Why does it seem that the Cleveland Indians are constantly rebuilding? Maybe because in a very real way they are. It seems, they have a small market mentality to running their club, but this is a team just a few seasons removed for ma tough loss in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox. In 2009 they lost 97 games and ended up in a last place tie with the Kansas City Royals. They have a new manger, this year, and in 2011 they will have a new General Manager. Hopefully they will right the ship.
The biggest question facing this club is, will their starting rotation have any veteran leadership. Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia are gone, but they do have Jake Westbrook. He is a two time 15 game winner who missed the 2009 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Of course if the Indians stick to form, and he has a big season, he will follow the other veteran pitchers out the door. He is in the last year of a contract that will pay him 11 million dollars in 2010. Behind him they have Fausto Carmona who must regain his form since the rest of the rotation is younger, still developing pitchers.
The Indians have moved Grady Sizemore from the leadoff spot to the #2 spot in the batting order. He has been the leadoff guy for the past five seasons, and some think that this move is long overdue. With Asdrubal Cabrera moving into the leadoff spot the Indians are hoping to better take advantage of Sizemore’s power. He should get more RBI attempts and see some better pitched at the two spot.
The Indians also have to wonder how much Travis Hafner has in the tank. Hafner was a RBI machine before shoulder problems derailed him. His power number returned last year but he only saw action in 94 games. This is not as critical as they do have power hitting in Shin-Soo Choo, and have added Russell Branyan, but it would make life a lot easier if he can be productive.