Francona is a good manager, and he should get more out of his players. That alone is worth several wins. Still, the overall talent level in Cleveland is not where it needs to be to mount a challenge for the division.
Cleveland needs time to assemble more talent. Hopefully Indians management will give Francona the time and money to make it happen.
Despite the gloomy cloud that tends to hang over Indians fans, there is still some optimism to be had. In what could be a major coup, the Indians acquired Trevor Bauer in the Shin-Soo Choo deal.
Concerns over his attitude have made their rounds in the media. Discussions of Bauer shaking off his catcher during his MLB debut, along with an unwillingness to change his warm-ups and delivery, have been well-publicized.
These things are enough to make Indians fans feel insecure about his future. But what fans should feel is that management is taking a small risk that has the potential for huge rewards.
Trevor Bauer was the third pick in the draft for a reason. He has the talent to be a front-line starter in the majors. His quick rise through the minors showed these abilities.
Bauer's appearances for the Diamondbacks last summer were not great by any means, but they were not horrible for a 21-year-old pitching for the first time in the bigs. Few young pitchers have instant success their first time thrown to the wolves.
Bauer is obsessed with his craft. He videos his pitching mechanics and is known for working on many different pitches. Having a pitcher who is looking to make himself better through study and adding to his repertoire is the kind of young player you want to take a chance on.
With his Lincecum-type delivery and out-of-the-norm warm-up routine, Bauer gives Cleveland an intriguing player to watch. The Indians need players like Bauer—players the fans are curious and excited about.
Bauer turns 22 this month and still has time to develop. Chances are, he will get on-the-job training in Cleveland this year. When he does begin to put it together, expect Diamondback fans to rue the day they let such a talent leave for so little in return.