5 Free Agents the Indians Should Sign this Offseason

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Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Mike Napoli hits a single against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Mike Napoli hits a single against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Mike Napoli hits a single against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Mike Napoli hits a single against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Indians are not expected to be major players in free agency, but here are five players the team could target to bolster the roster in 2017.

The Cleveland Indians have never been major players in free agency due to limitations set forth by a smaller than average budget. With their storybook run to the World Series this past season, the Dolans’ wallet could open up more than we have seen before.

While the chances of the Indians making a run after big free agent names such as Edwin Encarnacion, Yoenis Cespedes or Josh Turner are slim to none, there are a few players that the Tribe could afford that would help them return to the World Series in 2017.

The Indians do not have a lot of holes to fill. Their starting rotation is set for the foreseeable future and has depth in AAA that is unmatched. The core of the bullpen is going to remain in place, but the Tribe will likely add a piece to help stabilize the middle innings.

Judging by the output of the Tribe’s catchers offensively last season, one might think that the Indians could be looking for an upgrade. However, judging by a relatively weak class of catchers and the fact that Yan Gomes is still viewed as the franchise catcher, do not look for any signings at the position.

First base is the biggest hole right now. Since the Indians did not offer free agent Mike Napoli a $17.2 million qualifying offer, the slugger became a free agent. While Carlos Santana – whom the Indians exercised a $12 million option on – is capable of playing the position, look for the Indians to look for another veteran to man the spot.

The only other position of question on the infield is third base, but expect Jose Ramirez to remain in that role after his breakout 2016 campaign.

The outfield is where the most likely moves will be made. The Indians also declined to extend a qualifying offer to Rajai Davis, and Tyler Naquin seemed shaky at best in the second half of last season. Do not expect star prospect Bradley Zimmer to debut until later in the season.

It seems that Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and Lonnie Chisenhall will be here to stay, but none of them are everyday starters. As long as Michael Brantley is fully recovered, he is the starting left fielder, although he will need somebody to take some innings from him as he gets back up to speed. The Indians will have to find at least one outfielder to step into a starting role.

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