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Are the Indians on the cusp, or stuck in the middle of the pack?

Predictions were optimistic for the Tribe's 2015 season, and we all know how that turned out. So... time to under-promise and over-deliver?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We're in the middle of baseball's darkest period, that lull between the end of the World Series and the start of the Winter Meetings. But we've still got a job to do here at LGT. So put down your books/TV/Xboxes and hot cocoa/coffee/liquor, and drag yourself to the cold glare of the computer screen for today's rousing edition of N&N:

Indians news & notes

Hey Hoynsie! Do the Indians have room for Alex Anthopoulos in front office? | Cleveland.com - Even though the Indians already have a GM and President, and Anthopoulos potentially has sour grapes with the Indians FO, Hoynsie still entertains the question. Click through for Hoynsie's response to some other profound proposals like trading Jason Kipnis and signing Bobby Cox.

GM gossip: the prospect of overvaluing prospects | Burning River Baseball - In case you missed yesterday's N&N, some anonymous baseball exec has been talking nasty about Mark Shapiro's tenure here. There's been a lot of talk the past few days about Shapiro's legacy. Did he cling to prospects too much? Joseph Coblitz argues that he probably did, and that this mentality remains in the Tribe's FO - much to the detriment of the team.

Examining the American League Central as the offseason arrives | Cleveland.com - The pre-2015 season predictions for the AL Central didn't exactly pan out. People expected the Tribe to compete. People expected the Royals were a fluke. Pff. So Zack Meisel takes a quick look at how all five ALC teams are shaping up for the 2016 season, but avoids attempting to make more ill-fated predictions.

Inside the numbers: a look at how close the Indians are to the playoffs | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? - It's a common theme here at LGT and in analytical circles that the Indians have a strong core and are not far off from contending. DTTWLN's Mike Brandyberry isn't totally sold on that thought, so he decided to take a look at how the 2013-2015 Tribe stacks up with other recent playoff teams based on WAR.

Can reliever Bryan Shaw continue his success? | Wahoo's On First - Shaw has been a workhorse over the past few seasons, but his peripherals have worsened and batters seem to be hitting him harder. How long can he maintain his role as a solid back-end reliever?

Waiting is the hardest part | Waiting for Next Year - The Cubs have the longest WS drought, but there's still plenty of reason to feel sorry for the Indians.

Tidbits from around MLB