Although the Cleveland Indians made no moves to speak of since losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS last season, many fans as well as experts regarded the team as possible contenders, at least for the American League Central. A combination of injuries and key players having sub-par seasons has changed any hope of contention.
Since week 2 of the 2008 season, the Indians have been a mystery to their fans. Not so to the Indians’ brass and management as unpublished injuries to key players were reported after those players failed to meet expectations. Reasons given for keeping those injuries quiet were related to not showing weaknesses to the competition. Through the first month and a half of the season, G.M. Mark Shapiro insisted that it was too early to react and manager Eric Wedge insisted that the team would keep after it and turn things around. Meanwhile, other key players who performed so well last season continue to let themselves and the team down night after night with less than an hint of a reaction from management.
The White Sox went through a similar scenario last season and now are in position to win the division title. But what about teams this year that have lost key players to both injury and free agency? How do teams like the Minnesota Twins stay in contention with a winning record? The last 12 games prior to the All-Star break were designated by manager Eric Wedge as a “make it or break it” period for the Indians this season. At least it offered the Indians an opportunity to have a part in the seasons of contenders Chicago (White Sox), Minnesota, Detroit, and Tampa Bay. To date, the Indians have failed to win even one game in the “make it or break it” games.
This is not a role that the Cleveland Indians teams of the past are not familiar with but who would have thought that this team would fall to the level of becoming one of the doormats in the American League? Furthermore, will the ownership and management, who took no action to date to resuscitate this team, stand by and let their pitching ace C.C. Sabathia and versatile Casey Blake leave the team via free agency? If so, what does this tell a player like Grady Sizemore about his future with this club and their commitment to him?
Yesterday, the collective management of the team designated their failed closer, Joe Borowski to assignment. They have 10 days to trade him or release him. Glaciers move faster than this brain trust.
The Cleveland Indians organization owes their fans and the city of Cleveland answers to many questions and an action plan for the future of this team. If there were a bona fide commissioner of baseball, that action plan might be subject to league approval, especially given the fact that the Indians’ organization has been relying on crossed fingers and a prayer for an action plan to date.
Shame on the leaders of this organization. They have forced their loyal fans to resign themselves to remain loyal to the team but not the ownership or management.