Our Q&A spring training tour of the AL Central moves onto the Cleveland Indians. We asked Lewie Pollis who is senior editor at Wahoo’s on First. Here is how Lewie answered our questions on the Indians that we asked.
Cleveland brought in Terry Francona in the offseason to return the Indians to the top of the AL Central. Photo credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Kings of Kauffman – What does the fan base think about Terry Francona taking over the team?
Wahoo’s on First – At the time, the general reaction was a muted positive one. It was exciting to bring in such a renowned manager, but it was bittersweet that local hero Sandy Alomar Jr. didn’t get the job. But even the biggest Sandy fan has to admit that bringing in Francona now looks like a stroke of genius. He’s helped to reenergize a clubhouse that had turned to torpor last year under Manny Acta and the gravitas he brings to the team has made Cleveland a more attractive landing spot for free agents. So yeah, give the Tribe an A+ for that one.
KOK – Cleveland like Kansas City is a team that seems to be a trendy pick to do big things, how realistic do you think this is?
WOF – Very. The Indians now have one of the best lineups in the league and possibly the best defensive alignment in baseball. Combine that with an incredibly underrated rotation—yes, there are a lot of question marks, but this staff has a lot of upside and a ton of depth—and there’s a lot to like about this team. I’m not expecting 90 wins, but they’re a lot better than the .500-ish projections most people have been giving them.
KOK – Which offseason moves do you like that the club made?
WOF – Almost all of them. Francona was a great hire. The Shin-Soo Choo trade was sheer highway robbery. The Nick Swisher deal was terrific. So was the Mark Reynolds signing. And Michael Bourn. Mike Aviles is going to be nice to have around, and the minor-league deals we gave to Scott Kazmir, Jason Giambi, and Ryan Raburn all look like winners. I still don’t get the Brett Myers signing and I think the team will live to regret not trading Chris Perez when his value was at its peak, but it’s been an incredible winter for the Tribe.
KOK – Where do you think the Indians finish in the standings this season?
WOF – Second place in the AL Central, somewhere around 86-88 wins. The Tigers are probably the better team—for now—but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tribe in the playoff hunt for most of the season.