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Cleveland Indians: New Year, New Team

Cleveland Indians: New Year, New Team Image via SportsGraphics36


Cleveland Indians

Last season, the Cleveland Indians finished first in the AL Central for the first time since 2007 with a record of 94-67 and went to the World Series falling short in Game 7. The Indians are looking to continue being in contention for the World Series again in 2017. In order to improve the team for the 2017 season, the Indians have made some deals and will be ready to compete in 2017 with a new team.

Off-Season Moves:

Former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year deal worth $60 million with a fourth year club option for the 2020 season. The fourth year club option includes $20 million or a $5 million buyout.

Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion – Photo:Kieth Allison – Via – Flickr

Encarnacion will likely replace Mike Napoli as the teams DH for the 2017 season and will probably play some games at first base as well. Encarnacion finished last season with a batting line of .263 AVG./.357 OBP/.529 SLG with 42 home runs and 127 RBI’s. All of those stats listed were higher than that of Mike Napoli last season so it seems the Blue Jays have scored an upgrade at the DH spot.

The 33-year-old slugger will look to keep the Cleveland Indians in playoff contention in 2017, and if there is one thing Encarnacion has been over the past three seasons it would be consistent. Encarnacion has averaged 39 home runs and 110 RBI’s since 2012. It is also important to note that over the past five seasons Encarnacion has hit 193 long balls which is second only to Chris Davis (197).

The Indians also made two more moves that were not in the spotlight this off-season, the Tribe signed first baseman Chris Colabello to a minor league contract on December 20th. Colabello’s stint in the minors during 2015 was pretty impressive. He produced a batting line of .321 AVG/.367 OBP/.520 SLG with 15 home runs and 19 doubles. However, he only played 10 games with Toronto last season where he hit for a .180 batting average. This is likely just a move for the Indians to see if Colabello can get back to producing the numbers he did during his stint in Triple-A.

The other move made was a trade for pitcher Nick Goody. Goody was sent to the Indians for a player to be named later. Goody is 25 years old and pitched 27 games for the New York Yankees last year. He pitched 29 innings and finished with a 4.66 ERA and 34 strikeouts. Nick Goody was originally designated for assignment in order to make room for Aroldis Chapman but this trade will allow Goody to get more major league experience.

Expectations For 2017:

The Cleveland Indians will obviously be looking to succeed where they fell short last year, the World Series. The Tribe lost in Game 7 of the World Series last year and that will only drive them to succeed this year. Cleveland will have a good chance of being successful again in 2017 as there were only minor losses from their roster.

Michael Brantley

Michael Brantley – Photo: Keith Allison – Via – Flickr

The players that the Indians lost to free agency were Rajai Davis, Mike Napoli, Coco Crisp, Marlon Byrd and Jeff Manship. The biggest loss here is outfielder Rajai Davis, but the Indian’s still have a fairly strong outfield with Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall. Plus, if Michael Brantley can stay healthy in 2017, the Tribe should have no problem in the outfield.

Napoli’s DH spot has already been taken care of with the signing of slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and the signing of Nick Goody will help add depth to their bullpen.  However, due to the loss of relief pitcher Jeff Manship expect the tribe to make another deal for a relief pitcher in order to solidify their bullpen for the 2017 season.

The Indians will likely battle it out with the Detroit Tigers and maybe the Kansas City Royals for the AL Central crown this season as the Chicago White Sox have started a rebuild and the Minnesota Twins also find themselves amidst a rebuild.


Cleveland has had a productive off-season so far by signing Edwin Encarnacion and the addition of Nick Goody. Given that most of the talent is still on the roster, the Indians will be striving for the World Series once again. Last season, Cleveland had many injuries throughout the regular season and even with all the injuries they still managed to take the American League crown and almost pulled out a World Series title.

The Indians still have a strong infield being held down by Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis that, coupled with their strong starting rotation, puts Cleveland in a good spot for 2017.

If Cleveland stays healthy this season then the roster should only get stronger. Look for Cleveland to add to their already excellent bullpen in order to add the finishing touches to what they hope is a World Series winning team.