After finishing 68-94 and landing the fifth pick in the 2013 MLB Draft with a horrid season, the Cleveland Indians have started their offseason with a nice addition—new manager Terry Francona. While fans would have liked new management in the form of the firing of Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti and possibly new ownership, the two-time World Series champion manager is a solid start.
The only issue is, baseball is different from other sports. The managing that occurs from the bench very rarely has an impact on a game. You are not adding a spread offense, like a college football coach can take to another school and change their whole philosophy and future. You are not adding a crazy defensive scheme in basketball which can force turnovers and recreate your whole program.
A baseball manager creates lineups and hopes that the team that he has fielded that evening can execute the bunt, hit-and-run, double steals, defensive shifts or whatever attempted manipulation to the game they feel could change the game. While a single player, like LeBron James in basketball and an amazing quarterback in football, can impact other sports, baseball does not allow one man to carry a team.
The Indians learned that in 2012. They did not have a superstar, but they also had issues hitting as a team, finishing ninth in the AL in hitting (.251) and 13th in slugging (.381) out of 14 teams. Pitching was not much better, as the Indians ranked last in the AL in team ERA (4.78).
So, with several needs heading into the offseason, what can the Indians do to really impact the team? Obviously, the team will not be able to sign the likes of Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton, but the Indians can make several low-key moves to get the roster aligned to become a contender in 2013. Realistic or not, due to the limitations of poor ownership (financially and intelligence-based), here are some moves the Indians need to make.