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Indians manager already thinking ahead to 2013

Aug 16, 2012, 6:59 PM EDT

Manny Acta AP

After an 11-game losing streak knocked his team out of contention for 2012, Indians manager Manny Acta is looking ahead towards next year.

“It’s no secret, we’re going to need to improve our offense,” Acta told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We’re going to have to find a solution in left field, we’re going to have to find a solution at first base and we’re going to have to find a solution at DH. That’s pretty obvious.

“And the third base situation is not determined either. Lonnie [Chisenhall]┬áhas a broken arm. The guys that are here right now are fine and doing what they can, but we expect more.”

They may expect it, but they weren’t willing to pay for it previously, which is how they wound up with bargain-basement players Casey Kotchman, Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan and Jose Lopez getting a bunch of at-bats this year.

At least the Indians will finally be out from under Travis Hafner‘s contract this winter. Hafner is still pretty productive when he plays, but since he can’t even stay healthy as a DH, the Indians might not want him back even at a huge paycut. The Indians will also likely move on from Grady Sizemore now that they have Michael Brantley established in center field.

It should give them a fair amount of money to play with as they address their lineup. Considering that they’re completely set up middle with Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana and they’ll still have Shin-Soo Choo in right for another year, they should have the ability to put together a much improved lineup without having to completely revamp the budget.

  1. kkolchak - Aug 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    So I guess Indians fans should be looking forward to 2014 then.

    • tashkalucy - Aug 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      2014?

      Just read that Astrubals contract pays him $6.5M in 2013. It 2014 it jumps to $10M. There is no way in the world the Dolan’s pay a players $10M. The questions are – how soon they trade the guy, and what awful prospects do they get for him?

      The worst front office in MLB bar none, and one of the worst ownerships.

      • kkolchak - Aug 16, 2012 at 8:10 PM

        I was referring to the fact that you’re stuck with Acta again next year. That’s the dude bad teams hire when they want a scapegoat.

  2. tashkalucy - Aug 16, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    A few comments….

    1. Set up the middle?

    Santana is not just one of the worst catchers in the majors, he’s one of the worst I’ve seen in years. Hopefully they’ll DH him when Hafner is gone. Again last night he threw a ball into CF on a bunt when the runner was almost at 2B when he released the ball. Brantley does not have enough range to play CF, he belongs in LF. Cabrara has had poor range for a SS for years, and with the weight he’s put on he’s now too pudgy to move much, and belongs at 3B or 2B. Only Kipnis can play his position, and he’d be better in LF which is his original position.

    2. A lot of money to spend next year?

    Don’t count on it.

    Last week in an interview with the PD, Paul Dolan told Terry Pluto that the Indians would lose a lot more money then they projected (the had hoped to make money). Mark Shapiro – who smoozes the national media and blames everything wrong on someone else – is the worst front office person in MLB. Along with his hand pick mentee that talks like a programmed robot, Chris Antonetti, they have succeeded in running a great Indians organization from the 90’s straight into the ground.

    Up until the last week the Indians were last in MLB attendance, and their TV ratings are down 25% from the previous year. The fans are fed-up and they will get far less revenues in 2013. Shapiro told the owners the Indians would be “contenders this year and the owners budgeted for fans to arrive in droves. Other then beating up on softies the first 2 month of the season, the Indian have sucked.

    I don’t think they have money to spend at all. The owners are tapped out. They have to cut at least $20M off of that payroll.

    3. About the front office.

    The only 2 OF’s the team developed since Manny Rameriz in 1994 that played more then a few dozen games in the majors are the legendary Ben Francisco and Trevor Crowe. Almost all their #1 picks since 2000 have washed out, minus the 2 pitchers they traded to Colorado for the great Ubaldo Jiminez – Pomerantz and White – both of whom look like anything but solid prospects as they have ERA’s over 5. But the kicker are their trades….

    Not only can’t they scout amatuer players, they can’t scout young professional players as well (Shaprio and Antonetti believe in the stats they see in their computers and not in hiring good scouts and listening to them….which is why they don’t have any good scouts as the good ones don’t want to work for them. I return for trading 2 Cy Young Award winning pitchers (Sabathia, Lee), an all-star catcher that was a perennial .300 hitter (Victor Martinez), this is what they got back – a CF that should be in LF and suddenly hit .280 this year after doing nothing since the trade (Brantley), a bullpen pitcher they let start that had a good season last year and has regressed something terrible this year (Masterson), a utility man (Donald) that can’t play SS, 2B or 3B so they traded for the legendary Brent Lillibridge, adn a back-up catcher…..THAT’S IT!

    They have no prospects in AA or AAA that look like they can even play in MLB, let alone be impact players. They have too many left-handed hitters (their line-up consists of 7 left-handed hitters and 2 switch hitters.

    I could go on and on. This is what happens when owners let 2 kids that play fantasy baseball on their computers run a major league team.

    • jhorton83 - Aug 16, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      Other than that though, things are looking up.

    • Kevin Gillman - Aug 16, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      Brantley showed alot of potential last season before he was hurt. There was evidence shown that he would hit .280, and he has. He has also played great defense at CF, robbing Home Runs (Remember the Alex Rios catch?), and has been consistent all season long.

      Carlos Santana WILL hit, the guy has done it his entire career, up until now. The problem is they are trying to stop his toe tapping completely, if it makes his comfrtable, and it does….why mess that up?

