David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

This Week on Wahoo's on First: Improving the Indians and Trading Terry Francona

It’s been another big week here at Wahoo’s on First! Here are the highlights to keep you tided over until the Winter Meetings start…

In our most popular article of the week, Merritt wondered if Cleveland could trade Terry Francona:

It’s time to forge a new path, even if it means unloading a really new piece of the long-term puzzle. Crazy isn’t a good policy, but every now and then the ordered, obvious path needs to be walked away from. Moving Terry Francona might just be crazy enough to work.

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Lewie argued that the Indians’ roster is too deep for them to improve much this winter:

Making a player transaction isn’t just adding a new player to a team, it’s replacing whoever held the lineup or rotation spot before. It’s easy to upgrade when you have an Achilles heel—even an average player can give his new employer two or three whole wins over a perennially overmatched predecessor. But when a team has respectable players across the board, it takes a star to make a real improvement. And players of that caliber tend to be out of the Tribe’s price range.

In this week’s Wroundtable, we debated whether the Indians should rebuild or build up for 2013:

Mike Brandyberry (Did The Tribe Win Last Night?): Considering the Indians haven’t won the lottery, and still have to live within the means of their $65 million payroll, I think they have no choice but to rebuild. The Indians’ downfall in 2012 was due to the collapse of their starting pitching, and unfortunately, that is the most expensive position in baseball to acquire through free agency or even trades. Since the Indians’ best players are arbitration eligible and headed toward free agency in the next two seasons, I’m not sure they have any choice but to try and rebuild.

Ever the optimist, Jeff came up with 10 reasons why now is the time for the Indians to go all in:

1. Up-the-middle strength. How many teams have two middle infielders and a catcher capable of hitting twenty home runs? We are as strong up the middle as any team in the division. That is the hardest part of building a contender. Compared to that, finding a left fielder and a first baseman should be easy.

Lewie offered some thoughts on Chris Antonetti’s quotes about not yet knowing what the team would do this winter:

That the organization is currently lacking a direction isn’t news. We knew that already. What we learned from this interview is that this isn’t intentional. That the front office knows it has some big decisions to make. That Antonetti isn’t planning to stand pat in an offseason in which inaction could set the team back years. That just because the Indians haven’t made any big moves yet doesn’t mean they aren’t going to.

Jeff also commented on Antonetti’s admission that the team has yet to find its offseason direction:

News flash: The other 29 clubs aren’t going to knock on your door and present you with moves that will improve your team. You have to figure out what you need and go get it. A large part of that is to figure it out before everyone else so you can identify opportunities before everyone else jumps on them and drives the price up. Bear in mind that figuring out how to make the team better is pretty much a general manager’s entire job.

Ed argued that the Indians should either make Lonnie Chisenhall their starting third baseman now or trade him:

Mind you, I don’t think contending in 2013 and giving Chisenhall a chance are mutually exclusive: the team very much could do both this year. But no matter what they do, the Indians have to commit to it. Play Chiz or trade him. Just don’t allow him to fade to irrelevance.

Brian mused on Sandy Alomar‘s future managerial career:

It appears as if Alomar has a plan in place for his future career as a manager that includes learning as much as he can from people that have being doing the job for years. He’s also not rushing into a job that is destined for failure just so he can say he finally got a managerial job. No offense to the Blue Jays or the Rockies, but what about their track records signals potential long-term success for any manager, let alone a rookie skipper? By waiting for the right job to come along, Alomar is increasing his chances for success, or even greatness.

Katrina expressed her confidence that Carlos Carrasco will make the Tribe’s 2013 rotation:

If Carrasco can turn into a reliable starter, some of the animosity Cleveland fans feel towards the deal might begin to fade. Unless he pitches terribly in spring training, the Indians will almost certainly give him an opportunity on the opening day roster. Luckily, he’s actually a deserving candidate for the job.

Finally, Brian introduced a new Wahoo’s on First series: monthly power rankings:

Basically, if you can debate the value, importance, or relevance of a group of things, you can arbitrarily place them in a list and assign a number value that somehow makes one better than the other. So, with the offseason in full swing, I present to you the December edition of the Cleveland Indians Power Rankings.

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