldridge and Love as trade targets for the past few seasons, and I anticipate those talks will heat up again this off-season. If the Cavs have a high enough draft pick this off-season they may just have the assets to pull off a franchise altering trade that will propel them back to NBA relevance.

Dan Gilbert
Other than possibly Mark Cuban, is there any owner in the NBA who wants to win more than Dan Gilbert? This off-season Gilbert will have a lot on his plate starting with the GM position and coach. Gilbert will have to put the right guy in place who will stop at nothing to create a winner in Cleveland. It’s because of Dan Gilbert’s will to win that I believe the Cavaliers will have another superstar besides Kyrie on this team in 2014. Hold patient Cavs fan, Dan Gilbert will deliver you a winner.

Browns

New Buffed up Defense
The Browns wasted little time to add to their defense this off-season by signing Donte Whitner and Karlos Dansby. Whitner will ease the pain of losing Ward where Dansby will be an upgrade in the pass coverage game at middle linebacker. Dansby is coming off a career year and if he can continue to build on that the Browns defense will take another step forward.

A legitimate Running Back
Ben Tate was a steal this off-season. For the first time since Peyton Hillis’ first season with the team the Browns will have a legitimate starting running back. Tate will fit in well with Cleveland’s “get your nose bloody” style of play. Tate hits the hole hard and does not dance in the backfield like a certain former first round pick did. Tate will break out this season and add to a growing offense.

Mike Pettine
We have not seen anything from a coaching standpoint yet but you have to love how Mike Pettine has handled himself this off-season. Mike Pettine will be a tough no nonsense coach who the players will run through a wall for. Pettine will hold his players at a high standard and get the most out of them all season.

An Offense with Potential
Josh Gordon, Ben Tate, Andrew Hawkins, and Jordan Cameron, how do you not love all that potential? The Browns offense will have a pick your poison of weapons in this upcoming season and if the team can finish up shoring up the line and maybe adding a legitimate number two receiver (maybe with the number four overall pick) This offense can be as formidable as their defense will be.

The Draft
There are still some needs the Browns will still need to fill this off-season, but they have more than enough assets to get that done in the draft. With three picks in the top 35 the Browns will make some noise. There are a bunch of play makers on both sides of the ball in this draft and as long as the Browns don’t try to “be the smartest guys in the room” like the previous regime did, the Browns will continue to add to an already very young, very talented group.

-Matthew Suhadolnik

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