Kipnis thinks strong finish an indicator the Tribe are close, needs just a few pieces
Cleveland Indians‘ second baseman Jason Kipnis has an amazing first half but fell off after missing time due to injury. That aside, Kipnis is a strong part of the Indians future and doesn’t think the team is that far away from success. I didn’t foresee a winning record at the end of the season in mid-July, so I’m not going to argue. But players aren’t going to be knocking on the door on how excited they are to play in Cleveland. For the Tribe, they’re going to need to go and get them. Kipnis knows that.
"“We’re not far away. We’ve definitely got a good foundation here, we’ve definitely got good players and now, we could be just one piece away, one bat away, one pitcher away and I think it’ll be important for us to go out and get it.” h/t Zack Meisel, Cleveland.com"
This is a double-edged sword when it comes to the Indians. They’ve “gone out to get it” a few times in recent years. Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Gavin Floyd and Brandon Moss. The good news is they cleaned out those mistakes. But the Tribe isn’t a team that can continually make poor assessments in free agency. They can take a loss here and there, but they have to start hitting on some of these offseason acquisitions.
Indians’ skipper Terry Francona was happy with the strides of the second half as well, but not with the overall picture of where the team is at. There is work to be done, but this roster now should remain intact and has shown it’s good enough to compete as is.
"“I want them to be proud of the way they plugged away the last half, because we’re proud of them,” Francona said. “Saying that, where we’re at is not where we want to be. We need to recognize that, too. I think you can get a little bit of a false sense of security, like, ‘Oh man, we did this in the second half.’"
It’s been too little, too late for the past two seasons. As I’ve mentioned before, for the Indians to be successful they’ll need a strong start out of the gate to keep the fans engaged. Terrible attendance leads to less revenue, in turn the ability to sign free agents is hampered. They need to come out swinging to keep the turnstiles clicking to start the year.
The pitching staff is strong, and although no one wants to hear it they could use one of those arms to make a deal for more offense. The Indians improved but still have question marks there. Abraham Almonte, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Carlos Santana will all be on that list entering 2016.
But Kipnis is right. If they want things to change, they will have to go out and make it happen.