Acquiring Depth is Just as Important
So far this offseason the Indians have done very little in terms of anything significant. While everyone else around them seems to be making significant moves in order to get better, the Indians continue to pots along in the slow lane like meemaw on her way to church on Sunday. Many fans have grown tired of this taking it slow approach, but I’m here to assure you – It’ll be ok.
I know, watching the Mariners spend more than the GDP of a third world country on Robinson Cano and then position themselves to also acquire Logan Morrison and Corey Hart is hard to swallow. The Tigers signing Joe Nathan, ridding themselves of Prince Fielder‘s mammoth waist and contract, and acquiring an all-star second baseman in Ian Kinsler is a kick to a very sensitive area. Hell, even the A’s are spending money, the WHite Sox are wheeling and dealing, and the Royals are seemingly throwing caution to the wind in order to get over the hump. But again, I assure you – It’ll be ok.
Aug 19, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder David Murphy (7) drives in two runs on an error against the Houston Astros during the third inning of a baseball game at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Trust me, I understand your frustrations in regards to what the Indians are doing or not doing this offseason. While they’ve been linked to a handful of players in the free agent market, particularly closers, the lack of impact signings does little to instill confidence. But, if you take a step back, look at the few signings they have made, and analyze them objectively, it is clear to see that there is a very distinct plan in place. The Indians know what they’re doing.
The Indians realize where they are in the pecking order. They aren’t the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers. They can’t afford to throw caution to the wind. In other words, they can’t throw nine figures at any player or consider committing upwards of ten years to anybody. We saw how signing Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore to large extensions ultimately crippled them financially. They’ve learned from those mistakes and clearly will not get into a situation where they are stuck with contracts that cannot be moved.
What this tells us is that the signings they have made – David Murphy, David Cooper, Matt Carson, Tyler Cloyd, and Travis Banwart – all point to a commitment towards acquiring vertical depth. While depth isn’t sexy, it’s 100% necessary. Depth helps keep things from spiraling out of control when the inevitable injury bug rears its ugly head. We saw first hand in 2013 how important vertical depth can be. Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles, and the laundry list of pitchers who made appearances either in the rotation or out of the pen were a
ll a result of acquiring vertical depth.
Besides serving as insurance against unforeseen injuries, vertical depth will also allow the Indians to make moves via trade as the winter wears on. By loading up on extra arms and additional position players, the Indians are now free to start making moves for players that can help them both now and in the future. Adding additional players to fill out the big league roster on down through the minor league depth cart will allow them to trade from a position of strength. With the signing of David Murphy they can afford to trade Drew Stubbs. Mike Aviles and even Francisco Lindor make Asdrubal Cabrera expendable, the plethora of additional arms means they can trade away some pitching (a valuable commodity) in order to get the player they want.
So really Tribe fans, it’ll be ok. The Indians haven’t done anything to knock our socks off yet, but they also haven’t done anything that will have us ripping our hair out three to four years from now. Remember, the baseball season isn’t won or lost between the months of November and March. It is won on the field between April and October. So be patient and wait and see what happens. The Indians will do something.