Found October 03, 2013 on The Hot Read:
The Cleveland Indians' season ended in a disappointing 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card game last night. While the season ended sooner than fans would have liked, the Indians exceeded all expectations anyone had for them coming into this season. The future looks bright and there is a sense of optimism around this team for the first time in several seasons. There were many positives and negatives to take away from the season, and issues that need to be addressed in the offseason. The starting rotation was the biggest question mark coming into the season, and it turned out to be the strength of this team. Danny Salazar is a future ace and they have All-Star Justin Masterson locked up for two more years. Zach McAllister and Corey Kluber look like solid middle of the rotation guys. Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer give them depth as well They must do everything they can to keep Ubaldo Jimenez. His turnaround this season was miraculous, and the trade the Tribe made to get him two years ago looks like a steal now. A Big 3 of Jimenez, Masterson, and Salazar will be as good as anyone's. Jimenez may have priced himself out of Cleveland though. It will take big dollars to keep him. Scott Kazmir has expressed a desire to come back. If the price is right, he could add some depth, but not at the expense of taking starts away from some of the younger guys. Certainly worth keeping if Jimenez leaves. The bullpen needs a revamp. Thought to be strength coming in, they really struggled this season. The backend of Pestano and Perez went from one of the top setup/closer combinations in baseball to a disaster. Pestano pitched his way out of the setup role, and Perez has certainly pitched his last game in an Indians' uniform. Joe Smith is a free agent and he was the most dependable reliever. They need to try to keep him. Cody Allen and Brian Shaw had their ups and downs, but overall were good. Mark Rzepczynski was a great pickup. They need to find a closer and decide on a setup man. Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn were a little disappointing after signing big contracts. Bourn hit only .263 and had an OBP of .316, not good enough for a leadoff hitter. He stole 23 bases but was caught 12 times. Swisher hit only .246 with 22 HR and 63 RBI. The Indians need more from these guys for the $26 million per season they combine to earn. The low-profile pickups were much more successful. Ryan Raburn And Mike Aviles helped give them one of the best benches in the league. Jason Giambi provided leadership and the season's biggest hit. Yan Gomes was so strong he became the everyday catcher and appear to have secured that spot for the future. Asdrubal Cabrera was a major disappointment coming off of two straight All-Star seasons. If he has any trade value left, they may want to explore that in the offseason with Francisco Lindor expected to be ready to take that spot by 2015. Lonnie Chisenhall has had enough chances. The Indians need a big bat in their lineup and third base would be the best position to fill that. Chisenhall just cannot consistently hit major league pitching.  Michael Brantley may be the most consistent player on the team. He has developed into a very solid, All-Star caliber player. There are a number of bright spots on this team and they should remain competitive for several years to come. If they can find a way to beat the Tigers on occasion, possibly they can avoid the one-game wild card playoff and win a division title.    
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