Oct. 22, 2016
Cleveland Indians Free Agent Predictions
A World Series appearance changes plenty of players’ minds when it comes to re-signing with a team or not. For the Cleveland Indians, a team few expected to appear in the World Series, they may have a better shot at keeping their upcoming free agents around as the opportunity to win is a good one. However, they do only have three notable men with expiring contracts. The youngest of them is 34-years-old too so performance matters as much as age. Here’s a look at the trio of Indians free agents this winter and my predictions on whether we’ll see them again in 2017.
Coco Crisp - Walks
One of the few trades the Indians made was acquiring veteran outfielder Coco Crisp from the Oakland Athletics. I loved the move as it added depth to the outfield. Crisp is a veteran fading at the end of his career which is why I see him leaving the Indians. It won’t be because they have no interest in him either. There just won’t be a place for him with the return of Michael Brantley and the addition of a few other players with a little more talent at this point in their careers.
Mike Napoli - Re-Signs
I’ve been on the fence with the future of Mike Napoli for a while. I criticized the signing in the offseason. Then Napoli hit 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runs. Egg all over my face with a big mouthful of crow, I admit the Napoli signing was superb. I think he’ll return to the Indians next year too as the free agent pool of power hitting first basemen/DH’s is a deep one. I’m predicting Cleveland comes up short in the World Series then returns in 2017 with Napoli on the roster with a two or three-year deal and another productive year.
Rajai Davis - Re-Signs
One of the most underrated signings of the offseason was the addition of Rajai Davis to the Indians’ roster. Davis led the league in stolen bases while providing Cleveland with a more traditional leadoff option other than Carlos Santana whenever they felt so inclined. I see Davis getting a few deals from other teams however it is with the Indians he suits up with again in 2017. At 36-years-old, with legs that can outrun men half his age, Davis remains a weapon in the MLB.
It’s important this offseason the Indians don’t just let important pieces like Napoli and Davis leave. The American League Central has a chance to be a really bad division next year which helps them even more make another run at the World Series. Win or lose, this roster needs to stick together. A few additions and they can go from championship underdog to a favorite.