The Indians have been busy this offseason, so before they make another move (Nick Swisher?) let’s take a look at what some of the moves mean for the Tribe in 2013. Here are four key takeaways – both good and bad – from the offseason moves thus far.

1. Drew Stubbs solves nothing
Drew Stubbs swing 2Stubbs is a former prospect (featured on Baseball America’s top 100 list in 2007 and 2008) who simply failed to develop in Cincinnati. Early in his career he drew some comparisons to Grady Sizemore. Unfortunately, he ended up turning into the post-injuries Sizemore and now that he’s already 28 years old it’s probably all downhill from here.

Grady Sizemore since 2009: .234 BA, .314 OBP, .413 Slug Pct
Drew Stubbs since 2009:  .241 BA, .312 OBP, .386 Slug Pct

Putting up with Stubbs ineptitude at the plate would be one thing if he added value in the outfield, but he has proven to be an average fielder at best. Over the past three seasons, Stubbs ranked 22nd out of 40 qualifying center fielders in defensive runs saved. To be fair, he’s a signfiicant upgrade over Michael Brantley, who ranks 36th, but if the Indians wanted to simply upgrade the defense Ezequiel Carrera was available any time they wanted to give him the nod.

2. Bryan Shaw makes Chris Perez expendable
As an overpaid, middle-of-the-road closer, Perez was already expendable. But the addition of  Shaw may ease their concerns about trading him. Vinnie Pestano is more than capable of taking over the 9th-inning duties, which would open the door for Shaw and Joe Smith to handle the 7th and 8th.

Shaw isn’t anything special, but he’s 25 and coming off two solid years in the Arizona bullpen. He relies heavily on his cutter (he threw it 79 percent of the time last year) and while he isn’t your typical power pitcher in the back end of the bullpen, he throws strikes and keeps the ball in the park.

The one concern with Shaw may be his inability to handle lefties. In 2011, lefties hit .333 with a .863 OPS against Shaw. This is where Scott Barnes and Nick Hagadone come into the picture. Lefties hit an even .200 against each southpaw in 2012, giving Terry Francona plenty of options for juggling his relievers.

3. The Indians will set MLB’s strikeout record
There will be no shortage of strikeouts at Progressive Field in 2013. The current record is 1,529, set by the 2010 Diamondbacks (starring Mark Reynolds) and the Indians should have no problem approaching that mark if Reynolds and Stubbs stay healthy.

Both Reynolds and Stubbs have at least one 200-strikeout year under their belt and should have no problem combining for over 400 on their own. That would put the Tribe more than one-fourth of the way to the record with just two players. And if the Indians add Nick Swisher that tacks on another 125+ strikeouts to the total.

Let’s take a look at what the Tribe’s starting nine could look like with projected strikeout totals.

Asdrubal Cabrera – 100
Jason Kipnis – 110
Carlos Santana – 115
Mark Reynolds – 210
Nick Swisher – 135
Lonnie Chisenhall –  90
Michael Brantley – 50
Drew Stubbs – 190
Ezequiel Carrera – 75

That brings them to 1,075 without even factoring in the bench. So while this year’s lineup could be far more exciting to watch, mentally prepare yourself for the days where they look like overmatched little leaguers. A Justin Verlander 18-strikeout performance is a definite possibility against this lineup.

4. Trevor Bauer could be devastating against righties… or not
We only have a small sample size to evaluate Bauer in the major leagues, but there are some encouraging signs. The good news is that of the 40 righties he faced in 2012, he struck out 10 of them. The bad news is that he also walked nine.

I’ll chose to look on the bright side with those numbers, however, since it’s not uncommon for young pitchers to struggle with control. As he matures in his approach, he’ll hopefully improve his ability to keep the ball in the zone while maintaining his impressive strikeout numbers.


  • Chris Burnham says:

    One bit of good news: We will likely be the most comfortable open-air stadium during the summer months with all the cool breezes that Reynolds, Stubbs and Santana will provide.

  • WAKE UP PEOPLE says:

    i know my response has nothing to do with ur great article…but im mad today and need to vent…tv money and greedy owners have ruined mlb…it makes me sick to watch the big markets take all the good players away from us mid western cities…i dont understand why the majority doesnt put an end to this…stop letting them do this!its time we made a stand to take the game back…baseball as we knew it is over…the 1994 world series should have been the expos vs the indians…but greed and tv money/rights wouldnt let that happen! im sooo tired of watching the bigs like NY,LA,CHIC,DALLAS,BOSTON…buy all the good players…all the mid market teams get is 6 yrs of service time before they THE BIG MARKETS take are all-stars/fun away from us! please people do some research and stop this crap from happening…if we all band together…we can make it happen!MLB SHOULD TAKE A LESSON FROM THE NFL…THE WHOLE COUNTRY FEELS LIKE THEY HAVE A FIGHTING CHANCE…THATS WHY ITS THE MOST POULAR…JUST ASK PITTSPUKE OR GREEN BAY…THEYRE MID MARKETS THAT FEEL LIKE EVERY YEAR THEY HAVE A CHANCE…BUT IN MLB EVEN THO THOSE MARKETS HAVE 2 OF THE BEST PLAYERS IN BRAUN AND MCOUTCHEN…THEY CANT INVEST THEYRE HEART…CUZ THEY KNOW THOSE PLAYERS WILL LEAVE THOSE MID MARKETS FOR THE BIGS LIKE NY,LA,CHIC,DALLAS,BOSTON!

  • Jeremy C says:

    Hope he will keep the ball in the strike zone? He started four games in the majors… How can you take away anything from that

  • Ryan McCrystal says:

    During the month that Bauer was in the majors he led all of baseball with 7.2 BB/9… so it may be a small sample size, but it’s a REALLY bad small sample size. If nothing else, it makes you wonder if he’s ready for the majors.

  • Steve Alex says:

    Bauer is only 21. Maybe he was rushed. Antonetti said he probably needs more development time. I wouldn’t expect to see him break camp with the team, especially if they add a veteran starter in free agency. They’ll want to wait until the Super Two deadline in May before they bring him up anyway, in order to keep his service time in check.

  • Swift says:

    Maybe someone can explain to me how Mark Reynolds is better than Casey Kotchman. I don’t have all the stats in front of me, but it seems we got about the same defense, a little improvement in batting average (from horrible to bad) and 20 more homeruns, for a whole heck lot more strikeouts and a few million dollars. Or am I missing something?

    • Portland Reign says:

      I think the idea is that they are going year-to-year and trying to find a bat at first base- one that will have decent fielding, hit a few HR with a decent average costs way too much. The idea behind this pick up is to see if they can get the 40 HR guy he was a few years ago. If he starts sucking (probably so) they have a couple young guys in the minors they can give a cup of coffee to if needed. Basically, it is all about rekindling the old Reynolds. Kotchman has no upside-but is alot cheaper.
      My question: they went out and got several players over the last few years who can play first base (Canzler, McDade, McGuiness) so why not give them a shot until Jesus Aguilar is ready?