The Cleveland Indians had one of the worst winters in franchise history. They traded superstar Francisco Lindor and number two pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets. The Indians now have only five players making over the major league minimum. What’s even worse is that the worst is yet to some for Cleveland fans when it comes to trading away their best players for financial reasons. However, the Indians may have a shot at October Baseball in a very weak AL Central. But for that to happen, everything would have to fall into place.
The Indians actually have a pretty decent lineup heading into 2021. Even though the loss of Lindor will sting, they still have a ton of productive Major League talent. Jose Ramirez is coming off an MVP Runner up season in which he had 17 home runs and 46 RBIs; in a 60 game season. It should be noted that a good number of elite players in baseball struggled to get going throughout the entirety of the COVID shortened 60 game season. The fact that Ramierez shined through a difficult situation showcases why he is a special player who should be in the MVP conversation once again.
The Indians picked up outfielder Eddie Rosario in free agency and utility man Andres Gimenez in the Lindor trade. I absolutely adore the acquisition of Rosario. He has put elite numbers consistently during his time with the Twins. Last year he had a .257 AVG, 13 home runs, and 42 RBIs. Not bad for the shortened season. In 2019 he was even better. Rosario hit .276, 32 home runs, and 109 RBIs. The possibilities are endless with Eddie Rosario in a Cleveland uniform. Look for him to be the X factor for the Indians in 2021.
Other than CY Young winner Shane Bieber and a stud in Zach Plesac, the Indians’ rotation isn’t too promising. I just don’t see guys like Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie put up consistently solid numbers throughout a 162 game season. When Bieber and Plesac are on the mound, the pitching should be superb. When they’re not it’s a huge question mark.
Other than reliever James Karinchak there really isn’t much to be excited about this Indians’ bullpen. They lost closer Brad Hand in free agency, left-hander Oliver Perez and sidearmer Adam Cimber as well. This Indians bullpen is raw and young and should expect a lot of growing pains throughout the season.
The Indians do have a chance to make the AL wildcard. They just don’t have enough firepower to get past the White Sox and the Twins. I predict the Indians to finish third in the AL Central with 82 wins on the season.