After reaching the postseason for the first time since 2007 in 2013, the Cleveland Indians barely missed out in 2014, falling shy of the division title by five games and missing a shot at the American League Wild Card game by three games. Expectations were high and the outlook was positive entering 2015, but the club fell well shy of a playoff bid despite owning the AL’s second-best team ERA and third-best team on-base percentage. Getting runners on base wasn’t an issue for the Indians, but getting those runners home was, as the club finished just 11th among AL clubs in runs scored.
With the Kansas City Royals emerging as perennial contenders and the Detroit Tigers always in the hunt, the Indians and President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti face a tough challenge in assembling a roster that can be competitive with limited financial resources. Fortunately, most (if not all) of the Indians’ impact performers are under team control for at least a few years, cutting down the amount of money needed to retain their big-league talent – for now.
The offseason plan for Cleveland was somewhat obscure this year, as the team has a lot of quality players on the roster and should be trying to compete for the playoffs in 2016, but there were trade rumors surrounding young starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar for most of the winter. However, no deals were made, and barring any late action in the trade market, the Indians looks to return both pitchers to a rotation that also includes 2014 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The offense, however, is much more questionable than the pitching heading into 2016.