Cleveland Indians a contender for 2016?

A group of Cleveland Indians wait to mob Michael Brantley (23) at home plate after a walk-off win.

Now that the 2015 season is over for the Cleveland Indians, many people are wondering “Is the 2016 Season going to be as bad as this one?”  “Can Cleveland be a contender next year?”  The answer is “Yes!” As long as the main components of the team can stay healthy in the off-season, then they can go for.  “So you’re saying there’s a chance?”  Absolutely, as we saw towards the end of the 2015 season, the Tribe held together and started to shine.

After deciding to release Swisher, Bourne , and Moss, it seems that the team started to play like the “band of brothers” that we once knew.  Kipnis, Brantley and Gomes continue to be powerhouses spread throughout the lineup.  Hopes are that Santana will take a few more swings rather than counting on that free pass to first, and that Lindor and Urshela continue to strive for excellence on the left side of the infield.

“What about the bullpen?”  As we have seen towards the end of this season, Carrasco and Salazar are workhorses you don’t want to mess with.  Two instances this season, Carrasco went deep into the game without giving up a single hit. There was a series towards the middle of the season, where in three consecutive games, Indians pitching did not relinquish a single hit until the 6th inning or later.  One of which was Carrasco throwing a “No-No” until the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs.

One other change to be made this off-season, is Chris Antonetti , the 2015 GM of the team, being promoted to President of Baseball Operations, and promote Mike Chernoff  to General Manager. Former GM and President of B.O., Mark Shapiro is leaving the Cleveland Indians after twenty four years with the organization, to take a position with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In closing, if you ask me if I think the Indians can be a contender in 2016, my answer is “Yes, without a doubt”. They have shown the fans what they need to see while closing out this season.  If they stay healthy, and keep mentally prepared, the Cleveland Indians will be a force to be reckoned with.

For more information on the Cleveland Indians, pictures, stats and the 2016 Schedule, go to www.clevelandindians.com

Image: https://clevelandsportshuddle.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/indians.jpg

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