      Jason Kipnis is a stud, no question. Lonnie Chisenhall has shown flashes of hitting this season, until he was hurt. But I think he should be the everyday 3rd baseman when the season starts.

      I am so sick and tired of hearing people say Asdrubal Cabrera can’t field, he can, and has. Every night the dude is on Sportscenter robbing someone, because of his range.

      That’s the core players, right now on offense.

      Now comes the pitching….

      How good is Justin Masterson? The problem is we don’t know, at least not yet, because he is fine at home, with an ERA of a little over 3.00, but his road ERA is two points higher, we can’t rely on an “Ace” to do that.

      Zach McAllister though can be a solid number 2, he has shown to be a good pitcher that can keep his team in the game, can throw around 93MPH, and keep the ball on the ground. The one thing though he has to work on his Unearned runs. When his defense commits an error, he has to suck it up, and not worry about it. That is where he can grow next season. If he does that, then he should have a breakout season. He has the stuff.

      Ubaldo, I still believe he has the arm to do it, but my gawd, he needs to stop thinking, and just throw. Forget the split too much, a big reason why he leads the league in wild pitches. STOP IT!!!! This is why we need a manager that challenges his players, and I don’t believe Manny Acta can do that.

      But the bullpen is where this team’s strengths are at. Forget Chris Perez, Indians will trade him at the offseason for an offensive bat, hopefully either a 1st baseman or a LF. Vinnie Pestano will take over as the Closer, and maybe just maybe, he will get some attention, because the guy is the best setup man in baseball. I would take him over anyone that gets attention. He has the strikeouts, the holds, and look at the ERA. He just broke a 21 1/3 consecutive scoreless inning streak that nobody is talking about. You use Nick Hagadone and Joe Smith as the setup men next season, with Cody Allen making a stand too. Cory Kluber might be a bullpen guy too, there IS talent, but the FO has to pick up players that complement the core players, and that’s something they haven’t done yet.

      • tashkalucy - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM

        1. Brantley may well be having a career year.

        2. Carlos Santana cannot hit .250 in the majors. Don’t tell me what he hit in the minors, lots of guys hit well in the minors and it doesn’t translate.

        3. Kipnis I like. But a stud? The guy’s worn down and his BA is now below .260.

        4. Chisenhall? Another wonderful prospect pushed by the Shapiro pub machine. The kid has never hit above .275 in professional baseball, and he is as much a disaster at 3B as Santan is catching. As usual, the Indians have yet another guy that cannot play a defensive position.

        5. Cabrara’s range? Check some of the services that track these things. Cabrara has been showing up with terrible range for years. Even the Indians told Terry Pluto that they cannot leave him at SS much longer. As for ESPN highlights, they show more guys that take bad routes to balls and then make a lunge so a standard play looks difficult.

        6. The starting pitching has been the cause of the downfall. Justin Masterson at best is a #3 pitcher. Any idea of calling him an ace because he had one good year and the indians don’t have anyone else is nuts. McAllister? He’s been slapped around his last few starts. It’s one thing to be called up from the minors for a start where the advance scouts can’t see you. But as happened with Gomez and Huff before him, once McAllister had a few scheduled start in the majors the scouts and the players put out word on him.

        The Indians are a soon to be perennial last place team for quite some time. The front office is terrible, and if the ownership wakes up and decides to fire them, there may well be no qualified, proven FO executive that wants to touch the Indians operation because it maeans having to deal with the Dolan’s.

        Cleveland fans are screwed yet again.

  3. Kevin Gillman - Aug 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Matt Weiters had some medicore stats too when he was given the everday job as Catcher for the Orioles, and all he did was post up some power numbers, and make an All-Star appearance last season. No reason Carlos can’t do the same thing next season.

    Kipnis is wearing down in part, because the Indians are putting all of their offensive weight on his shoulders, but make no mistake about it, he will hit higher than .260 next season. Hell, he still has plaenty of time the rest of this season to hit above .270.

    I don’t care if Chisenall never hits .275, he can AND still can be a productive hitter, it’s called driving in runs when he needs to. Nothing wrong with putting him in the 7 spot next season.

    And I also don’t care about what WAR stat will show me too about Cabrera. Sometimes, stats are not the only indicator in determining if the play can be made, and even so, Cabrera won’t be with the Indians after 2015, because Lindor will be ready, so does it really make that much of a difference?

    So McAllister hasn’t given up the most unearned runs this season, and THAT is why he has been getting beat? So, he still hasn’t thrown ground balls with plays that haven’t been made? How are groundballs being shelled, again? I am confused about that one.

    Answer me this question, if Chris Antonelli is so “terrible” as you put it, why did the Red Sox want to hire him after Theo left the first time? Yes, Chris was ineffective this offseason, but perhaps none of those decisions, such as signing not signing Josh Willingham were Paul Dolan, and not Antonelli? I agree, Dolan is an awful owner, and the Indians need to be sold soon, but Chris is still a very intelligent man, and those draft results have been pretty solid the last few seasons.

    But it is funny that you not once commented on the bullpen, maybe because I am right, and that is the strength of the team?

    But whatever, Go Tribe.

  4. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    hey the bluejays are looking forward to 2078 so it should be ok if the tribe wants to look forward to 2013

  5. chumthumper - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    I play for the Indians.
    Here in Cleveland? I didn’t know they still had a team!
    Yup, we’ve got uniforms and everything, it’s really great!

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