My Love/Hate Relationship with Major League Baseball

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Every baseball off-season I have hope for the Cleveland Indians. My hope is that the front office of the Indians will address the problems of the previous season. Let’s use the 2014 team as an example. This current Indians roster needs a, wait for it, Right Handed Power bat that plays third base or right field. Now this may sound like revisionist history, as this is the same thing we have been saying about the Indians for the last 5 seasons. However, this Indians roster is only a few pieces away from a real playoff run.

The Indians have the reigning AL Cy Young winner on their roster. We also heard the same statement entering the ’08 and ’09 seasons. Some of you may remember C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee. This time things are different, as Corey Kluber is under contract beyond this coming season. It would take the greatest trade in the history of baseball for the Indians to trade Kluber during the upcoming season. The current Indians roster is almost identical to the playoff team of 2013. I would say this team has a more experienced and overall better pitching staff. The only thing this team really needs is a right handed power bat and a few extra quality arms on the bullpen.

Don’t expect the Indians front office to make any significant moves. In fact, don’t expect them to make any moves at all. They might sign a pitcher who is past his prime and cheap; and they might pick up a no name position player. When the season starts next April, the roster will be almost the same as it is today. This is why I actually hate baseball. This is a sport where there is no salary cap, yet the cheap ownership of the Indians refuses to do anything to improve this baseball team. To make matters worse, there are teams like the Red Sox and Blue Jays who, during this offseason, have made incredibly huge moves. The Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez; while the Blue Jays just fleeced Billy Beane and the A’s of Josh Donaldson for a pile of prospects.

The Indians could have made a move and acquired Donaldson. They could have given up Chisenhall, Lindor, and Salazar for Donaldson. The only real loss in that trade would have been Salazar. Lindor has the highest value now. He has been hyped up for the last 3 seasons, and he still has never seen a major league at bat. For a guy who is supposed to be the greatest prospect in the history of baseball, his .273 AAA average doesn’t impress me. On top of that the Indians have Jose Ramirez, who is more than capable of playing great defense and hitting around .270.

The only solace that Indians fans have, is that trying to buy a championship is not the pattern for success. If we have learned anything from the 2014 World Series, it’s that small market and balanced teams can win a World Series. I will admit the Giants had a top 10 payroll in 2014 at $154,185,878, but I don’t see them as a “superstar chasing team”.  Take a look at the teams that have tried to buy a championship in the last 5 seasons: Toronto, LAD, Miami,  New York,  Detroit, and Texas. These 6 teams have a combined zero World Series Championships. I’m not saying these teams are not good, I’m simply saying the recipe for buying a title is a little more complicated than money.

I think the Indians have 90% of the formula already in place for a World Series team. As I mentioned earlier, they only need a few key pieces, yet they refuse to do anything in a system that lets a team spend as much money as possible. The situation is infuriating. It is likely Indians will win 85-93 games again next season, again falling short of the playoffs. All the Indians need is a chance, but ownership is unlikely to provide them the opportunity.  It’s as though the Indians are the Gate Keeper and they are searching for the Key Master.

[yop_poll id=”33″]Written by Rick Giavonette

Follow me on Twitter: @CST_RickG

Photo Courtesy of talkingbiznews.com

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