CLEVELAND, Ohio — It’s still early in the offseason, but let’s do a reset on the Indians. A pre-Christmas checklist, if you will.
They have holes in the middle of the infield that runs right through center field. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez is a free agent. Shortstop Francisco Lindor is trade bait and a guy who hit .128 (Oscar Mercado) last season is going to get another look in center.
First base is so unsettled that it would not be surprising if Carlos Santana somehow sneaks back into the picture and there are question marks where the closer is concerned. James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase throw hard, but can they duplicate Brad Hand’s 91% (50-for-55) save rate over the last two seasons?
Chris Antonetti, president of baseball operations, has made it clear this is going to be the most challenging offseason of his tenure because of the financial losses the organization incurred last season due to the pandemic. He balanced that by saying the Indians have talented young players stretching into the minors as they try to put together their ninth consecutive winning season.
Over 50 of those prospects, denied a minor league season in 2020, just finished about a month’s work — including 17 games vs. other organizations — at the Indians’ training site in Goodyear, Ariz. James Harris, director of player development, was there and here’s what he had to say about some of those players.