In a new series we are running here at CST, we will be fielding your questions about the Indians, Browns, Cavs and Buckeyes via Twitter (@CleSportsTalk) as we head into a big year for Cleveland sports. Thanks in advance to all who participate in any of our future Twitter Mailbags. First stop, your hometown Cleveland Indians.
This is likely the same question that Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti and company are still trying to figure out right now. While it is still not completely set in stone, the Indians, who are still in both the divisional (6.5 GB) and wild card (2 GB) playoff races, will likely not be selling at the trade deadline. The Tribe has been linked to several different players in the past few weeks, including Tampa Bay ace David Price and San Diego Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit. Honestly, I don’t see either of these moves being very productive for the Indians as a club. Price would be much too expensive and might not even be traded anyway, while the bullpen might be the least of the Indians’ concerns right now, which rules out Benoit.
But, to answer the question, the Indians do not have to do much at all in the next week to stay in contention. Trading Justin Masterson or Asdrubal Cabrera, who both have low stocks right now, would be taking out some key players in the Indians’ roster and probably would not be worth it. At the least, the Indians should find a way to trade for a back-of-the-rotation starter to add some consistency. Maybe someone like AJ Burnett or Jake Peavy would help, both of whom could be traded by the end of July.
Justin Masterson. While guys like Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar have high ceilings as MLB starters, we have all witnessed what Masterson can do at the MLB level on a regular basis. After all, he has been the club’s Opening Day starter for the last three seasons. This rotation is instantly better with a strong duo of Kluber and Masterson at the helm, with Bauer and Tomlin playing the role of sidekicks. A good finish would be beneficial for Masterson as an individual too, as he is likely entering free agency this winter.
I do not really feel strongly towards either side of the issue, but if people find the logo offensive, then I don’t see a good reason why the team shouldn’t change it. The team has done a good job of starting to do away with the logo this season, and they will probably continue to replace Chief Wahoo in the next few years until the mascot is completely gone from the team. As for the team name itself, I find it hard to see any offense or racist intent at all. The name Cleveland Indians honors a group of people, while the Chief Wahoo logo pokes fun at stereotypes; the difference is clear. In short, the logo needs to go, while the team name should stay.
In my opinion: no. But, then again I don’t make the decisions. By the end of this year, they could be feeling a bit of heat from the fans and others in the organization depending on how the team finishes, but I highly doubt that either of them is fired following this season. Sure Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn seem like disappointing signings right now, but there are a number of moves that this duo has really nailed. In the past 2 calendar years, Shapiro and Antonetti have brought in Terry Francona, turned Esmil Rodgers into Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, signed two big name players in Bourn and Swisher (yes, they have been disappointing, but I still view bringing them to Cleveland as a mild accomplishment), signed Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley (for a huge bargain, I might add) to long term contracts, and passed on both re-signing Ubaldo Jimenez and extending Justin Masterson. Shapanetti, as you might call them, also have several high-potential prospects waiting in the Minor Leagues right now, who could be parts to a very strong team in the near future.
In conclusion, I really think Antonetti and Shapiro have developed a good system for success in a small-market city, and I doubt the Dolan family will bring an end to that this year.
With the way that this particular Indians rotation stands, I’d say that his chances are pretty good. While it was disappointing to see Salazar move down to Columbus, his time there was necessary and he seems to have fixed some things there. He definitely looked like his former self during his last few games in AAA, posting a 2.32 ERA in his last 5 outings with the Clippers. Because the club is so high on his future and because all that stands in his way is TJ House, I would really like to see Salazar finish the year with the Tribe. Plus, a strong finish from him makes this shaky rotation a completely different story.
Thanks to all who participated, and stay tuned for more Twitter Mailbags featuring the Browns, Cavs and Buckeyes.
By Jay Cannon
Image credit to: www.cleveland.com