It's no secret that the outlook of winning the 2012 AL Central looks bleak for the Cleveland Indians. The already-strong Detroit Tigers made one of the biggest splashes in free agency, signing first baseman Prince Fielder to an eye-popping nine year deal, worth $214 million.
The addition of the hefty slugger gives Detroit the best right-handed (Miguel Cabrera) and the best left-handed power hitters in the game. Yes, Miguel Cabrera is better than Albert Pujols at this stage of their respective careers.
With the reigning AL Cy Young/MVP Justin Verlander anchoring the rotation, and closer Jose Valverde coming off a perfect 49 for 49 in save situations last season, the task of supplanting the Tigers atop the AL Central seems daunting to say the least.
Surely, with Detroit wheeling and dealing, the Cleveland front office would make some gutsy moves of its own to match the enthusiasm of their division rivals, right?
Unfortunately (and somewhat unsurprisingly) that answer remains a defiant “no.”
Tribe GM Chris Antonetti never made good on his potentially “surprising deal,” and the front office made a series of underwhelming signings for a team with a supposed “two year window” to win the World Series. Alas, in spite of the grim outlook for the 2012 season, hope must spring eternal for the helplessly devoted Cleveland sports fans.
The following slideshow discusses players who will contribute for the Indians in 2012 who were either September call-ups or weren’t on the ball club in 2011.