With Christmas just four days away and the Mayan-predicted apocalypse scheduled to begin any minute now, ’tis the season to make dreams come true. So in this edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked our contributors (featuring guest panelists Craig Lyndall from WaitingForNextYear and Steve Eby from Did the Tribe Win Last Night?): What (or who) is at the top of your wish list for the Indians? Here’s what we all had to say:
Craig Lyndall (WaitingForNextYear): It’s silly because it’s something the Indians are working on, and I know it would be much more “baseball” to say another starting pitcher, but I’m going to say Nick Swisher. I know he might not end up being the best investment, but if he can stay healthy and moderately productive, I’d just love to have a “solution” in the outfield for a known period of time. We haven’t been able to watch a left fielder consistently in a long time, and right field has been a waiting game because of Choo’s agent. It would be nice to just have the answer to that question for a bit. I’m sure I will end up eating my words now. Such is life.
Steve Eby (Did the Tribe Win Last Night?): My Indians wish list is pretty simple…I wish that the Indians would win a World Series. It doesn’t matter to me how it happens or how they do it, it’s pretty much the only thing I want from them. If they build a yearly contender that’s great, or if they build a ’97 Marlins “one year wonder” team I’m ok with that too. Just get it done.
Winning the World Series is all I ever wish for. I’ve wasted loads of pennies throwing them into the wishing fountains at the mall. Every birthday wish I can ever remember has not come true. Maybe posting it in a blog will work. Or maybe I need to start looking for shooting stars or something.
Evan Vogel: What is on my wish list for the Indians? After dealing Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati, the Indians could really use a leadoff hitter. During one of our weekly hundred-email-long staff chats, Lewie reiterated his prior love of Peter Bourjos. I really had no interest in that because the team would have a lack of offensive production from the outfield corners (though, the outfield defense would be fantastic!), as neither Bourjos or Michael Brantley are power-hitting, offensive forces. While the Indians could probably get Bourjos for Chris Perez, Justin Masterson, or Ubaldo Jimenez, his .276 OBP out of the leadoff spot in his career is rather pedestrian.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any options on the free agent market at this point who could really upgrade the team’s leadoff position in areas of need for the Tribe. Drew Stubbs may get a shot there, even after posting a career .320 OBP in 775 at-bats in the No. 1 spot, or the team could turn to Jason Kipnis, who has a career .335 OBP, but a .281 OBP in 97 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter.
It would be great if the team could upgrade by acquiring someone like Leonys Martin from the Rangers for Masterson, as Texas looks for pitching help. Again, it wouldn’t help the power production, but Martin did post a .422 OBP for Triple-A Round Rock in 2012. With an upgrade at the leadoff spot, the Indians lineup looks pretty solid—and that’s without Nick Swisher, who would be another addition to the wish list.
Jeff Mount: My wish is to draw two million next year, because until that happens none of the other wish lists will come true.
Brian Heise: Since this is a “wish list” I’m going to go to a radical extreme because the following was my wish when I was 12 and it’ll be my wish until the day I die. If the Indians could get any one player it would have to be Ken Griffey, Jr., the original Seattle version. I know this is impossible, but if we’re throwing out random wishes why can’t I wish for that? If it means I have to buy a DeLorean, spend the next 30 yrs of my life inventing the flux capacitor, and then traveling back in time to bring him to the future, then damnit… I’ll do it.
How awesome would it be to have a 24-year-old Ken Griffey, Jr. batting third and manning center for the Indians this season and beyond? You’re drooling at the thought. Admit it. It’s a great idea. Now if you’ll excuse me, cue up some Huey Lewis and the News. I have to start searching eBay for a used DeLorean.
Lewie Pollis: What’s on my wish list? Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, and Omar Vizquel back in Cleveland uniforms. I don’t care if Thome is old or if Vizquel just retired or if Lofton hasn’t played professional baseball in five years—write their names in the lineup. Or create coaching jobs for them and let Vizquel and Lofton take reps in the field before every game. I don’t care what the pretense is as long as I get to cheer for them again.
The greatest Indians moment I have ever personally witnessed was the home run Jim Thome hit two games after being traded to Cleveland last year. Give me that opportunity again and I won’t care that the world is ending today.
Ed Carroll: My wish for the Indians this offseason was a fairly specific enough one as is; I wanted the team to acquire an impact starting pitcher or someone with the potential to be one. The Indians went out and got exactly the guy I was thinking of when they acquired Trevor Bauer last week.
There are questions about Bauer’s makeup, enough that do make me question why Arizona was willing to sell him for even less than I thought the Indians would have to give up (yes, technically the Reds sent Didi Gregorius to Arizona, but losing Shin-Soo Choo to facilitate the deal was a far easier pill to swallow than say, Asdrubal Cabrera, whom I fully expected to be a Diamondback if Bauer were to come to Cleveland). But there are no questions about Bauer’s talent, and the Indians have six years of team control to work with him.
I don’t expect the team to be done with their offseason moves, but the acquisition of Bauer was the type of bold thinking I had been hoping to see out of the Tribe for a couple years now, thus I’m kinda cool with however the rest of the offseason goes. So, I already got what I wanted. Indians fans may not see my wish manifest in 2013, but I fully expect Trevor Bauer to be an impact pitcher before his time in Cleveland is done.
Merritt Rohlfing: I couldn’t decide whether to answer this based on what I wish for 2013 or further down the road, because the answer is different, though in the same direction. For next year I want a playoff berth. Further down the line, I’d like to see a championship. Say, in the next five years.
The way the front office is working now that it’s out from under the weight of the
Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez, Grady Sizemore, and Travis Hafner contracts and seems to have things breaking its way (we’ll see how the Swisher contract negotiations go) this seems like a real possibility. It’s amazing to think, especially with how the last few years and the month of August went. I can only hope that experience was a “learning how to win” rather than just being terrible. Cleveland could reach the playoffs this year though, if things break right, people like Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis progress well and the pitching isn’t quite so bad. It’d be hard to, but who knows. I’m in this for titles in the long run though, so that’s what I want. Happy Festivus, everyone.
Katrina Putnam: The player currently at the top of my Tribe wish list is Nick Swisher. They don’t need anything else quite as badly as they need a right fielder with a powerful bat, and Swisher is the answer to that problem. I also think he will draw a lot of fans to the ballpark, since he’s the closest thing to a star free agent that they’ve signed in a very long time. Right now, the rumors seem to be pointing towards a choice between the Rangers or the Indians, so hopefully he’ll give Cleveland a great Christmas gift and sign here…soon. He might not be capable of carrying the team to the playoffs, but from the perspective of someone who wants to compete in 2013, he’s a big step in the right direction.
Steve Kinsella: The top of my wish list for the 2013 Indians is rather simple. I want a team that plays hard everyday and doesn’t beat itself. I want lead runners thrown out, extra bases limited, fly balls in the gaps tracked down, balls that bounce in front of the plate blocked, and the most basic of balls in play to be turned into outs. I want players to get on base and a fair amount of home runs generated throughout the lineup. I want base runners who understand when to take the extra base and when to hold up, I want high stolen base percentages, and I want the lineup to turn opportunities (like bases loaded less than 2 out) into runs. Seeing a strict adherence to the fundamentals of baseball would give me great hope for the future.