Indians spring outlook
Manager: Terry Francona (seventh season).
2018: 91-71, first place, lost to Houston in Division Series.
Training Town: Goodyear, Arizona.
Park: Goodyear Ballpark.
First Workout: Thursday
He’s Here: 1B-DH Carlos Santana, 1B Jake Bauers, C Kevin Plawecki, OF Jordan Luplow, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, RHP Nick Wittgren, LHP Oliver Perez, INF Ryan Flaherty, C Dioner Navarro.
He’s Outta Here: OF Michael Brantley, DH Edwin Encarnacion, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Cody Allen, C Yan Gomes, 1B Yonder Alonso, 3B Yandy Diaz, 2B Erik Gonzalez.
Going campin’: The Indians followed up a third straight AL Central title with another postseason disappointment, getting swept in the Division Series by Houston. The offseason goal was to reduce payroll, and the Indians went at their roster with a wrecking ball. They wiped roughly $20 million off the books with several significant trades, dealing away slugger Encarnacion, All-Star catcher Gomes and Alonso. Cleveland also took a big hit in free agency, choosing not to re-sign closer Allen or lefty reliever Miller, two bullpen mainstays of the past, as well as Brantley. The team didn’t pull the trigger on offers for ace Corey Kluber or All-Star right-hander Trevor Bauer, but those conversations could continue into this season. Despite the makeover, the Indians remain the team to beat in their division, but this club has much higher goals after getting to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. The outfield is a major concern heading into the spring, but the returns of Bradley Zimmer and Leonys Martin from injuries should help. Francona’s other objective will be rebuilding the back end of what was once one of the AL’s best bullpens.