The Cleveland Indians are not going to make a major splash in free agency, and there is no need to do so after nearly winning a championship in 2016.
The Cleveland Indians have never been a team that is going to go out and buy a championship. The franchise prides itself on building through the draft and using that talent to trade for players who will become key pieces on the team for years to come.
The same is true as the team heads into the 2016 offseason. With so much money already committed to key players like Andrew Miller, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Corey Kluber, and Jason Kipnis, this small market team simply cannot afford one or two major free agents.
Some fans will want to immediately go after the Dolans for not spending money, but they have given the front office significantly more money that what used to be the case. And after what Terry Francona did with this team in 2016, there is no need to throw big money at one player.
Look at a team like the Los Angeles Angels as an example of what can happen if too much money is tied up in one or two players. There is no room to develop the rest of the roster, and if someone like Albert Pujols is struggling, he is too much of an investment to put on the bench, or even trade.
The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs can even get away with some free agent flops, but such a scenario could doom the Indians for several years. Attendance should be up in 2017, but it will not be enough to begin looking at contracts in the $100 million range.
The Indians have strategically built and retained the current core of players on the roster, and an injured bunch nearly won it all. With the whole team healthy next season, there is no need to acquire any outside players. As long as Rajai Davis and Mike Napoli are retained, the additions of Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes could see the Indians back in the playoffs once again.
This is also a team carried by its pitching, and this staff is already at capacity, with others ready to go if needed. Fans will be saying it for years, but imagine what could have been if Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar were healthy for the entirety of the playoffs.
So while the MLB hot stove continues to heat up, Indians fans must not get frustrated by the lack of moves. This front office has assembled a unit that is here to stay for a few years. And after this year’s result with a short-handed bunch, the future is bright.