Cleveland Indians: Stars that can replace LeBron on the banner downtown

(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

While we’re all deeply saddened by the departure of LeBron James, it’s time for a new hero to find himself on the banner downtown. Which Cleveland Indians star deserves that spotlight?

It’s been hard for Clevelanders to come to terms with the departure of LeBron James for the second time. They still have their beloved Cleveland Indians, and the Browns are starting to come around. Still, things will never quite be the same.

But as time goes on, Cleveland will find itself a new king. With the way these Cleveland Indians play baseball, that may not take too long. There are several players on this Indians squad that may be able to find themselves on that esteemed Banner in downtown Cleveland. We take a look at who may be deserving of that spot.

For this list it’s important to consider a few things. How soon will this person be a free agent? Michael Brantley is FA eligible next season and could very well leave. How consistent is this player? Edwin Encarnacion is a great member of this squad but he is streaky and could also leave when his time is up. How likable are they? There are severable lovable starts in this squad but it takes a lot of love to replace LeBron James in Cleveland.

Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber has long earned the right to be hailed as one of the best athletes Cleveland has to offer. Since his first Cy Young award season in 2014, he’s only gotten better. Kluber won his second Cy Young award last year and is on pace to contend for yet another.

Kluber has been heralded as the ace of this Indians team for some time now. Any time Kluber takes the mound, you can expect a big showing of Tribe fans that day. He will remain in Cleveland until at least 2021 and if the Indians win a World Series, he may be the face of that team.

While it may be unlikely that they put a pitcher on the banner, he is certainly worthy of consideration.

Francisco Lindor

This seems like the most obvious choice. Francisco Lindor has been the face of the Cleveland Indians since making his big-league debut in 2015, he has arguably been the Indians biggest star. He’s well-known all around baseball and his play seems to improve every year. This year with his OPS of .947 and 5.3 WAR at the halfway mark, Lindor is showing that he is in his prime.

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Putting such a lovable face on that banner would make every Clevelander smile. He has a contagious smile and an unmatched competitiveness that is some thing the blue-collar people of Cleveland can rally behind.

Only one thing would steer people away from this choice. There’s a chance he too may leave town once his contract is up. Lindor will possibly be one of the most sought-after free agents in history. That doesn’t bode well for a Cleveland Indians front office that could be out-bid by a larger market team. Still, Lindor deserves to be the prime candidate for this spot.

Jose Ramirez

Someone who fans don’t have to worry about leaving anytime soon is Jose Ramirez. Ramirez is under contract until at least 2023. That means Indians fans can count on their beloved Goat to be around for a long time.

Jose Ramirez has come alive as one of the most underrated players in baseball. His numbers have gotten better each year and he is now on-pace for his second .900+ OPS season. He’s almost surpassed his home run numbers from last year and it’s only July.

Ramirez is emerging as a prime AL MVP candidate and will likely make it to his second All-Star game. He’s proven that he deserves notoriety and loves the city of Cleveland. His twitter is proof of that.

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These three stars could seriously be considered to move on to that banner. While the Browns have a fun young team, none of them are as consistent and well-known as these Cleveland Indians stars. The likes of Kluber, Lindor, and Ramirez have shown they deserve consideration to be the new king.