Friday, December 23, 2016

Encarnacion, check!

English is a funny language as words and phrases can have multiple meanings. Take the title of this post.

On one hand it could mean that, given his new contract, we will be expecting Encarnacion to pick up the check when he and his teammates go to dinner as he is the highest paid member of the Indians.

On the other hand it could mean that the Indians have just checked off a major box in their off-season planning.  The have the power hitting first baseman/DH they needed.

Let's focus on the latter meaning.   So the Indians have Encarnacion.   What's left to do?

First, they need two relievers.   Jeff Manship did his job here, and then some.   But what we need is an upgrade over him.   I have said repeatedly that I won't believe until the 2017 regular season is over that the hangover from the massive use of Allen, Shaw and Miller in 2016 won't, at some point this season, come back to bite the Indians.  They need one more 7th/8th inning guy who you aren't afraid to put into a tight playoff situation next year. 

Second, they need to identify a second lefty.   They have done a great job stockpiling guys who throw with their left arms..  Whether any of them can pitch in the majors is still to be seen.  We need a couple more of those guys to come in.   Clearly with Cecil and  Rzepchinski (sp?) got this off-season we will be shopping in the bargain section of the store to find one. 

Finally, we need some more starting depth.   The Indians have been great about signing major league starters on the mend from injuries and rehabbing them.  However, we haven't gotten any production from those guys.  We need to find a couple of decent inning eaters and stash them at AAA.   It would be nice to have 4 solid starters at AAA (Merritt and Plutko will be there) with all them having the ability to relieve, if necessary.  I might consider tandem starting some of those guys just so that they get used to coming out of the bullpen, if necessary, when the Indians need them or in the playoffs when we only need 4 starters.

It would be nice to make a trade for another hitter but we can wait until July for that if we can make an opportunistic move then.

p.s., I feel bad for Mike Napoli.  He provided the spark that helped push us over the top last year.   Thanks, Mike.   Good luck this year. 

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