The news cycle concerning the Cleveland Indians is a bit slow. This would be a good time to consider it the calm before the storm that is the MLB Winter.
We know just how hectic the Major League Baseball offseason can be. This offseason for the Cleveland Indians is shaping up to a doozy. The impending free agents on the Indians roster are all anyone is talking about with this team, and for good reason.
In an article written by Zack Meisel of The Athletic (subscription required), Zack mentions a tear-filled postseason meeting between Michael Brantley, Terry Francona, and Chris Antonetti. When I hear “tear-filled meeting” you can understand why my hopes aren’t very high.
The chances of re-signing the longtime Indians left fielder are looking more and more slim with each passing day. Given Brantley’s injury history, it doesn’t feel like a move that the Indians typically make.
So with that said, both the aforementioned The Athletic article and a Cleveland.com article written earlier this week mention the idea of Jason Kipnis playing in left field. While the idea may sound far-fetched, it’s starting to feel like a real possibility. According to Francona “We know (Kipnis) can play second. We know he can play center. My guess is he could handle left field just fine.” That sounds like an endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.
I’m sure fans aren’t thrilled at the idea of Kipnis playing in left field. I’m not exactly giddy about the idea either. But with the way the Indians will have to spread their salary out among guys like Corey Kluber, Brad Hand, and Trevor Bauer a big free agent signing is likely out of the cards.
All of this means we could be looking at an outfield alignment of Kipnis, Greg Allen in center field (until Bradley Zimmer returns from the disabled list), and Tyler Naquin in right field. It’s certainly far from where we thought we would be, but that’s what the Indians have to work with. The possibility of signing a free agent is there, but it would have to be a cheaper option.
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These are all rumors and it’s important to note that. But we would be foolish not to take the context of what Francona and Antonetti have told us. When Spring Training rolls around, we could be looking at a very different outfield in Goodyear, Arizona.