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American League

The Time is Running Out on the Tribe

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The Major League Baseball Team with the longest current drought between World Championships opened Spring Training with sky high expectations once again this year.  Indians fans are hoping that the team’s performance in Goodyear, Arizona will carry over back to Cleveland.

Tribe fans have no reason to feel otherwise.  Since Terry Francona took over in 2013, the Indians have averaged over 90 wins a season.

The Indians have been one of the most elite teams in baseball over the past five seasons.

Despite a disappointing first round ALDS loss to the New York Yankees last season, combined with blowing a 3-1 series lead and eventually losing to the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series.

The team still features one of the best rotations in the American League.  Two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber headlines a staff that has become one of the more reliable units in the game.

The Indians lineup showcases perennial All-Stars like Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, and José Ramírez.  The team has high hopes for top prospect Bradley Zimmer to contribute regularly in 2018.

The bullpen remains the team’s strength heading into the 2018 Season.  Closer Cody Allen is a reliable arm at the end of games.  Andrew Miller’s ability is well-known throughout baseball, and he continues to be a dominant arm out of the pen.

The Indians benefit from one of the weaker divisions in baseball.  The Minnesota Twins were a playoff team as well last year, but the rest of the division remains at least a year or two away from competing.  Cleveland should feel very confident in winning the AL Central this season.

But what about next season and beyond?

The Tribe operates with the 14th highest payroll in MLB at $127 million (figures provided by Spotrac).  The Indians historically are not active in big name free agency (Not withstanding Encarnacion).  The team watched Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce, and Bryan Shaw leave via free agency.  Pitching coach Mickey Callaway left to become the manager of the New York Mets.

Cleveland chose not to pursue Santana (He received three years, $60 million from Philadelphia).  The team spent $15 million over two years on notoriously light hitting Yonder Alonso, despite coming off of a career year.

The Tribe can’t be expected to compete in the market for Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.  Both are free agents at season’s end and are expected to command salaries with AAV’s over $10 million.

Michael Brantley’s $12 million salary comes off the books after this season, and the Indians would love to find a taker for Jason Kipnis’s $28 million over the next two years.  Cleveland fortunately has club options on Kluber through the 2021 season.

The sky is not falling in Cleveland, but the window to compete is closing.  The Yankees, Astros, and Red Sox all got better in some form or fashion this offseason.

The Indians path to the postseason is through the division where they are still the class of the AL Central.  However, the Twins are on the rise and the White Sox are compiling a nice group of young players.

This could be the Indians last year to win that elusive World Series with this core of players.  Free agency will hit the Indians hard this offseason, even Chief Wahoo’s contract will expire at season’s end.  The time is now or who knows for the Tribe.

 

American League

Yankees’ Luis Severino Alters Diet to Improve Late-Season Energy

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New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino will be entering an important season as he tries to prove that he is a legit ace for a team that bolstered it’s starting rotation this offseason.

And that means a change in his diet.

Severino has altered his diet, cutting a number of snacks, including his favorite twice-fried plantains, out of his diet in an effort to avoid late-season fatigue.

“It’s not easy, it’s tough” Severino said, according to ESPN’s Coley Harvey.

“When you are at the finish line and you feel like you need a little bit more than five days to be ready, you know that something’s going on,” Severino said.

Severino made the decision to change his diet following the Yankees’ Divisional Series lost to World Series Champions the Boston Red Sox.

“Even though I feel like he was certainly healthy, he probably dealt with some fatigue issues with being a young pitcher in this league, and for the second consecutive year kind of getting around that 200-inning standpoint,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

“But in a lot of ways, we saw the normal progression of a young star pitcher. And even though he had some struggles in the second half, he had some flashes where he pitched really well for us, righted the ship a little bit.”

Severino still could be the starter on Opening Day.

“I would say there’s a very good chance of that,” Boone said. “We hadn’t had those kind of conversations exactly yet. But my expectation is that he would be that guy.”

Severino noted that the diet change was hard.

“I hate eating vegetables,” Severino said.


Where I came from, we just eat anything we see in the fridge, fried and fast food,” Severino said. “But we’re eating more vegetables and stuff like that, and get your body going faster and then recover fast. So that’s my main stuff, focusing on my workouts and avoiding doing a lot of weights that maybe make me a lot more tired.”

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American League

Yankees Keeping Tabs on Manny Machado

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Don’t completely count the New York Yankees out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes just yet, because they are simply playing the waiting game.

According to SNY.tv’s Andy Martino, the Yankees are keeping tabs on Machado with the hopes that a golden opportunity arises.

While they aren’t interested in Machado at shortstop, they would play him at third base and move Miguel Andujar to first base should they be able to haul in Machado.

While nothing is imminent, and even though the report states that a deal is unlikely, there is no counting the Yankees out of it just yet as Spring Training approaches.

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American League

Athletics Sign Brett Anderson

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The Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms with left hander Brett Anderson, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.

Anderson is taking a physical on Tuesday.

Anderson pitched to the tune of a 4.48 ERA for the A’s last season.

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