Coming off a heartbreaking end to the 2007 season, it would appear the roster is pretty much going to look the same in 2008.
Why mess with success?
My question is, how much success did we truly have?
Yes, we came within a game of the World Series, but we had weaknesses that need to be addressed.
The biggest weakness we had in the '07 season came from a lack of offense at what should be power positions, namely right field, left field, and third base.
Let's take a look shall we?
Casey Blake is a great utility player capable of filling in at first, third, and the outfield, but is he starter material?
I say NO.
Eighteen homers from a starting third baseman doesn't cut it unless he fields like Brooks Robinson.
When your shortstop out-homers your third baseman, something is wrong.
Next up we have the outfield platoon.
Teams don't win World Series with a platoon system for two-thirds of their outfield.
Lofton and Nixon are gone, and Delluci and Michaels combined for 11 homers and 59 RBIs in 448 AB. We had 16 homers and 67 RBI from the right-field platoon of Nixon and Gutierrez.
Quality teams got better production from the power positions than we did.
Don't blame C.C. and Carmona for all the losses we had to Boston. They certainly get blame but the support wasn't what it should have been.
Our pitching should be slightly improved over last year's with the continued development of our younger arms and a few more options for the bullpen.
Starting pitching is our strong point as we have too many starters.
The Tribe would better off if they traded one of their starting pitchers and an outfield prospect like Francisco or Gutierrez for a proven bat.
Cliff Lee or Jeremy Sowers should be enough to bring in a proven hitter.
Decisions must be made on Choo—when he comes off the DL—and Marte, who are out of options and must stay on the roster or risk being claimed on waivers.
Barfield will most likely be in Buffalo at the season's start.
The pieces are there for the Tribe to duplicate last year's success.
But a much-improved Detroit team is waiting in the bushes for a taste of Indian food.
We need to take some spare parts and improve the offense. A better offensive squad will help out the pitching staff.
My opinion is this: Delluci and/or Michaels need to go along with either Francisco or Gutierrez. Use Marte or Barfield if needed along with Lee or Sowers and get the best hitter we can at either third base or the outfield.