Fantasy Recap: 2017 Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona never took the field for any inning of the team’s playoff series against the New York Yankees. But undoubtedly like many of his players, he was emotionally “wiped,” by his own words, after the team blew a 2-0 series lead and suffered defeat at the hands of the New York Yankees.
This was supposed to be Cleveland’s year, but it wasn’t to be and the team — and the fans — are still trying to process the disappointment.
If there was any pitcher that you would want to send to the mound for a series-deciding game, Indians pitcher Corey Kluber was your guy. Except, both of Kluber’s starts against New York were alarming, to say the least. The ace posted a ridiculous 1.79 ERA and 142:12 K:BB in 15 starts (110.1 innings) since the All-Star break, but allowed nine hits and nine earned runs in the American League Divisional Series.
The favorite for the AL Cy Young Award didn’t look anything like himself, which raised questions about a lower back issue that sent him to the disabled list earlier this season. After Kluber pitched poorly in Game 2, Francona said he spoke with the right-hander before Game 5 to make sure he was OK.
If Kluber is indeed not healthy, he’ll have a long offseason to get right. But the Indians have a myriad of other decisions they’ll have to make in the meantime.
Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin will be a free agent this season, and provides tremendous depth to an already lethal pitching rotation for Cleveland. Tomlin was far from one of the problems Cleveland had in the ALDS, playing three innings of relief ball, and not allowing a single run in that time. He had a 3-0 record in seven starts after prolonged stint on the disabled list late in the summer, and had an ERA under 3.91 in that process.
Midseason acquisition Jay Bruce, brought in from the New York Mets, will also be another one of those decisions. Bruce a career-high 36 homers for the 2017 campaign, as the slugger has built off of his rebound 2016 showing. His .254/.324/.508 slash line doesn’t jump off the page, nor does his .832 OPS, but it’s serviceable alongside his home runs, 101 RBI and 82 runs.
Eight-year veteran Carlos Santana is another interesting name to watch in this process, as he too is a free agent this winter. Santana’s 24 home runs were 3rd on the team, and he ranked 4th in RBI, 4th in total bases, and 3rd in batting average among everyday players.
The Indians also have a decision looming on outfielder Michael Brantley, who has an $11 million option due this offseason that can be bought out for $1 million. Brantley was a mainstay in the Indians’ lineup from 2012-2015 but has missed much of the last two seasons with injuries. The 30-year-old went 1-for-11 in the ALDS, and was eventually designated as a bench player in Game 5 of the series. He had a .292/.357/.444 slash line this season, with nine home runs and 52 RBI in 90 games.