With the dust settling a bit on the Cleveland Indians’ offseason free-agent pursuits, here’s what I’d like to see happen before Opening Day:
Sign another veteran starter. I know Chris Antonetti said the Indians likely are done shelling out big contracts, but the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse still is available. (Teams have been scared off partly because they’ll have to surrender a first-round draft pick in order to sign him.) A trade for an experienced arm is another option. The rotation was the biggest problem last year, so having a bigger selection of quality arms is a must.
Settle the DH question. If that means bringing back Travis Hafner at a signficantly lower salary, it’s a legitimate choice. The Indians could also try Tim Fedroff or Chris McGuiness in that role.
Work hard on stressing quality at-bats. The addition of Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs are great, but the two players bring with them a history of high strikeout totals. The Tribe worked hard to solve the big K issue before last season, and it helped. I wouldn’t want to see that trend reverse now.
–The Indians released outfielder Thomas Neal this weekend after designating the minor league outfield for assignment in early January. If they can get him back, the Tribe probably would like to re-sign Neal, who hit .314 in Double-A Akron last season. Of course, Cleveland has several options at reserve outfielder, led by primary OF backup Ezequiel Carrera.