Manny Acta has had his say. The Indians need bats and starting pitching. He's right. We need some power bats who should be right-handed, as well and you never have enough pitching. We can still win in 2013. We can. We just need to get some more talented major leaguers.
But we have to watch how we spend money. We have to be very careful.
Our starting pitching right now is Masterson, Jimenez and then a bunch of question marks. The good news is we have so many guys who can fill those question mark roles that we only need one guy the equivalent of Masterson to be competitive. Look, when we had Derek Lowe we were winning because he was pitching. If we get one decent starter, we can win. We have Jeanmar Gomez, Zach McAllister, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin and maybe Scott Barnes, Roberto Hernandez, David Huff, TJ McFarland, TJ House and Giovanny Soto to fill the other two slots IF we get one starter.
The bullpen is solid with Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith and now Cody Allen on the right side and Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez and maybe Nick Hagadone and Scott Barnes on the left side. Plus, we have enough depth in the minors and our ML periphery to cover a lot of injuries. Frank Herrman and Esmil Rodgers might find themselves. The loser of the 4th/5th starter race could be the long man. Guys like Langwell, Sturdevant, Chen Lee and even Hector Ambriz, Shawn Armstrong and Rob Bryson could help at some point next year.
We need some hitters. Right now we are looking like this:
DH - Hole
C - Santana
1B - Huge hole
2B - Kipnis
SS - Cabrera
3B - Chisenhall
LF - Hole
CF - Brantley
RF - Choo
Bench - Marson, Donald, Phelps and Fedroff or Carrera
We have some depth in the minors with Juan Diaz, Matt LaPorta, Chun Chen, the loser of Fedroff/Carrera.
But we need some bats, particularly at DH, 1B and LF.
What don't you see on this proposed roster: AAAA guys and guys heading the direction of being AAAA guys. What you also see is young players on the bench and in the bullpen backed up by young players.
We need 3 bats and one arm. Could we get by with 2 bats and one arm? Sure, if one of our young guys can hit enough to play LF. Could we get by with one bat and one arm, probably not. We have too many question marks in our lineup to make that happen.
So, there you have it. Even if you don't count injuries you need, at minimum 2 bats and a starting pitcher. The positions they will play are not premium ones, DH, 1B and LF. But you need them to be able to hit lefty and righty pitching well.
Plus, we are a small market club. We need to sign free agents and NOT trade prospects. It is questionable whether a small market club should EVER trade prospects for veterans and even more questionable for this team to do that. We need to sign free agents.
Unfortunately, the available free agents are mostly pathetic, long-shot gambles.
DH - David Ortiz will be too expensive, Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez, Luke Scott and others may be past their primes.
1B - Mike Napoli, Lance Berkmann, Carlos Lee and James Loney. Napoli might be out of our price range, Berkmann will want to stay in St. Louis and Lee and Loney have had HUGE power drops this year but probably are looking for huge paydays. .
OF - Shane Victorino, Torii Hunter, Michael Bourn, Melky Cabrera and even Delmon Young might be options.
SP - There are so many options it isn't even worth listing them. There are probably about 25 veteran starting pitchers making this a buyer's market. From that group we have to be able to come up with one, solid guy.
So, where would I invest: 1B, DH and starting pitcher. I would gamble we could produce enough in LF if we get good DH and 1B production.
So there you have it. There are bodies out there that shouldn't cost you a huge amount of money and I think we could come up with a 1B or DH type. I would love to see Napoli and Victorino on this team along with a veteran starting pitcher. If we could add a decent DH that would be great. The cost of these guys? Well, I am looking at $24 million a year for 3 years for three of them or $32 a year for 3 threes for 4 of them. I see that as doable, even in Cleveland. With 3 of these guys we keep our payroll a tad below the 2012 level. With 4 we go over that level a little but are more solid.
So there you have it. It's time for Dolan to spend money. I have never been one of the Dolan is cheap people but the time is right. There will be non-compensation free agents galore out there and we should be able to sign 3 or 4 of them and not kill our budget.
We can win next year. We can sign multiple veteran FAs this winter to help us do that. We just need to be smarter than we were last year when we lost out on Beltran and Willingham.
And, for the umpteenth time, make your bench out of young players. Save money and develop guys, too.
The time is right. Let's go for it in 2013.