Orioles and Indians Q&A
By Editorial Staff
I was recently contacted by someone from a site, Did the Tribe Win Last Night, asking me to answer a few questions about the Orioles and to ask a few about the Indians. He told me he runs a feature on his site with this little Q&A with a writer for every team in MLB. I really like this idea and am considering doing it myself with writers at FanSided. So, let’s just consider this the first of many.
We asked each other five questions and here’s what I got from him.
1. What is the biggest factor in the Indians huge turn around from last season? Were you expecting it?
"Personally, I am as optimistic as they come here in good old Cleveland. I envisioned a season right around .500 and third place in the AL Central. I was right about the record and the Tribe got lucky and earned a second place finish behind the division champion, Tigers. The first three months of the season were just gravy for the fans and it hurt as they fell apart down the stretch, but no one saw that great start coming and if they say they did, well, they are more of a homer than I am."
2. Who is your ideal candidate to replace Grady Sizemore? Who do you think will replace him? Are you sad he’s gone or did you think it was his time?
"Michael Brantley, assuming he gets a clean bill of health at the outset of Spring Training, will be manning the center field grass at Progressive Field in 2012. Not only is Brantley a great defensive player but he will also be able to hold down the leadoff spot in the batting order, as well as swipe some bases when the situation allows. While he doesn’t have the power that Sizemore had, his plate discipline is much better and he will strike out a lot less. I am going to miss Grady, but we could be jumping ahead of ourselves thinking he is really gone. It’s my opinion that the Indians will do what they can to keep Sizemore on the team, they just did not want to pay him the $9 million option that they had on him. There are too many injury concerns to give Sizemore that kind of money. I expect the Tribe to offer him a decent base salary with lots of performance based incentives."
To see the other discussions and the Q&A on the Orioles in which we discuss Showalter, Duquette, Adam Jones, and pitching, read after the jump!
3. The Indians had a pretty poor offense last season. Do you think Pujols or Fielder are possible future Indians? Who else do you think the Indians could go after to get some more run support for next season?
"Inserting either one of those superstars into the Indians lineup will make an impact that we haven’t seen in Cleveland since Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome were all together during the 1995 season. While I think ownership will make an “effort” to go after these two guys, I have a feeling it may just be a show for the fans. I’m not confident that the Dolan’s will want to pay one player a third of the team’s total salary for 2012 and both Fielder (who I would rather have) and Pujols (who I would not be upset about getting) will command $25 Million+ per year for at least the next four seasons, if not longer. Other options the Indians will look at are players like Lance Berkman. I think their biggest mistake was not trying to get Hunter Pence a lot harder when he ended up going to Philly."
4. How do you feel about the Derek Lowe acquisition? Do you think he will be an asset to the rotation or end up doing damage?
"I love the Derek Lowe pickup. That move has low risk/high reward potential written all over it. The man is a work horse and will fit in great with the Indians rotation. The best part about it is that Lowe will not be expected to carry the top of the rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez will be the opening day starter, barring any drastic injuries with Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson (or vice versa) carrying the two and three spots. Lowe will probably be slotted as the number four starter with Josh Tomlin, David Huff or another young arm will anchor the rotation. As long as Jimenez and Carmona can get in the form that made them both aces at one time, I am very confident in the things this rotation can do."
5. How do you think the 2012 season will go for the Indians? Will they make the playoffs?
"For the 2012 season to be a success, a playoff spot must be earned. There is no reason this team shouldn’t make leaps and bounds from where they were in 2011. The likelihood that the Tribe will see the amount of injuries that did them in this past season is extremely low. They are going to find a first baseman to take the place of Matt LaPorta, they have a good, talented, young infield that will compete defensively and offensively every single game and they have the type of bullpen that holds a pitching staff together for 162 games. The eternal optimist in my says they win it all in 2012, but realistically, I see them losing in the playoffs, most likely in the first round. Either way, 2012 is going to be a lot of fun for the fans of Cleveland!"
He also asked me five questions on the Orioles.
1. Buck Showalter brought some great signs of life to Baltimore at the end of the 2010 season that seemed to translate for awhile in 2011 as the Orioles flirted with .500 well into the month of June. What does Showalter have to do to really get this team moving in the right direction and back into contention in one of the toughest divisions in baseball?
"I honestly have no clue. I think the reason he was so successful at the end of 2010 is because the team was hyped up and excited. They went out there and played the game they love and were excited about having a new manager. Then they started last season off really well and played a great September and half of August. At the end of the season, they knew they had nothing to play for so they just went out there and had fun. I think Showalter is so detail-oriented and micro-managing that he takes the fun out of it sometimes. Obviously the pitching needs to get better before anything can happen but I think he needs to just relax a little and encourage the guys to play hard all season."
2. The Orioles finally found their new GM in Dan Duquette who has been out of the game for nine years. Is he the man to end the 14 year sub .500 streak that has plagued Baltimore since their trip to the playoffs in 1997? Where does he start?
"This answer won’t be known for a couple years. I’m definitely relieved that they found a guy who has a ton of experience and the background in scouting, player development, and international markets. Those are the biggest needs for the O’s. However, I still see the Orioles having another 3-5 losing seasons before anything happens. The problem I have with Duquette is he’s the same as the old GM, MacPhail. He’s all about building pitchers and players from the minor league up. The Orioles minor league system is a disaster so this is necessary but 4 of the 5 starting rotation from April of last season was homegrown by MacPhail and look how that turned out."
To read the rest of our Q&A on the Orioles, read the article here and for more on the Indians, visit his site Did the Tribe Win Last Night!