There is no doubt that the 2013 Cleveland Indians will be a heck of a lot better than the team that won 68 games in 2012. They have been in the thick of things all off-season, acquiring Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs via trade and signing Nick Swisher during free agency. Most people figured the Indians were set heading into spring training, but they shocked many folks yesterday with the signing of Michael Bourn.
While the team is obviously improved, they still have a lot of issues that haven’t been dealt with. The starting rotation is still a mess, figuring Ubaldo Jimenez is as toast as I think he is. I do like Justin Masterson, but his 2012 season was less than spectacular, especially against left-handed hitters. Lastly, who really knows how well Bauer will pitch, seeing as a lot of former Arizona Diamondbacks teammates said he can be hard to deal with sometimes.
The offense is definitely the second best offense in the division next to the Detroit Tigers, with the potential of even passing Detroit if everything comes together. I believe the Indians have a few players that are going to improve upon their 2012 numbers, including Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana, making their lineup quite potent. I just cannot get over that pitching staff, though.
The reason why the Tigers are the clear favorite for the division is the starting rotation, which is something no team in the division can compete with unless Gavin Floyd and John Danks find 2008 form with the Chicago White Sox. Therefore, Cleveland needs someone to emerge as the true ace to have a chance to take down Detroit.
With all that being said, however, Cleveland fans definitely have plenty of reasons to smile heading into the 2013 season. With a little luck, they could become division champions.