Other than a few remaining free agents that the Cleveland Indians are not likely to sign, the exciting parts of the offseason are mostly over. Teams are playing real baseball now in Spring Training, and it is time to reflect on what the 30 clubs did well this offseason, and what they might regret most.
I feel like we have covered a lot of what the Indians did well this offseason, but what about regrets? No offseason can be perfect thanks to the degree of uncertainty found in baseball players and the game itself. When all is said and done, what about this past offseason will the Indians look back on with 20/20 vision and wish they would have done (or not done)?
Not re-signing Ryan Raburn
The Indians need a #RightHandedPowerBat. Maybe not as much as Twitter hounds would like to believe, but the Tribe offense was notoriously lefty-heavy last season and it could use some balance. They happened to have such a righty last season with Ryan Raburn, but they let him walk instead of ponying up the $2 million team option they had on him.
Last season was Raburn's first being almost exclusively platooned, and it worked to great effect. He finished the year with a .301/.393/.543 slash (155 wRC+) and eight home runs in 201 total plate appearances. More importantly, against left-handed pitchers, he slashed .325/.415/.589 for an isolated power rating of .265. Bottom line is, he crushed left-handed pitching, and the Indians could use the balance.
However, you are supposed to pay for future performance, not past performance, and projection systems do not think highly of Raburn. Steamer and ZiPS having him finishing with an ISO in the low .170s and they have his on-base percentage coming back down closer to his career average .318 OBP.
Not trading for Todd Frazier
In a vacuum, the Indians look crazy for not jumping on Todd Frazier. The division rival Chicago White Sox got him for basically nothing, and the Indians only responded by signing 36-year-old Juan Uribe. What gives?
Shortly after the trade, reports surfaced that the Cincinnati Reds were making crazy demands of the Indians in exchange for Frazier. They were supposedly stuck on Bradley Zimmer and/or Clint Frazier plus another high prospect and nothing else. Bottom line is a prospect's value is different team-to-team and the Reds obviously didn't place that high of a value on anyone not named Zimmer or Frazier in the Tribe's system.
Frazier, who just turned 30 in February, would have been a great addition to the Indians at third base while Yandy Diaz and Giovanny Urshela develop in the minors, but he would have come at a steep price.
Not trading a starting pitcher for a bat
If the Indians wanted to quickly acquire a big bat, they probably could have dealt a starting pitcher. They were tied to dozens of rumors during the Winter Meetings, but the Tribe front office held firm on their stance to not trade a starting pitcher.
The offense still does not look comletely fixed -- although it looks much better than it did heading into the offseason -- so maybe they will regret not trading from a strength to fix a weakness.
Not signing Dexter Fowler or Austin Jackson
Heading into the offseason, the outfield was a mess and it only got worse throughout the winter. First, Michael Brantley went down and probably will not return until at least halfway through April, then Abraham Almonte got an 80-game suspension for PED use.
The Indians signed a plethora of center fielders including Will Venable, Robbie Grossman, Collin Cowgill, Rajai Davis, and others. At best, those guys are platoon center fielders and not full-time guys. At worst, they will never make it out of Triple-A. They also have the internal option of Tyler Naquin.
Dexter Fowler or Austin Jackson would have been an immediate fix to the situation, although Fowler would have costed the Indians a first-round pick. If a true center fielder meant the difference between a World Series and sitting home in October, it may be worth it, though.
The Indians could still technically sign Jackson, as he remains a free agent, but the club is reportedly "tapped out" financially. So don't hold your breath.
Not signing another reliever
Similar to the outfield situation, the Indians signed a ton of relievers in hopes that one or sticks to fill out the bullpen, one of their biggest team weaknesses. This philosphy of signing a bunch of cheap relievers has been around for a few years in the Indians front office, but should they have just spent more on a bullpen arm this offseason?
The options for spending more money on a reliever are definitely there with Tyler Clippard, John Axford, Antonio Bastardo, and Steve Cishek all signing big deals with new teams.
Signing Rajai Davis
The first big move of the Indians offseason was signing Davis to a one-year, $5.25 million deal. At this point in the offseason, no one knew just how far the value of Ian Desmond or apparently Austin Jackson would drop. The argument could be made that, had the Indians waited to sign an outfielder, they could have spent that $5.25 million on someone better than Davis, who looks to be a part-time platoon option for the Indians next season.
Signing a pair of injured relievers
If Craig Stammen makes the Indians roster, the Indians will essentially be paying two relievers $4 million combined to sit on the disabled list to start the 2016 season. Both could bounce back and be worth well more than the $2 million they are each being paid, but it is a risk the Indians took on. Similar to Davis, it is money that could have been spent on one better reliever instead of two injured ones.
This does not have to mean you think the Indians are perfect and going to win the World Series. If you think the front office will look back proudly on this offseason and have no regrets, knowing they did all they could to win, this is the choice for you.
Did I miss something major that the Tribe front office will regret? Let me know in the comments, or if it requires a bit longer of an answer, put it in a FanPost and I'll get it on the front page.