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The Top 10 Cleveland Indians Stories of 2012

With 2012 now firmly in the rearview mirror, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the top Indians stories of 2012. Below are the 10 most popular Wahoo’s on First posts of the year!

Last week, 20 Cleveland Indians writers from six different websites and media outlets took part in a survey to reflect on the 2012 season and look ahead to the offseason and beyond. We’ve already released our player awards for the 2012 Indiansour thoughts on the organization’s direction and philosophyour predictions for which players will be gone by Opening Day 2013, and our projections for how the Tribe will fare over the next several seasons. Today, we reveal the final portion of the results.

Losing Choo is rough. He’s been one of my favorite players since he first came to Cleveland in 2006 (yes, I liked him before it was cool) and with apologies to Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez he’s been the face of the franchise for at least two years now. But sentimentality aside, this was a fantastic trade and it’s incredible that Chris Antonetti was able to pull it off.

The post-George Steinbrenner Yankees are not the same fiscally irresponsible team of years past and President Randy Levine has made it clear that the team is going to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold by the 2014 season. The Yankees are very unlikely to commit to a large multiyear extension to a closer like Soriano, and they certainly will not pressure Rivera for an answer about his plans for 2013. Yet the Yankees definitely will not rely solely on in-house options like David RobertsonDavid Aardsma, or Joba Chamberlain to fill the ninth-inning vacancy.

One possible team that might be interested in Cabrera is the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics won their division in 2012 before losing to the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. Following such a strong season, the A’s will try to complement the players they already have, not rebuild their entire team. After trading Cliff Pennington to Arizona and declining Stephen Drew’s option, they lack a solid shortstop and need to find one before spring. Cabrera might be the solution the A’s are looking for.

If the Indians can swing a deal like this, it makes more sense to go for it in 2013 than to blow it up. With a little luck and a couple complementary parts, this is a contending team. If things go wrong you the rebuilding can start in June, but in the meantime let’s people a reason to buy some tickets in April and May.

We’re not talking about LeBron James or CC Sabathia, who had no attachment to Cleveland. (Sabathia, you may recall, refused to accept an extension the Indians could afford, then blasted the club for getting rid of him after he was traded.) We’re not even talking about Shin-Soo Choo, who has quietly made it clear that he’s looking forward to testing the free agent market, or Chris Perez, who’s been extremely vocal about his frustration with the fans. Foreign though the concept may seem to Tribe fans, Sizemore actually seems to care about the Indians.

Trading Choo while he still has a year and a half of team control would bring back memories of the Cliff Lee andVictor Martinez deals before the 2009 trade deadline. But it’s a different situation than it was three years ago. In 2009, management was under intense pressure to move Lee and Martinez for financial relief; this was no secret to other GMs, who used this to their advantage and gave the Indians less than they otherwise would have gotten in return. This time the ownership isn’t pushing management to move Choo, so Cleveland would get a better return.

Now that the Cleveland Indians have hired Terry Francona to manage their team it’s time for the new direction of the franchise to take shape. Certainly they will listen to offers on players like Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez, and Justin Masterson as they begin on their likely rebuilding project, but nobody on the current roster would be more valuable in a trade than shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.

Take a look at the current MLB attendance figures and there is clear cause for concern. To put it bluntly, the Indians’ attendance numbers suck. The Avengers could be occupying the first six spots in the lineup while Kate Upton dances on the dugouts in between innings and people would still find an excuse not to show up at Progressive Field. Despite the hot start and all the talk of what the 2012 season may hold, the Indians are once again struggling to lure fans down to the ballpark. For the second straight year, attendance woes are threatening to derail an otherwise successful start to a season.

If I were the Cleveland Indians General Manager, the team probably wouldn’t have gone 68-94 last year. More importantly, I know that something has to change besides the manager to really make a change to compete, especially now that the Detroit Tigers just signed Torii Hunter. So what would I do as GM? Here are three trade proposals that I would be picking up the phone to offer out on Day 1.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera Chris Perez Cleveland Indians Grady Sizemore Shin Soo Choo

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