Slogging its way to the finish line with their worst second-half mark in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians have nothing left to do but plan for next year as they look for a way to bolster an offense that consistently let a decent pitching staff down.
With a promising core up the middle with Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, the Indians must find power at the infield and outfield corners if the Chris Antonetti regime has any hopes of keeping the grin on Chief Wahoo’s face in 2013.
Assuming that the Dolans will at least maintain the payroll at this year’s figure of $65.4 million, the team should have a little room to shop. The Indians get $18 million back just from Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, although the team will have to pay $2.75 million to buyout the oft-injured slugger in 2013. Cleveland will also get $3 million back for not re-signing 1B Casey Kotchman and have—according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports—already gotten themselves off the hook for much of Roberto Hernandez Heredia’s (nee Fausto Carmona) salary.
Of course, it isn’t all going to be savings for the Dolans who will have to pony up more money to keep RF Shin-Soo Choo, RP Chris Perez and SP Justin Masterson, but they should have some money to play with. Not enough to get in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but here is a list of five guys that the Indians could target to plug gaping holes in 2013.