Cleveland Indians Poised For Another Memorable Season
The Cleveland Indians are on a short-list of teams that will be playing for all the marbles come October. This is the team that was in extra innings with the Chicago Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series, and nearly came away with the trophy. The Tribe started something special a season ago, and they are certainly poised for another memorable season in 2017.
Now, President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti, executive of the year I might add, and his elite staff have managed to add one of the best power hitters in baseball to their current roster that was within reach of being immortalized. The Indians waited out the market for first baseman and while this signing signatures the departure of clubhouse leader Mike Napoli, Edwin Encarnacion brings some serious power to the dish. The right-handed slugger hit 193 home runs over the last five seasons as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and smacked 42 out last season while driving in an eye-popping 127 runs.
Along with Encarnacion, the Indians will get three major players on their club back in the fold every day. Starters Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, two of the two very best right-handers in the AL, re-join perennial Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber in one of the best rotations in baseball. The two starters missed the postseason with injuries and should both be at one-hundred percent once the team breaks for camp. Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin round out a rock-solid rotation with guys like Ryan Merritt on-deck ready to step in and start if needed.
The Tribe will also have a former MVP candidate Michael Brantley healthy and rearing to go in left field every day and have added the veteran Austin Jackson to a minor-league deal with the young Tyler Naquin ready to compete for the spot in center field as well. The platoon of Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer did wonders a season ago and Cleveland will hope that trend continues in 2017.
So the 2016 American League Champions who already have one of the best managers in the game, Terry Francona, a top-flight baseball ops team, a lethal bullpen, elite starting rotation and a lineup that just got a whole lot better will be poised for greatness next season. Antonetti and his team are also reportedly “scouring” the free agent market looking to perhaps add another left-handed reliever or a utility bat to round out the 25-man roster. They are in a tremendous position as Spring Training draws near and have already shown the willingness to bolster their payroll after the postseason receipts from a season to go.
It will be a joy to watch Cleveland Indians baseball and I’m hard-pressed to find a team that can match up with them, if healthy, in a best of seven series this time around be it the Cubs, Red Sox or whomever else. Cleveland isn’t just a basketball town anymore, because the Indians are going to be a force and this will be a memorable baseball season.
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