The Indians enter the 2016 Offseason at a crossroads in the organization. After falling 1 win short of the franchise’s first World Championship since 1948, the Indians are now dealt with the task to improve their team and hopefully find the missing pieces to finish the mission in 2017. Now as we all know the Dolans have been cheap in the past on free agency and Chris Antonetti has been unwilling to trade away prospects in order to fill those missing pieces. This offseason the Dolans and Chris Antonetti have the opportunity to break that trend and go for it in 2017. What makes this possible is the arrival of the Indians new Minority Owner, John Sherman. For years the Dolans have been trying to find someone who could bring in the extra capital they need in order to spend. On top of this, this offseason finally takes the contracts of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher off the books. If there was ever a time for the Dolans to spend, it is now.
Now as I normally do each offseason, I show my own Offseason plan if I was the Indians General Manager. Now as we go into this, we’ll explore 3 areas, Free Agent Options, Trade Options, and Roster Options. At the end I’ll explain what I would do if I was Indians General Manager.
Free Agent Options
Potential Contract- 1 year $8 million
Potential Contract- 1 years $10 million
Potential Contract- 1-2 years $5 Million a year
Potential Contract- Minor League Invite
Potential Contract- 1 year, $3 million
Other Options- UTIL Steve Pearce (BAL), 1B James Loney (NYM), IF Luis Valbuena (HOU), OF Jon Jay (SD), OF Austin Jackson (CWS), OF Carlos Gomez (TEX), OF Dexter Fowler (CHC, longshot)
Potential Trade- Indians acquire 1B Joey Votto from Cincinnati in exchange for SP Trevor Bauer, 1B Bobby Bradley, SP Triston McKenzie, OF Greg Allen
Potential Trade- Indians acquire CF Kevin Pillar from Toronto in exchange for OF Greg Allen and SS Yu Cheng-Chang
Potential Trade- Indians acquire CF Charlie Blackmon and RP Adam Ottavino from Colorado in exchange for CF Bradley Zimmer, SP Brady Aiken, and SS Yu Cheng-Chang
Potential Trade- Indians acquire SP Chris Archer from Tampa Bay in exchange for SP Danny Salazar, SP Brady Aiken, CF Will Benson, and 2B Tyler Kreiger
Other Trade Options- CF Andrew McCutchen (PIT), CF Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY), 1B Jose Abreu (CWS)
Now that we’ve seen all the options, it’s time to put everything together and see what I would do if I was Indians General Manager.
Re-Sign Rajai Davis
Sign Matt Holliday
Sign Javier Lopez
Trade for Kevin Pillar
Trade for Chris Archer
Move Yandy Diaz to 40 Man Roster
Obviously we can’t go overboard in terms of salary, so this could be the most viable option for the Indians. I think the speed and energy of Rajai Davis needs to be brought back in 2017 and would be affordable. To protect the Indians from a potential Michael Brantley setback, I would go for the Kevin Pillar trade option for multiple reasons. He’s a good defender, has good speed, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of his hitting ability yet, plus he won’t probably cost a lot in terms of trade value. By saving prospects to get Pillar, I go big on the trade market and bring Chris Archer back to Cleveland. While I would lose Salazar, Archer has proven to be a Cy Young contender and putting him next to Kluber only makes the Indians a tougher out in a potential playoff series. To improve the bullpen, adding Javier Lopez would give the Indians another lefty for matchup purposes, saving Andrew Miller for later in games. In order to save money from all the moves I’d be making, I’d put Yandy Diaz on the 40 Man Roster and hope he can be a Trevor Plouffe like addition for the bench. Lastly I’d replace the loss of Napoli with Matt Holliday, I mean why Party At Napoli’s when, “It’s Holliday Season” all year long? This would be what I would do if I was Indians GM. I think these moves put the Indians in excellent position to get back to the playoffs and make another run at a World Series Championship.
While some may believe the Indians have no money to spend, I have to believe being so close to a World Championship and the fact that a lot of potential Season Ticket sales might happen in 2017 (Thanks Browns!), this might be the time for Dolans to put their money where their mouth is. Remember fans, in 2009, Paul Dolan said, “When We Win, We Will Spend”. Well Mr. Dolan, you were one win away from a World Championship. I’m not asking you to break the bank and spend a lot of money, but be flexible and know by showing the fans you’re willing to spend the money and go for it, the fans will come. As much as the Browns sucking has brought down this city, the Indians resurgence has the fans reminiscing of the summers of the Mid-Late 1990s. They’re starving for an Indians World Series Championship and all it will take is investing a little more. We’re close Tribe fans, it’s time to fill in the final pieces.