Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/23/14
It’s easy to see what a 162-game season reveals about a player. Just look at the statistics. For a manager more time is needed. The statistics he’s judged by are wins and losses, but it’s more involved than that. The two things we found out about Terry Francona last year is that he believes in a strong bench and a deep bullpen. Those two ingredients helped the Indians win 92 games and make a postseason appearance for the first time since 2007. How good was the 2013 bench? It produced a starting catcher in Yan Gomes and a guy who hit the most homers (16) in the big leagues in fewer than 300 plate appearances (277) in Ryan Raburn. Utility infielder Mike Aviles finished as the semi-regular third baseman during the Tribe’s 21-6 sprint through September. And, of course, there’s Jason Giambi, the oldest man in history to hit not one, but two walk-off homers. If you wondered why the Indians signed free-agent infielder David Adams and brought veteran outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Nyjer Morgan to camp on minor-league deals, it was with the idea of keeping the bench just as strong and versatile as last year. In Francona’s mind, Giambi, 43, is still at the center of the bench. “We want Jason Giambi on our team,” said Francona, who talked to reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “I think we’ve said that until we’re blue in the face. But to do that you have to have the right people surrounding the rest of your team so it’s an advantage.
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