The end came suddenly, just as it did last year. The Cleveland Indians coasted into the playoffs winning the Central Division title. The worst division in baseball provided little competition for the Tribe. Then the playoffs and another bust. Houston swept Cleveland and sent Indian fans into quiet disbelief. Maybe not too quiet for some fans who are ready to tear apart this team.
But is that what needs to be done? I don’t think so and I don’t think wholesale changes are going be forthcoming. Changes will be made however, as they always are. I’m glad I’m not the guy that has to make some very, very tough decisions in the offseason.
Here’s what we know. The Indians have some very big names that are now free agents. Cody Allen, Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller and Josh Donaldson are all free agents. It’s no secret that Cleveland will not be able to sign all of them. Small market teams like Cleveland do not have the resources to simply pay up. They may not be able to sign any of them as the dollars are limited, the players may not want to stay, or this: there’s always the idea that the club may not want to sign one, two or even any of them. Some of those people did not perform up to expected standards this year.
In addition to the free agents, the Tribe has to make some decisions on players like Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall and Josh Tomlin. These three have been a part of the clubhouse for a long time, but Kipnis and Tomlin have struggled and Chisenhall can’t stay healthy. Time to cut ties with all three? Again, I’m glad it’s not my decision.
My feeling is that the Indians front office should not make any decision based on playoff results. Some of these guys who struggled in October’s past may well change that in future years.
Whatever decisions are made, the Indians roster will likely change – perhaps drastically – in 2019. It will cause concern among fans all winter long.
The view from my seat suggests that one very interesting comment came as a result of the Tribe’s quick exit from the playoffs. My buddy said, “well, at least we have the Browns!” Who would have guessed we would have EVER heard such a thing!