Several key players enter 2015 coming off of injury riddled campaigns. With very little action this off-season, are the Indians putting too much faith that they will all have bounce back seasons?
There’s a lot to be excited about for the Cleveland Indians entering 2015. Corey Kluber is the reigning AL Cy Young winner. The Tribe missed the playoffs by just a few games, and that was with a plethora of players playing through injuries.
Some of those key players Terry Francona will be counting on that are coming off injury filled seasons and off-season surgeries will be critical to the team’s success. With so few moves made during the winter, are they putting too much faith that they all will have bounce back seasons?
It’s a question that needs to be answered, as depth becomes integral throughout the grind of a 162-game schedule. And clearly injuries took their toll on the Tribe last season. I took a square look at it by posing the question if the Indians should take a look at former All-Star Andruw Jones. After playing two seasons in Japan, he’s eyeing a comeback. The reception was quite clear – he’s washed up and not worth it. But with the ability to play the outfield and first base, and a power bat to DH, the insurance he could provide could be key with the players hoping to rebound.
I’ve covered Kipnis recently, as he battled through a torn oblique and never came near matching his production from his 2013 All-Star season. While he didn’t miss as much time, he wasn’t the player the Tribe were counting on last season.
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For Raburn, he had surgery in mid-September to repair a torn meniscus. According to reports, he will enter camp with no restrictions. In 74 games he batted only .200, with four home runs and 22 RBIs. Those numbers were a steep drop off his 2013 season, which he only played in 87 games, but hit .272 with 16 home runs and 55 knocked in.
Moss, who the Indians acquired from the Oakland A’s in December, was an AL All-Star last season. But the first half was the only productive part of the year, as he needed surgery in the off-season to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. After earning a trip to the All-Star game, his numbers fell off drastically in the second half. He hit only .173 with four home runs, a far cry from his 21 long balls prior to the break.
Swisher, the last of the four, has the most uncertain status. After having dual arthroscopic surgeries, he should be ready for spring training, barring any setbacks. He missed 65 games, and admitted he should have had the surgeries earlier instead of playing through the pain. With Carlos Santana looking to lock in first base, Swisher decided to drop 15 pounds and make himself more versatile for Indians skipper Francona.
With so many uncertainties in the game, the Indians can only hope that all four will come in healthy and contribute at the levels that are expected of them. But if not, this may be one of the deepest teams Cleveland has had in quite a few years. So the ability to fill in and around them should they struggle shouldn’t be an issue. But the question of if there’s enough insurance is still a valid one as we enter Spring Training.