I got home shortly after 3:00 and started watching this game that began around 1:00 while I was still at the office. I decided to watch the Indians for the second straight day since they’re in the midst of the longest winning streak since the 2002 Oakland Athletics.
Both teams squandered opportunities, but you knew the Indians weren’t losing this game. Not with the magic they have going right now. Everything is working. Josh Tomlin is striking out eight. They’re waiting out the opposition until they’re throwing utility infielders. Trevor Bauer had a look of focus in him in the relief appearance I can’t begin to explain. The Tribe is just seriously locked in.
And good on them. This win streak which definitely climaxed today has been a nice little follow up afterparty for the Cavs lifting the curse. My wife pointed out – she watched four hours of this game with me because it was that good – that it was the Red Sox who won a title after the Celtics lifted a curse. And I think she was right.
I kind of want to see the Indians run this out another week plus to see them get that record. I didn’t hone in on the Athletics much in 2002 when they won 20 in a row other than when they steamrolled through Cincinnati that late June, and I didn’t care because I thought the A’s were trash at that point. I’m older and wiser now, and I can appreciate that the Indians are playing really good ball. Historic baseball.
So I was trying to start this preview off by harkening back to the last glory days of Cleveland in the mid 90’s so I searched for “Indians team picture 1997”, and this was one of the top results with no team picture in sight. I guess it is pretty fitting seeing as how this is a preview of a Cleveland sports team. Well…the Indians never could turn that talent in the mid 90s into a championship and haven’t come close since. There has been some serious talent come through Cleveland during that time including Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Grady Sizemore (pre-injury), Bart Colon, Victor Martinez, Brandon Pihillips, etc. I’m sure that lists grates at Cleveland fans thinking about what might have been. Well Cleveland spent the off season trying to fill the talent gap again and they’ve done a pretty good job at doing so.
So what did they do?
Major Off-Season Moves:
Signed OF Michael Bourn
Signed OF/DH Nick Swisher
Acquired OF Drew Stubbs via trade from Reds
Acquired SP Trevor Bauer in same trade from Diamondbacks
Signed 1B/3B Mark Reynolds from Orioles
Signed SP Brett Myers
No one can accuse Cleveland of resting on their laurels this off season. Although their laurels weren’t that good, so why would anyone rest on them. Whoa…that last sentenced confused me – ignore it please. They signed two serious impact free agents in Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Teams were shying away from Micahel Bourn because of the new draft pick compensation rules for free agents and I think an underlying concern that his legs will begin to deteriorate and his game along with it. As it stands now he’s a great CF and one the best on the bases in the majors. Nick Swisher has never had a star label but his consistently produces at a good clip. Drew Stubbs and Trevor Bauer were two young players who needed changes of scenery. Although as we pointed out in our Diamondbacks preview, the Bauer one doesn’t make sense. Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers are veteran plugs that the Indians needed to fill out their rosters.
It wasn’t long ago that the Diamondbacks were the feel good story in all of baseball. It seemed like that 2011 team was Justin Upton and a bunch of guys, and they rolled into the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers where they came ever so close to advancing to the 2011 NLCS. The model worked as it should, a team built around a young superstar overachieved a year ahead of schedule. Bruce Springsteen was being played on the stadium organ. Good times were had by all. With some luck and decent moves, a supporting cast would be built around Justin Upton for years to come.
It would never be more than a mirage for Arizona. This offseason wasn’t about who they added, but rather the trade that sent their franchise player to Atlanta to play with his brother. The package the Dbacks received in return for Upton wasn’t all that exciting, and it’s clear that they settled for much less than they could have yielded at other points if they were so set on trading Upton.
The organization continually remarked behind closed doors that Upton wasn’t “a winning player”. Go ahead and Google it now, you won’t find any other reasons behind why Upton was dealt. That’s because there were no good reasons. It was a stupid move and even when Arizona makes it back to the postseason in another eight or so seasons, it still won’t be a good move. It didn’t have to go down this way, and the Dbacks have unofficially stuck their flag in rebuild mountain.
They traded Trevor Bauer for being a dipshit, too.
Major offseason moves:
Traded Justin Upton for Martin Prado and Randall Delgado
Signed Eric Chavez
Traded for Tony Campana
Signed Rod Barajas
Traded Trevor Bauer for Didi Gregorius
Signed Brandon McCarthy to a 2-year, $15.5 million dollar contract
After the jump we’ll take a look at the 2013 Diamondbacks projected lineup and pitching staff.