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It’s time for Cleveland to tear it all down

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... and other hot takes from the Let’s Go Tribe community

Cleveland Baseball Team Will Drop Its Indians Team Name Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Every week once in a while I ask for your sizzling hot takes on Twitter and Facebook so we can argue about them because arguing is fun. This is the Hot Take Corner.

Cleveland is getting a new name next year and they will need a new shortstop after the inevitable Francisco Lindor trade. So maybe it’s time to just tear the whole dang thing down and start anew?

I’m going to start this iteration of the Hot Take Corner with a trio of Let’s Go Tribe current and former staffers and also preface it with an apology for their behavior and the takes that they are forcing you to see. This is completely on them, not me.

Send them the hate mail.

Listen here, you little sh-

Ahem. Excuse me.

Unfortunately, this is a very real take that a lot of people have. I was one of them following the World Series run. Hey, they made it! That was fun! Everything else is just gravy at this point as long they win!

Oh, how wrong we were. With the team consistently good enough to compete in the AL Central but not do much else, the regular season has become a meaningless chore to get to the postseason. A postseason in which Cleveland has not fared well and their lineup is continually exposed as being woefully thin against other playoff teams.

Of course, the fact that we have to watch the team be stripped for parts simply because the team doesn’t want to spend makes everything that much worse. That’s the rub, really.

Thanks, I hate it. Luckily, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case.

Good on the Royals for overpaying Carlos Santana in an attempt to get a few more wins — the mid- to lower-tier teams doing something besides tanking hard is good for baseball. But I do not think that makes them a competitor, and they don’t exactly have an imposing and forward-thinking front office to worry about.

Their farm system has started to get some love lately, but it’s been a slow climb and I still have at least a little bit of faith that Cleveland will manage to get hot one of these years with their $50 million payroll and make another run. I’d say if the Royals don’t find a way to win the AL Penant in the next two years, Cleveland is safe.

Obviously, Schlichting is exaggerating here, but the odds of this happening are greater than zero and that scares me. We all know the rumors that John Sherman was on track to be the majority owner of Cleveland’s team at one point, so it’s not a state secret that the Dolans are or were seeking a way out. Maybe dumping everything at the last second makes the team more attractive than — gasp! — having a payroll. I don’t know.

As for a “real” best-case scenario, I think it looks something like Daniel Johnson and Nolan Jones outperforming everything, whatever pieces they get in the Lindor deal contributing immediately, and suddenly they can field a major league lineup.

Speaking of ...

This could be taken one of two ways:

  1. Nolan Jones is really good!
  2. Oh no everyone else is terrible!

By ZiPS projections, if Jones is the best hitter it might lean towards door number two. He is projected to have a 99 OPS+ and 2.3 fWAR, drawing a strong comparison to Cleveland Legend™ Jay Bell. Assuming a Lindor trade and not counting the former players that stick around on ZiPS projections, that would only put him behind José Ramírez (143 OPS+), Franmil Reyes (112 OPS+), and Jordan Luplow (103 OPS+) next season.

Passing Reyes and Luplow seems depressingly easy if Jones gets off to a hot rookie start, but to catch up to José would require so many things to go wrong with this season that it’s hard to contemplate.

I haven’t had one in over a decade and I remember it tasting like a Hungry Man Salisbury Steak in a wet bun. Never again.

Wow, that would hurt. I get that this is the time to trade Lindor and his contract before he walks for nothing, but to trade Carrasco just ‘cause is pure pain. But they do have sort of a baseline now with the Blake Snell and Yu Darvish deals, at least.

If they could get something closer to the Blake Snell deal — which seems unlikely, but deals are never 1:1 comparisons so it’s possible — then OK, I guess. The Cleveland front office seems to know better than anyone when the wheels are about to fall off a pitcher and if they truly feel that with Carrasco and can get another immediate impact player plus a couple of prospects for a 33-year-old pitcher, more power to them.

I don’t think they can, though, and it’s going to be more of a salary dump. A pathetic salary dump of a whopping $11.8 million annual value.

Explore Europe, y’know? Go on a road trip.

I have a low-key fear of this happening because it’s just corny enough for a board room to think is amazing. Or something way too in-the-moment like the Cleveland Frontline Workers or something ridiculous that encapsulates this very moment in time but will just be weird in a year or two.

Still better than the Rockers, though.

Hello and welcome to the titular hot take.

If we’re living in a fantasy land where Cleveland can blow the doors off a budget and spend a whole $80 million on their baseball team again, it would be within reason to build up and be competitive, even with trading Lindor. Without that, they are going to be in the same situation they have been for several years now: a tremendous pitching staff held back by an inept lineup.

But even in reality, I don’t think there’s a reason to completely tear it down right now. It’ll probably be a full post in the future, but if they’re not going to spend big (and they are not), then I’m fine just rolling with kids and seeing what happens. The farm system is still a year or two away from really starting to hit, so see what you have now with the likes of Daniel Johnson, Bobby Bradley, Owen Miller, or whoever else is bubbling at the surface waiting for a shot.

It beats watching Delino DeShields Jr., Domingo Santana, or Carlos Gonzalez ever again.

Of course they will be. But with their pitching staff and generational talent at shortstop that they are about to lose over money, there’s no reason they should not be at the top of the heap every year instead of just “in the hunt” and hoping they can squeak by the Twins. But here we are.

This may be hard to hear for Cleveland fans, but not every athlete has to live, breathe, and sleep Cleveland to be accepted and successful here.

Francisco Lindor has done a phenomenal job representing the team and the area and he’s been nothing but great for fans. And you know what? When he leaves for another team because the one here didn’t want to pay him what he’s worth, he’s going to do a great job representing them, too. That’s what he does, and he is very good at his job.

Now, with that said, Lindor has done a great job playing this whole situation to his advantage, including using every Dolan screw-up against them — as he has every right to.