A Key Offseason Approaches In Cleveland

By: T.J. Zuppe

Typically, the month of September means one thing to baseball in Cleveland; it is evaluation time for players auditioning for jobs this offseason. However, this final month has been a little out of the ordinary for the Indians.

Cycling down from contention in the American League Central, the Tribe has slipped into forgotten territory.

Just as the flood gates can open for a pitcher surrendering his first run in a shutout, after being dismantled by the Detroit Tigers early in the month, things have soured quickly for the guys with Wahoo on their lids.

However, due to the early debuts of several young prospects, in addition to dealing some away at the deadline in an attempt to stay in contention, there really are not that many questions being answered in the final stretch of games.

The Indians front office faces a big challenge in the upcoming months

Conclusions will be drawn based on what has already been established.

Instead, we shift our focus to the offseason that follows.

With a young team poised to make a step towards legitimate contention, it is just as much on the front office and ownership to continue their newfound commitment to winning, as it is on the club to elevate their play on the field.

In the past, Cleveland has been told to be patient. The mid-market lyrics could be sung in the sleep of the Featherhead faithful.

It is a song they know all too well.

In the period leading up to spring training in 2011, the team ownership even stated that there is a time to spend. Now just was not it.

But after a fun and frustrating ride of Indians baseball this year, featuring meaningful games at the start of September, expect those excuses to fly as well as a penguin.

Now is exactly the right time to recommit to winning.

Contrary to popular belief, wins do not just come through spending more money. But it is a factor.

For a team in the middle of the baseball marketplace, simply throwing dollars at a payroll of players does not equate to winning. For every squad that makes the playoffs with swelling salaries, there are five that have nothing to show for their investments.

The Yankees and Red Sox of the baseball world can toss dollars at any problem. That is not so for everyone else. Do not expect that to change anytime soon.

But a mixture of cash to accompany savvy moves, that is where a team like Cleveland needs to thrive. After all, it is rarely about the money you spend, rather how you spent it. Boy, do they need both ends of the spectrum.

This is where general manager Chris Antonetti needs to earn his paycheck. As much as the ownership needs to remove some of the financial barricades created over the past several seasons, Antonetti needs to reward that decision with smarter ones.

After all, a poor investment like the signing of pitcher Kerry Wood a few short years ago, not only wastes time and money, but makes the Dolans less prone to opening up the pocket books once again.

In the next few months that follow, the future of the 2012 Indians will be put into motion. Will they buy into the new window they have created, going all-in at the trade deadline to acquire pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez?

Or will the fan base again be greeted with explanations and warnings of patience? Will the current perceptions about team ownership continue to rule the day?

Whatever the choice may be, the sequence in which it transpires will be as pivotal as any moment in recent sports history in Cleveland.

There is no more room for excuses, just results.



  1. This article told us absolutely NOTHING! Kind of like the Indians. No insight learned from reading this piece of garbage. What a waste of time. Next time please write something that might be remotely interesting to Cleveland sports fans.

  2. they have money they are millionaires cleveland dont want to hear that crap

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