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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

Red Sox Designate Eduardo Nunez For Assignment

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Eduardo Nunez

The Boston Red Sox have designated infielder Eduardo Nunez for assignment, according to a team announcement on Monday.

Boston also optioned right hander Hector Velazquez to Triple A Pawtucket.

In corresponding moves, the Red Sox have called up right hander Ryan Weber and first basemen/outfielder Sam Travis from Triple A.

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American League

Royals Considered Likely to be Moving Billy Hamilton, Terrance Gore

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Billy Hamilton

As the trade deadline approaches, the Kansas City Royals may be ready to enter sale mode.

According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, the Royals may be moving both Billy Hamilton and Terrance Gore, who has already been designated for assignment.

Hamilton has been dropped to a backup role following the Royals call up of top prospect Bubba Starling, and hasn’t started a game since July 3rd.

Hamilton has posted a .217/.284/.271 slash line this season.

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American League

Orioles’ Mychal Givens Drawing Trade Interest

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Mychal Givens

The Baltimore Orioles are again going to be sellers at the trade deadline and it appears that closer Mychal Givens is available, and drawing interest, according to MASNSports’ Rock Kubatko.

Per the report, the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies have expressed interest in the pitcher.

Givens has posted a 4.50 ERA this season for Baltimore.

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