The Indians have struggled this entire year. The offense has vastly under-performed, and key injuries (to Kipnis, Brantley, and Gomes, all at different times) have stopped this offense and this team from truly taking off.

Before the trades of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, the Indians were a lowly 49-58 and were truly one of the worst teams in baseball. The Front office combination of Shapiro and Antonetti appeared to yet again have produced an awful team, and looked to do nothing significant to change that. Many people were yet again calling for their jobs, despite the duo having set up the core of this franchise in the first place.

There is a genuine argument that many of the moves that Shapiro made in his time as a GM were awful. The fact that the team from 2005 until 2008 made the postseason only once is both ridiculous and amazing at the same time. Shapiro drafted badly until 2008, and even in 2009 and 2010 both Alex White and Drew Pomeranz became below average players as well (although both dealt for Ubaldo Jimenez).

Mark Shapiro was promoted to Indians President following the 2010 season, and Chris Antonetti took over as Indians General Manager.

Shapiro had limited success in his time as General Manager, yet helped Antonetti set the framework of an excellent all-around core.

Shapiro drafted Kipnis 63rd overall in 2009. He acquired Corey Kluber for Jake Westbrook, and the PTBNL in the C.C. Sabathia deal turned out to be none other than Michael Brantley. Yet overall, the Indians team now playing has been developed by Antonetti over the past 4 seasons.

Antonetti spent the last few seasons essentially re-tooling an absolutely abysmal minor league farm system, and slowly but surely he is finally succeeding in turning it into a top ten farm system. The top of the Indians roster is filled with players who have ridiculously high ceilings (including two already highly heralded top LHP prospects in Kaminsky and Aiken.). The Indians have indeed appeared to have drafted excellently over the last 4 years as well, with Antonetti’s first ever selection in the draft as Indians GM, Francisco Lindor, just recently making his debut and showing sparks of greatness.

Antonetti has also been absolutely brilliant with trades overall, most notably turning Esmil Rogers into Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes as well as Brandon Moss into Rob Kaminsky. His eye for trades has been excellent in his short stint thus far as a GM, and has hit on multiple trades overall.

Antonetti is not without his flaws, as many people already understand. He is at the mercy of a strict cap set by the Dolans, and at times seems to have looked for talent he believes could potentially bounce back or break out (for example, Scott Kazmir), instead of going for sure things. He does also deserve some blame for not re-tooling the offense.

The Indians Front Office is definitely a part of the reason for why the Indians have suffered. Yet, people do seem to forget that that is not for not a lack of effort. Santana had seemingly been on the uprise once again following a pretty good second half, and Kipnis looked to bounce back. The addition of Brandon Moss to a balanced offense with a smart hitting and hard hitting Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes was supposed to allow the offense to take off. Instead, Moss and Santana have struggled (although, Santana not as much as his basic stats have led people to believe), and Brantley and Gomes have each battled injuries throughout the year that have hampered their consistency.

As we progress to the 2016 season, the team appears to be more poised for success than ever. The Indians do still have undeniable holes to fill, but following the rather unique trades of Bourn and Swisher, there is much more flexibility for the Tribe to make moves and fill those holes overall.The Dolans have held back this team at times, and there is no denying this. Yet, Antonetti has truly not made many mistakes and has shown consistent success and the ability to make good trades and to draft well. It is hard not to put some blame on him for the lack of success on the field, because after all, he is the General Manager.

Antonetti and Shapiro have their collective faults, yet in some way their successes has gone rather unnoticed and their failures have been unfairly magnified.

 

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