The Cleveland Indians saw their three-year run atop the AL Central Division end last year and failed to make the playoffs despite a very good season where they won 93 games. What can we expect from the Tribe in 2020? Again, assuming there is a season. Let’s check the MLB Odds and World Series Odds for the Cleveland Indians 2020 Season.
Cleveland Indians 2020 Pre-Season Analysis
Cleveland Indians Offensive Analysis
The Indians have one of the best overall players in the majors in All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, but will he be a member of the Indians this entire season? We would guess not as the Tribe know they can’t afford Lindor when he hits free agency after next season and seem likely to trade him at some point this year – when largely depending on whether they are contending or not. If Cleveland is a good team, perhaps Lindor stays all season; if not, he’s probably a goner this summer.
He and the team have suspended any contract talks. Lindor said he would like to remain with the Indians but said “they haven’t offered me the right thing” yet. Team president Chris Antonetti says the Indians and Lindor’s reps worked for months and tried “creative concepts” to strike a deal but fell short. He could be looking at a contract of around $400 million in free agency. He will make $17.5 million in 2020 and will likely be awarded in the neighborhood of $25 million in 2021 via the arbitration process.
Last season, Lindor had splits of .284/.335/.518 with 32 home runs, 74 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and 101 runs scored over 143 games in 2019. He’s also a stellar defensive player. The Dodgers and Reds have been mentioned as top trade candidates, although L.A. already dealt for Mookie Betts so that might take them out of the Lindor sweepstakes.
The Tribe have one of the best left sides of the infield in the majors with Lindor and third baseman Jose Ramirez. He was an MVP candidate in 2019 but had a dreadful first half last season and dealt with a hand injury toward the end of the second half, but he still managed to post a .255/.327/.479 batting line with 23 home runs, 83 RBI, 24 stolen bases, and 68 runs scored in 129 games played.
Cleveland Indians Pitching Analysis
In another cost-cutting move, the Indians shipped two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. In exchange for the 33-year-old Kluber, Cleveland received outfielder Delino DeShields and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase, a hard-throwing 21-year-old with huge potential.
Since the Indians acquired Kluber in a 2010 trade with San Diego, he had blossomed into one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers. Kluber won his first Cy Young in 2014, when he went 18-9, and added No. 2 in 2017 after going 18-4 and leading the AL with a 2.25 ERA. Last year, Kluber broke his right forearm when he was struck by a line drive during a start at Miami and never made it back.
Even before that injury, Kluber wasn’t right, with hitters making higher-quality contact and putting the ball in the air against him at a greater rate than they had in any previous season. His velocity has dropped across the board over the last five years. Still, it sure seems as if the Indians could have gotten more in a trade.
Cleveland still has a pretty strong rotation, though. Righthander Mike Clevinger is becoming an ace. He did have surgery on February 14 to repair a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his left knee and was going to miss time but not probably won’t with the coronavirus delay. Shane Bieber, 24, a control artist coming into ’19, struck out 259. The bullpen could be the hardest to hit in the game (although Clase will miss three months with a back strain).
However, projected No. 3 starter Carlos Carrasco is hurt again. Last week, he was shut down while dealing with mild right elbow inflammation. The 32-year-old Carrasco missed three months last season battling chronic myeloid leukemia. He appeared in 23 games and went 6-7 with a 5.29 ERA. He came to camp looking to regain the form that saw him win a league-leading 18 games in 2017 and 17 the next season.
Cleveland Indians Offseason Movements
- Cleveland Indians Notable additions: RP Emmanuel Clase, OF Delino DeShields Jr., 2B Cesar Hernandez, C Sandy Leon, RP Dominic Leone, C Cameron Rupp, C Beau Taylor
- Cleveland Indians Notable subtractions: SP Cody Anderson (FA), RP Nick Goody (waivers), SP Corey Kluber (TEX), RP Tyler Olson (CHC), C Kevin Plawecki (BOS), OF Yasiel Puig (FA), SP/RP Danny Salazar (FA)