Mar 22, 2013; Gooodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Nick Swisher (33) leads a swing happy offense into the 2013 season. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

2013 AL Central Season Preview: Cleveland Indians


The Cleveland Indians should be able improve upon the 667 runs they scored in 2012 which was only the 13th best total in the American League. The Tribe will need it considering they didn’t do much to improve a pitching staff that was dead last in American League ERA in 2012. To make up for their lack of pitching the Indians went out and obtained some offense for the 2013 season.

The Cleveland Indians used trades and free agency to improve the outfield.  The most expensive free agent acquisition was center fielder Micheal Bourne. Bourne fell into Cleveland’s lap when he became one of the last free agent outfielders to sign.  Bourne gives the Tribe fans the lead-off hitter they have been looking for since Grady’s Ladies stopped throwing their undergarments on the field.  Bourne is flanked by Micheal Brantley and former Cincinnati Red Drew Stubbs.  The trio is a definite step up from 2012.

The Cleveland Indians infield returns Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall.  They added Mark Reynolds at DH and throwback Nick Swisher to play first base. They haven’t stopped there. It seems there is no one the Cleveland Indians won’t sign. Just a day ago they resurrected Jason Giambi only to place him on the 15 disabled list. The most intriguing addition to the Indians team is Ryan Raburn.  The former Detroit Tiger has been tearing up the cactus league this year hitting over .350 with 5 HR and 12 RBI. You can bet Raburn will be fired up to see the Tigers. Surely that will lead to the inevitable post on Motor City Bengals about whether or not the Tigers should have let him go.

The Cleveland Indians offensive up-grades should provide a nice cool breeze for the Tribe fans.  The offense is full of strikeout candidates.  Mark Reynolds has struck-out over 200 times three years of  six major league seasons. Stubbs and Swisher also have a track record of strike-outs and Detroit Fans know all too well the strikeout powers of Ryan Raburn.

With all of The Tribes offensive patchwork they still can’t make up for their lack of pitching prowess.  Ubaldo Jimenez (5.40 ERA in 2012) has been replaced as the teams ace by the inconsistent Justin Masterson (1.454 WHIP in 2012).  The addition of  RHP Bret Meyers gives the Cleveland Indians a shaky top three starters incapable of matching up to the other 1-2-3 combos in the AL Central.  And with plenty of offense in the division, Chief Wahoo’s hurlers won’t be able to keep up.

Although the Cleveland Indians tried to improve, it was simply not enough.  Even the addition of Manager Terry Francona won’t be enough to keep the Indians out of last place in 2013.  Prediction: 65-97 Last Place.

Tags: Cleveland Indians MLB Ryan Raburn

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