Cleveland Indians Must Turn Free Agent Rumors Into Deals

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Oct 14, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) reacts after hitting a double against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning in game one of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) reacts after hitting a double against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning in game one of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Indians must be able to add some talent to the lineup this offseason in order to continue to be a top contender in 2017.

The Cleveland Indians came about as close as a team can come to winning a championship in 2016, and are favorites to be back in a similar position in 2017.

There aren’t any glaring holes on the roster, but the team cannot afford to decrease in talent, even if only by a small margin. The expected addition of Michael Brantley should only help the Indians, while a full season from Yan Gomes will add to the existing talent base.

But one spot in the lineup is yet to be fulfilled, and that is the one vacated by Mike Napoli. He could still return to the team, but if he doesn’t it could leave a glaring hole on offense. That is, if the Indians cannot find a replacement.

The current big name free agent linked to the Indians is Edwin Encarnacion, who is keeping fans waiting to see where he ends up. While Cleveland remains a potential destination for the slugger, the Indians must do everything they can to try to sign him. And if they are unable to convince him to join the team, Napoli must be brought back.

The MLB offseason is full of rumors, with the validity of all of them being tough to decipher when certain players seem to change their minds on a daily basis, or teams back out on a trade that was about to go through. We saw it when Chris Sale was traded to the Boston Red Sox, and could see it with Encarnacion.

Similar rumors surround Napoli, who could end up anywhere. While fans may think the Indians can easily bring him back if Encarnacion decides to sign elsewhere, Napoli may not want to wait around. Or he may get an offer he likes and take it before it goes away.

Waiting to snatch up a player often leads to unwanted surprises, and the Indians could see a lack of a power bat at first base if things continue to drag on.

Next: Should the Cleveland Indians Sign Edwin Encarnacion?

The good news is that the Indians have one of the best front offices in all of baseball, and with this newfound money, they seem to know what they are doing. Let’s just see if they get a sense of urgency this weekend to get a deal done.

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