2006 Cleveland Indians Preview

Posted on Senin, 25 Januari 2010 |
2005 Overview:

The Cleveland Indians were arguably the best overall team in baseball during the 2nd half of the season. The Indians remained right in the thick of the AL pennant chase until the very last week of the season when a 4-6 record in their last 10 games left them two games back in the wildcard standings. Cleveland ended the year with an impressive final record of 93-69. The Tribe fielded some of the best young offensive talent in all of baseball in 2005, led by a breakout year from shortstop Jhonny Peralta (.292 25 78).  Peralta’s first full season helped Cleveland’s offense keep the Tribe close for the better part of the summer. Newly acquired 3b Aaron Boone (.243 16 60) also combined talents with infielders Ronnie Belliard (.284 17 78) and 1st baseman Ben Broussard (.255 19 68) in order to assemble one of the best all around infields in all of baseball. Additional offense was provided in 2005 from outfielder Grady Sizemore (.289 22 81) and Casey Blake (.241 23 58) who joined Coco Crisp (.300 16 69), catcher Victor Martinez (.305 20 80) and DH Travis Hafner (.305 33 108) to complete the rest of the lineup.

The Indians’ pitching staff also proved to be among the best in the AL with starting Pitcher Cliff Lee (18-5 3.79) and C.C. Sabathia (15-10 4.03) joining Jake Westbrook (15-15 4.49) and newly acquired pitchers Scott Elarton (11-9 4.61) and Kevin Millwood (9-11 2.86) in order to form a solid rotation. Aging closer Bob Wickman (0-4 2.47 45 saves) surprised skeptics by proving he still had plenty left in the tank posting a 14-year career high 45 saves in 50 attempts.

Off Season Moves:

The Indians didn’t make many moves during the off season although free-agent right-hander Paul Byrd (12-11 3.74) was signed to take the place of departing Kevin Millwood (who was signed by the Rangers). The Indians also replaced starting pitcher Scott Elarton (signed by the Royals) with Detroit Tiger free-agent Jason Johnson (8-13 4.54). Cleveland also tried to obtain another closer chasing both B.J. Ryan and Trevor Hoffman in the off season but finally settled on bringing back Bob Wickman.

Outfielder Coco Crisp was sent to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Guillermo Mota (2-2 4.70). The Indians also sent reliever Arthur Rhodes to Philadelphia for outfielder Jason Michaels (.304 4 31), the probable replacement for Crisp as Cleveland's starting left fielder.

2006 Analysis:

The Indians did their best by addressing the free agent departures of Millwood and Elarton but the bottom of the rotation is still shaky. Paul Byrd should be a nice addition to the starting group. The Indians let Millwood go despite the fact that he posted one of the best ERAs in the league. Cleveland was somewhat disappointed in Millwood’s ability to win more games for them.  The workhorse bullpen expects to pick up right where it left off in 2005 with Arthur Rhodes (3-1 2.08), Fernando Cabrera (2-1 1.47), Scott Sauerbeck (1-0 4.04) and newcomer Guillermo Mota setting up closer Bob Wickman. The tribe should be primed for another title chase in 2006 if the starting pitching and bullpen can hold up. With an offense like the Indian’s it’s hard to count them out of anything – especially if Peralta can continue to improve at the plate in 2006.

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