Thursday, October 19, 2017
The Cleveland Indians came off a World Series berth in 2016 and came into 2017 as favorites to go back to the fall classic. The 2017 season was a historic one for the Indians as it was only the third time the franchise reached the 100 win mark and set an AL record 22 game win streak. Unfortunately despite all the accolades and some great individual performances, Cleveland once again could not come away with a World Series and were outed in 5 games against the New York Yankees in the Divisional Series. With that said, here are 5 things the Indians need to do for the 2018 season.
1. Go After Another Potential Starter In The Offseason
The Cleveland Indians appear to bet set with 1, 2, 3 parts of the rotation, (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer), but the 4 and 5 spots are not necessarily locked. While John Tomlin had a remarkable 2nd half in 2017 and Danny Salazar along with Mike Clevinger provide good competition, you can never have enough pitching. They may need to find someone who needs a change of scenery like Scott Kazmir did in 2013 or a veteran who can provide both depth and experience. Perhaps Jake Arrieta, but only if Cleveland is willing to shell out some cash.
2. Get Another Bat
Cleveland got Edwin Encarnacion to solidify the cleanup spot for the near future. However, having another powerful bat in the lineup that also drives in runs is essential as evident as the New York Yankees showcased in the divisional series. As mentioned above, you can never have enough good pitching, but baseball seems to become a hitters game as of late, so adding another solid bat to the line up is a must. Perhaps Melky Cabrera or Curtis Granderson could be options if the Indians can not re-sign Jay Bruce.
3. "Youth Movement"
You're probably thinking "But they are not in a rebuild mode!" Cleveland has enough talent to make it to the playoffs but now they need to start bringing some of the guys in the system to provide depth and give them experience along with a shot of young life to the roster. With Carlos Santana's status up in the air, and possibly as well as Lonnie Chinsenhall's, it is time to start playing Greg Allen, Yandy Diaz, and Francisco Mejia on a regular basis and get them some reps.
4. A New Look
This kind of expands a bit on the previous point, but in many scenarios. It is possible it is time to part ways with Carlos Santana and dare I say even Michael Brantley (who has had issues staying healthy the past two years) and bring up the young talent like I mentioned above. It could also mean with Mejia emerging, that maybe Yan Gomes or maybe Roberto Perez could be replaced. Also, the Indians will need to make moves and or let people go in order to retain Francisco Lindor for the long-term future. Along with going after other potential free agents targets whether it be pitching or batting, money is going to be key and the Indians will probably need to make some moves in order for the roster to be filled accordingly.
5. Terry Francona Must Remain Head Coach For The Forseeable Future
Terry Francona has two World Series rings and is a sure hall of famer. Despite not living up to this years expectations, (even with 100+ wins and the obtaining the AL win streak record) Francona now has the task of humbling his players after leading them to a World Series berth just a year prior. If anyone can do it, it is Francona! He has already turned the club around in a short period of time and and with Cleveland being in a "win now" mode, not keeping him around for the near future would put the Indians back to square one and a potential rebuild.
BONUS! Keep the Chief Wahoo logo
Nothing more needs to be said, the headline says it all!
Friday, October 6, 2017
Hard to believe were are already a quarter of the way through the 2017 season. And while a main topic and focal point for this season so far has unfortunately been politicized, lets take a look at some of the players and teams who are off to a great start and those who have hit a speed bump and need to get back on a smooth path.
The G.O.A.T continues to age like fine wine! After a rough start in Week 1, Brady has so far compiled and leads the league with 1,702 yards through the air and has 11 touchdowns and only 1 interception (this is including their 5th game they played on Thursday). While the Patriots are not quite playing as a whole as many expected entering the season, Tom Brady continues to prove that age is just a number.
Going from young to old, Kareem Hunt is living up to expectations and proving himself as an elite NFL caliber player. Only a rookie, Hunt leads the league in rushing yards thus far with 502 yards and has 4 touchdowns to go along with his season totals. Hunt has done a nice job taking over the reigns that current Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles was doing when he was healthy in Kansas City. Safe to say that Hunt has been a key part to Kansas City's early season success
Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of Kansas City, they are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now and the only undefeated team left. On opening night they got pressure on Tom Brady and would not allow him to get into a groove as he barely completed 50 percent of his passes and had no touchdown passes. Combined with an offense that leads the league in rushing yards (thanks in large part to Kareem Hunt) and a sound defense that is 2nd in the league with forced fumbles (6), the Chiefs are sitting pretty and hope to keep this momentum up moving forward throughout the rest of the season.
Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott
After tremendous rookie campaigns, both Dallas Cowboys stars, Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott have seemingly been plagued with the "sophomore slump." Elliot (who has been dealing with off the field issues as well) only has 277 yards on the ground, which is still good for 9th best currently in the league. But at just 3.6 yards a carry, this a concern for the Cowboys. As for Prescott, he's been about average (ranks 15th in passing yards and has 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions). If Elliot and Prescott want to turn their seasons around, it's going to have to be now especially with Green Bay coming into town. And with the heartbreak the Packers caused for the Cowboys last year in the playoffs, One would think they have a chip on their shoulder.
Say what!?!? You have arguably Tom Brady's number one go to guy (outside of Gronkowski) as a dud? Allow me to explain. After so much success as Drew Brees number one target and coming over to New England, I thought Cooks would lighting up the score and stat sheets. Yes he is third right now in receiving yards, but only has two receiving touchdowns to show for it. In my opinion, I think he has under performed a bit considering all the hype and talk about how being Brady's new go to guy would have him putting up huge numbers.
Considered a Super Bowl contender by some as well as a favorite to win the AFC West, the Oakland Raiders now find themselves at 2-2 after winning their first two games. What's troublesome is that Derek Carr went down with an injury and there's no telling how serious it may be or how much effect it could cause Carr should it linger. But if Carr isn't 100% we already know that this is a complete different Raiders team without him as evident as last year's AFC Wild Card round loss to the Houston Patriots.
So those are my studs and duds thus far for the 2017 season. Feel free to let me know what you think and who some of your studs and duds are as of right now!
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