Taking A Look At The Tribe

A fellow asked me a couple of questions about the Cleveland Indians yesterday. He wanted to know if I thought they choked against the New York Yankees last fall. He also wanted to know if I was concerned about their inactivity this off season. Let’s take a look.

I hate the word choke in sports. The Falcons choked against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, or so everyone said. They were aggressive with a lead late and it bit them. Had they gone into a “defense” mode and lost, the accusations would have been the same. Players don’t always perform up to expectations and when they don’t “choke” is not the word I would use.

That being said, my suggestion is that they did not choke, they got beat. Give the Yankees some credit. They came back and won the series. It did not help that the Indians top hitters didn’t hit, and that the top pitchers didn’t pitch well or that normally reliable fielders suddenly couldn’t catch the ball. It happens and when it happens to several players at once, the team does not fare well.

As for their inactivity this offseason, I am somewhat concerned. Not so much that the front office is incompetent, but more so that lack of funding becomes an issue again. Don’t ever forget that the Tribe is at best a mid-market club. They do not have the money to keep free agents or go get the ones they would like to have. They did not have the resources to pry Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. The Yankees did. While I’m on that subject, do not assume that the Yankees have won the American League pennant already. Stanton will look good in their lineup next to Judge and Sanchez, but there are no guarantees. Now if they pick up Cole and possibly Machado, well…

I’m guessing the Indians brass were in touch with Bryan Shaw and Carlos Santana, but knew they could not pay what other teams would for their services. I’m hoping that after the dust of the Winter Meetings settles, Cleveland will piece together a competitive team for 2018. That is, within their spending limits.

The view from my seat suggests that we show patience. That patience should be tempered with the fact that there are limited resources. In a couple of years if someone like Francisco Lindor, for example, bolts through free agency, then we can assume the window of opportunity has closed. Then it will be another decade of waiting for young players to develop to the point of being competitive before we lose them to the highest bidders.

Such is the fate of being a Cleveland Indians fan.