Aug 21, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher John Axford pitches in the 6th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
7. Can John Axford regain his dominant closer form?
The Indians are banking on John Axford being the bargain bin deal of the 2014 season. After faltering as the closer in Milwaukee and ultimately losing his job, Axford was moved into the setup role before ultimately being traded to the Cardinals. He seemed to find himself with the Cardinals and now the Indians are hoping he can transition that success back into the role of closer. Axford appears to be a classic example of a guy just needing a change of scenery. Once the fans in Milwaukee turned on him, he was never the same. He has dominant stuff and the mentality to be closer. Plus, Axford is determined to prove that the Brewers made a mistake when they demoted him to set-up man.
8. Can the bullpen persevere despite a number of changes?
The bullpen mafia is no more. With the loss of Joe Smith and Chris Perez, the Indians bullpen will look very different in 2014. Not to mention, they have also lost lefty Rich Hill. Stepping in to replace them are the aforementioned Axford, Colt Hynes, and Josh Outman, Hopefully Vinnie Pestano, Nick Hagadone, and Frank Herrmann will be able to contribute in 2014 and the potential additions of minor leaguers such as C.C. Lee and Preston Guilmet will help ease the losses. Just remember, bullpens are fickle. Be patient.