The All-Star break is a great time for players to relax and recharge for a playoff push. It is also a great time for front offices to really begin exploring moves for that same push. And while there is plenty of discussion of potential bats and arms heading to the Tribe, the team really needs to talk about adding a glove.
The Indians currently lead the Majors with 76 errors and are on pace for 131 this season. Last year, en route to their first postseason appearance since 2007, Tribe fielders committed just 98 errors.
For comparison sake, the AL Central leading Tigers have just 57 defensive miscues. Our Battle of Ohio rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, lead the Majors with a measly 41 errors on the year. The Major League average is 56.
And while Terry Francona and his coaches have a number of issues to worry about, just how big of a concern are the errors? Since the turn of the century, only three of the 14 World Series winners have had error counts greater than the league average.
Those teams, the 2004 Red Sox, the 2011 Cardinals, and the 2012 San Francisco Giants, also shared another distinction: they were all above average in runs per game. The 2004 Sox scored 5.86 R/G in the regular season, tops in the league, and well above the league average of 4.81. In 2011, the Cardinals were not much off the league best 5.40, scoring 4.70 runs per game. The 2012 Giants averaged 4.43 R/G.
Currently, the 2014 Cleveland Indians are averaging 4.44 R/G, above the league average of 4.14 and not too far off the pace of the Angel’s league leading 5.09 runs per game. While this is certainly good news in terms of the Tribe overcoming their defensive shortcomings, the team would still certainly benefit from the acquisition of a glove.
The 2011 World Series Champion Cardinals committed 116 regular season errors and earned a surprising Wild Card berth on the final day of the season. The team broke camp with Ryan Theriot as their starting shortstop. In 2011, Theriot booted 17 balls. Many of those errors were before the trade deadline when the Cards traded for sure-handed fielder Rafael Furcal. A Tribe upgrade at both SS and 3B would seemingly make a lot of sense, and with Lindor knocking at the door, moving Cabrera is certainly an option. Cabrera currently leads the Indians with 14 errors; Chisenhall is right on his heels with 13.
Another high error World Series winner was the 2012 San Francisco Giants. This team also made some big improvements just after the All-Star game, acquiring Marco Scutaro from the Rockies and Hunter Pence from the Phillies. Both of these players contributed mightily with their gloves, but, possibly more importantly for the Giant’s run, also with their bats.
Both the Cardinals and Giants started to examine their roster and make the necessary improvements about this time of the year. With urgency, the Indians need to use these teams as an example. And while their hitters are currently hitting, in order for the club to steal some extra wins, they must stop throwing away so many games. Based on recent history, expect to see some changes in the field, and quite probably, with faces that are not currently on the 25 man roster.
Remember, as the 2014 Trade Deadline approaches, stick with Wahoo’s On First for the latest rumors and Tribe-related moves.
|Year||League Average||World Series Winner||World Series Loser|
|2000||115 errors||Yankees, 109 errors||Mets, 118 errors|
|2001||112 errors||Diamondbacks, 84 errors||Yankees, 109 errors|
|2002||108 errors||Angels, 87 errors||Giants, 90 errors|
|2003||106 errors||Marlins, 78 errors||Yankees, 114 errors|
|2004||106 errors||Red Sox, 118 errors||Cardinals, 97 errors|
|2005||102 errors||White Sox, 94 errors||Astros, 89 errors|
|2006||102 errors||Cardinals, 98 errors||Tigers, 106 errors|
|2007||100 errors||Red Sox, 81 errors||Rockies, 68 errors|
|2008||99 errors||Phillies, 90 errors||Rays, 90 errors|
|2009||95 errors||Yankees, 86 errors||Phillies, 76 errors|
|2010||101 errors||Giants, 73 errors||Rangers, 105 errors|
|2011||102 errors||Cardinals, 116 errors||Rangers, 114 errors|
|2012||100 errors||Giants, 115 errors||Tigers, 99 errors|
|2013||92 errors||Red Sox, 80 errors||Cardinals, 75 errors|