Terry Francona Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
A few days ago, the Tigers received a Winter Report Card grade of C+ from Sports Illustrated. So how did the team that finished just behind them in the AL Central a year ago fare?
"The Indians made the playoffs even while getting subpar seasons from Swisher, Michael Bourn, Asdrubal Cabrera and others. While it’s good that Antonetti didn’t overreact by selling low on Cabrera — who’s heading into his walk year, with top prospect Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings — banking on rebounds from the aforementioned trio is easier to justify than standing pat with what’s left of the rotation. While Antonetti has done a decent job with some low-cost moves, Cleveland likely needs to make at least one more substantial addition to have a shot at another playoff bid."
I am picking the Royals to finish in front of the Indians this year–but I mistakenly made that prediction last year too.
Despite the solid hiring of manager Terry Francona, most opposing fans sneered at Cleveland’s off-season. Namely the signing of old man river, Jason Giambi, and Tigers’ retread Ryan Raburn (among others). No one expected them to win more than 90 games, finish one-game behind the Tigers and clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2007, but they did just that.
In other words, no one should be discounting the Indians’ chances in 2014.