Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – After exceeding expectations this season with a one-day playoff appearance, the Cleveland Indians are gunning to play deep into October next year.
“Experiencing the postseason, although brief, seeing what it was like, seeing what that atmosphere was, feeling what it was like to earn that opportunity to get there, I think guys will be exceptionally motivated to get back,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said.
With new manager Terry Francona at the helm, the Indians turned things around, finishing with a 92-70 record after a 94-loss campaign last season. However, the Indians lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Wild Card game.
Now, Francona and Antonetti look to supplement the talented core currently in place in order to build on the momentum of their first playoff appearance since 2007.
“Our goal is, every night, it’ll never change,” Francona said. “You’ve got to be one run better than the other team. However we do that — whether it’s by running the bases, or by having somebody pitch or by having a bullpen — that’s what we’ve got to figure out.”
The Indians could look at the rotation, bullpen, right field and third base as the main areas that need upgrading or additions.
The Indians are eyeing to keep Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, who both expressed interest in staying with the team. Jimenez can void the club’s $8 million option while Kazmir could test the free-agent market after a bounce-back season with the Indians.
If the two starters will not return, Cleveland still has Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Zach McAllister. Josh Tomlin will be back after spending much of 2013 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery,
Also, the Indians will retain their core with center fielder Michael Bourn and first baseman Nick Swisher tied for three more seasons. They also have All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, left fielder Michael Brantley and catchers Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana, among others.