Bad hair day

Now that it’s February and spring training is a reality for the Indians, perhaps now would be a good time to look at our beloved Tribe and assess their chances for 2015.

Notice I wasn’t specific in stating exactly what chances I’m referring to with regard to the upcoming season. I mean, if I’m asking about the chances that fans will like the improvements made to Progressive Field for 2015, then heck yeah, I’m all in. Most folks will no-doubt like the ballpark’s upgrade.

If I’m asking about whether or not a cold beer at the ballpark will taste good in 2015, then yeah, that’s a pretty safe bet. Draw me an ice cold draft, barkeep, and keep the change.

But if I’m talking about the Tribe’s chances of having a legitimate shot at the Central Division crown this summer, then I’m afraid I stand a better chance of growing hair on my head (which would be the first time in thirty some-odd years). Yes, unfortunately I’m saying that this year’s version of the Indians looks to be the baseball equivalent of a Donald Trump comb-over.

You know the drill: The Indians spent all their available bucks on guys a couple of years ago who didn’t pan out (a.k.a. Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn), and until those contracts fade into the annals of (bad baseball trade) history, we sort of have to live with them (see Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook, Grady Sizemore, et al) before we can make some more ill-advised signings. Kind of like a hamster on one of those spinning wheel-things, when you think about it.

Over the winter the Indians, with a thrift store budget, picked up pitcher Gavin Floyd and first baseman Brandon Moss. Both players were injured last season, so each comes with question marks. If healthy, they could help – particularly Moss – given the Indians’ inept offense. The Indians are famous for their throw-it-up-against-the-wall-and-see-if-anything-sticks approach. Sometimes it works, other times, well, you know...

The problem is, if said players do perform well – which is everyone’s hope – they turn into short-term acquisitions because the Indians won’t be able to re-sign them because of their financial constraints. This Band-Aid mentality usually means the Indians are faced with the same problems the following year.

However, that’s not the biggest issue. The Indians – manager Terry Francona and GM Chris Antonetti specifically – point to how they finished only four games behind the Kansas City Royals last year, who reached the World Series. Granted, on paper those four games don’t seem like an insurmountable obstacle.

Consider the fact that to pick up those four games, everyone who contributed in 2014 will have to do the same – or better – in 2015. Plus, we have to improve on top of that by four games. Keep in mind that we’re assuming the teams we’re trying to catch won’t improve, which isn’t exactly etched in stone.

Now, let’s stop and think about that. Will Corey Kluber repeat his Cy Young season? It’s possible, but not likely. The Indians have a very young and talented pitching staff, and they all looked very promising last year. In baseball, “young” usually equates with “erratic” and to expect those pitchers to repeat their same overall level of performance is probably a reach.

Sort of like the chances of me visiting a barber shop this summer.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:10 AM, 02.17.2015