Mike Napoli or no Mike Napoli. Let's be honest. Cleveland, despite it's great season, is where guys go to re-start their careers on one-year deals so they can, the next year, go elsewhere and cash in on the season they had in Cleveland. Why, because there will always be some rich team who can overpay a guy like Napoli for multiple years, have him fall on his face, and it still not kill their budget for years to come...because they can afford to have bigger budgets!
The only thing I will say in Napoli's defense is that if he will accept a one-year deal I would take him for even $10 million in that year. Why? I think his intangibles in 'the room' are knowns to Francona and the Indians whereas those of anyone else (including Encarnacion and Fowler) are suspect if you put them in the position Napoli was in last year. We are in our 'window' now and he will, for next year, likely help keep us there But for more than one year? Never. Yeah, it may kill our playoff chances next year but next year in the playoffs and years after that, signing Napoli might significantly hurt our chances of winning long term.
HOFers...or not. In the mid- to late-90s I dreamed on the prospect of having multiple Indians from that era make the Hall of Fame. A couple of decades later I am still waiting. Now Albert Belle is on a separate ballot. It reminds me of what could have been:
Carlos Baerga, Julie Franco, Albert Belle , Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Omar Vizquel, even Robbie Alomar and maybe Sandy Alomar looked like potential HOFers. Now, due to injuries, steroids, following the money overseas and precipitous declines ability, it looks like only Thome and Vizquel have a shot at the HOF with Belle having a slight shot. And there is no guarantee if they do make it that they will go in as Indians since they did leave Cleveland, many significantly before their careers ended.
Why am I mentioning this? Because the Indians didn't do enough (which means they should have done it no matter what the cost) to keep their HOFers here. Yeah, we would have been burned, HOF-wise, on Ramirez, Robbie Alomar and Baerga but for all the other guys, they are likely or were likely, given difference circumstances of going in the HOF.
Looking at the current roster only Francisco Lindor looks like a likely HOFer. In the next year or two we need to give him a lifetime contract. Yeah, at the end of it we will be rueing the day we gave him that deal...until he goes into the HOF as an Indian.
None of the above was worth the money they made when they left the Indians. Yet, had we had them here, we would be looking at a lot of HOF guys over the next few years. And, living in St. Louis, the value of those statues outside the stadium is invaluable to keep the tradition alive.
Ohio State Football - OK, this is a baseball blog. But in all the controversy or perceived controversy about the final 4 this year, there is one thing that I see noticeably missing. People are ticked about Washington's non-conference schedule but they don't seem to talk about Ohio State's luck. Realistically OSU could be sitting at 8-4 now and looking at a matchup in a minor bowl game. Putting Clemson ahead of them was a symbolic thing to do. I think they should have been ranked 4th with Washington 3rd. I just don't think they showed enough to be in the top 3 and only because of the closeness of some of the major conference championship games do I even think OSU deserves to be in the final 4. People who make a big deal about Washington's weak non-conference schedule and don't ding the Buckeyes for their multiple almost losses are, in my opinion, missing the real issue: You have to dominate to make the final 4. A win is not a win when you are talking about the football playoffs. And Ohio State's close wins are just as suspect, if not more, than Washington's weak non-conference schedule. And you are getting that opinion from a lifelong Buckeye fan an Buckeye alum (sort of).