Happy Thanksgiving from the writers of Let’s Go Tribe! We expect that you’ll be busy schnarfing down turkey, stuffing, homemade noodles, and anything else that you can get your hands on. While you do, we thought it would be nice to share some things about which we are thankful when it comes to the Cleveland Indians.
I’m thankful that the Indians are good, have been for more than half the decade, and will continue to be good for the foreseeable future.
I know. I’m not preaching anything too extreme, here, but I think losing in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons skews our perspective of just how dismal baseball fandom can be when things aren’t going well.
This iteration of the team posted a winning record in the last six seasons. It’s the first time they’ve done this since 1994-2001. Other stretches include 1947-1956 and 1917-1923. Said another way, these are all of the team’s World Series windows.
Sorry, 2007. I’ll never understand you.
We’re witnessing one of the best teams in the history of the franchise, and even if things haven’t ended the way we’d like for them to in the last few seasons, it sure ain’t the 70s and 80s. You know, the two decades during which the Indians never had a winning record. From 1969 to 1993, the Indians went 1795-2176.
The team is still fun to watch, the window isn’t closing, maybe the world is falling apart all around us, but baseball is going to be a lot of fun if we all survive to see it in 2019.
Matt R. Lyons
I’m thankful that the Indians won’t trade Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco... before the season starts.
Yeah, I’ve seen the rumors. I’ve seen that it makes financial sense to dump a two-time Cy Young Award winner to keep room on the books for Edwin Encarnacion’s massive contract. I get it, but they’re not doing it.
Corey Kluber is heading into a season in which he will make $15 million, making him the second highest-paid player behind Encarnacion and making $500,000 more than Jason Kipnis. He’s 32, yes, but hardly trending downward — if anything last season proved he could reinvent himself as a post-nasty stuff pitcher when he walked virtually no one for large stretches of the season and kept his ground ball at 44 percent.
The Tribe’s current strategy seems to be packaging lower-level prospects (and Erik Gonzalez) in exchange for bubble candidates who could explode at the major-league level next season or fizzle into nothing. No harm no foul either way, considering who the Indians are giving up. Trading Kluber away is a massive step away from that strategy, and there’s never such a thing as too much pitching.
As for Carrasco, he’s not that expensive yet and he’s still really good, despite a few freak injuries here and there. I’m thankful that both of them will be in the Indians’ rotation next year and this definitely won’t come back to haunt me when and if a trade happens between now and then.
I’m thankful for Jason Kipnis. No, seriously.
Yes, Kipnis is no longer the All Star-caliber second basemen he once was. And I’ll concede that his $14 million salary for next season is a financial burden for a small market ballclub that is so cash-strapped they’re floating the possibility of trading a two-time Cy Young winner.
But I have a soft spot for the veteran players who’ve spent most, if not all, of their careers with the Tribe. I was sad to see Carlos Santana go last offseason, and I’ll be sad to see Michael Brantley, Cody Allen, and even Lonnie Chisenhall sign elsewhere this winter.
You’d think I’d be accustomed to seeing the Indians’ best players leave for greener pastures by now. I don’t know that I’ve ever recovered from the emotional trauma of the Tribe trading C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee after their respective Cy Young seasons, or the sight of Victor Martinez crying at his locker after being traded to the Boston Red Sox.
But there is something to be said for the veterans like Kipnis — especially now, as the Indians are experiencing a period of sustained success we have not seen since the 90s — who endured the rebuilding years and helped steer the franchise back in the direction of a consistent contender.
I won’t bother arguing with those who would ship Kipnis elsewhere without a moment’s hesitation, and I’m well aware that his days in Cleveland are numbered. But I’d find some comfort if he were to pack his bags while wearing a World Series ring on his finger.
Chris D. Davies
I’m thankful for Francisco Lindor.
The retirement of Adrian Beltre this week made baseball a little less fun. If you don’t believe me, explore the depths of the #ThankYouAB tweets or spend some time rummaging through the MLB gif database watching Beltre’s antics. After you’ve taken in some of the pure joy that was Beltre’s 21-year career, search for Francisco Lindor.
He may not be the elder statesman of the league, the way Beltre was, but our beautiful boy Frankie is the embodiment of everything good about Beltre and the best player to step into his shoes as the greatest source of joy in the game. He’s not an elder statesman and there are other players who also play the game with a great attitude, but no one matches Lindor’s joie de vivre — hell, he may even have more zeal for baseball than Beltre himself. Thus, it is incumbent upon us, Cleveland fans, to appreciate and be thankful for all that Frankie gives us. Don’t be like this in a decade:
Seattle never loved Beltré enough and it remains one of the dumbest things we've ever done as a city— Meg Rowley (@megrowler) November 20, 2018
Appreciate Frankie now, be thankful he’s wearing Cleveland over his chest and winning games for us. I am.
Greg Grant (aka woodsmeister)
I’m thankful for Progressive Field.
I am old enough to have seen the Indians play baseball live in old Cleveland Stadium with 10,000 people scattered among 75,000 seats, many of which were obstructed. Cleveland Stadium was a hellhole.
I’m thankful for arms in the Indians’ farm system.
After a season of extremely frustrating bullpen meltdowns, I’m thankful for the promising crop of talented young arms in the Tribe system that could all make an impact in 2019. Henry Martinez, James Karinchak, Nick Sandlin, Dalbert Siri, Robert Broom and Kyle Nelson all were flat out dominant as back-end arms last year. Factor in the returns of Danny Salazar and Cody Anderson and there is plenty of room for optimism in regards to the future of the Tribe bullpen.