In a recent column penned solely with the goal of discussing what the Cleveland Indians should do in the offseason following one of the most depressing and disheartening seasons in recent memory, ESPN‚Äôs Buster Olney believes that Chris Antonetti should hoist the white flag on the contention window that never opened. The first course of action being trading every player who has a modicum of present-day value for future potential.
The impetus of such: ‚ÄúCleveland doesn‚Äôt have a good farm system in the eyes of rival evaluators,‚ÄĚ writes Olney,¬†‚ÄĚand in particular, the Indians lack quality starting pitching at the big league level and in the minors.‚ÄĚ Chief among these moves include shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, catcher Carlos Santana and closer-in-waiting Vinnie Pestano.
For Asdrubal Cabrera: ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs an All-Star-caliber player just days away from his 27th birthday, and the Indians could get a nice package of prospects for him ‚ÄĒ especially pitching prospects.‚ÄĚ Here, we ignore the fact that Chris Antonetti stated that Cabrera is the team‚Äôs shortstop of the future.
For Carlos¬†Santana: ‚ÄúAround baseball, there are growing questions about whether his future is as a catcher, or whether he will become a first baseman.‚ÄĚ¬†Again, the goal is to obtain pitching.
For¬†Pestano: ‚ÄúBy the time Cleveland rebuilds its rotation to the point where it can contend again, Pestano will be far enough along in his service time when he would start to get expensive.‚ÄĚ
Olney also discusses starting pitcher Justin Masterson, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, and closer Chris Perez, noting that a huge overhaul like this would not sit well with fans. His point, however, is that the team was already 13th among 14 American League teams when it comes to attendance; there is not much to lose.
[Related: The Aviles acquisition: Small tinkering or the first sign of major change?]