Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:55 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
In the 90s, the Indians welcomed a new ballpark with a cast of homegrown talent and twice used that to go all the way to the World Series, losing to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in 1997. A core of Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Charles Nagy, Paul Shuey, Jaret Wright, Julian Tavarez and more helped that Cleveland team become a power in the middle part of the decade before the pieces moved on. Thome went to Philadelphia, Ramirez to Boston and others dispersed or saw their skills diminish as the window of opportunity passed. The current Indians saw the start of a new influx of talent in 2011 with the likes of Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, but more talent needs to come out of the system for the Indians to continue the promise of the first half of the 2011 season. The franchise has shown smart drafting and good development can get them to October baseball, and that it's the best way for a team of their means to get there -- and return.
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Marco Scutaro, SS
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, 1B
6. Luke Scott, LF
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
8. Ben Francisco, RF
9. Jose Constanza, CF
1. CC Sabathia
2. Fausto Carmona
3. Jeremy Guthrie
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Josh Tomlin
Closer - Vinnie Pestano
Set up - Tony Sipp, Aaron Laffey, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Rafael Perez, Brian Tallet
Notable Bench Players
There are some bit pieces, but not too much overwhelming talent coming off the bench. The best pieces are Maicer Izturis, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Russell Branyan.
This team could put up some runs, with a heart of the order featuring Martinez, Thome, Peralta and Scott, that's for sure. You've also got Sabathia leading the staff, and as the Yankees showed this past season, that can be enough to win the toughest division in baseball. Carmona is inconsistent, but still has a live arm, while Guthrie could thrive in a new environment and Colon proved he still has a little something in the tank during his 2011 season in New York.
Even if this Indians staff is a slight bump up from the Yankees' of 2011, the bullpen is a step down -- and the bullpen was one of the big reasons New York was able to win with a rotation featuring Sabathia and prayers for rain. The bench here is also thin.
Comparison to real 2011
The Indians were one of the feel-good stories for much of 2011, leading the American League Central for most of the first half of the season before fading and finishing the season 80-82. This hypothetical team has a better offense, better starting pitching and a worse bullpen. It's in no way a complete team, but it would have a chance at a winning record. The Tigers finished 95-67, well ahead of anyone else in the division. No, this Cleveland team wouldn't challenge the Tigers, but it would likely be better than the real 2011 Indians.
Next: Miami Marlins
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Tags: Aaron Laffey, AL Central, Albert Belle, Bartolo Colon, Ben Francisco, Brian Tallet, CC Sabathia, Charles Nagy, Danys Baez, Edward Mujica, Fausto Carmona, Indians, Jaret Wright, Jason Kipnis, Jeremy Guthrie, Jhonny Peralta, Jim Thome, Jose Constanza, Josh Tomlin, Julian Tavarez, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Lonnie Chisenhall, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Manny Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, Paul Shuey, Rafael Perez, Russell Branyan, Tony Sipp, Victor Martinez, Vinnie Pestano
Posted on: November 12, 2010 10:16 am
The Indians have talked to free-agent right-hander Jake Westbrook about returning to Cleveland, the Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes writes .
However, a return to Cleveland seems unlikely, as new Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has been given the charge of cutting payroll from $61.5 million at the start of 2010 to somewhere between $40-$50 million.
The Indians are committed to $26.6 million to three players for 2011 -- Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona and have six players eligible for arbitration -- Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jensen Lewis, Chris Perez, Rafael Perez and Joe Smith.
If the Indians tender contracts to all six, well, it'll be interesting if they have enough money to fill out the rest of their roster, much less sign a free agent pitcher who is looking for a two-year deal. Westbrook has reportedly turned down a one-year offer from the Cardinals.
The Denver Post 's Troy Renck says the Rockies are interested in Westbrook, as well.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.