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What the Indians need to do to contend this year

The Cleveland Indians will look to win the AL Central for the fourth straight year, but going all the way won’t be easy for a team near the end of their window.

Pessimism is something that isn’t new to Cleveland Indians fans. Ever since the team lost to the Yankees in the 2017 ALDS, it’s felt like non-stop doom and gloom for Tribe fans. Now after another embarrassing postseason loss and a flurry of offseason moves that have drained the Indians roster, they have to make some moves to keep pace in the American League.

The White Sox have already made it clear they want to win the AL Central in 2019. They’re making a run at Manny Machado to add to their young, talented team. The other powerhouse teams in the American League have made some notable moves to either stay at the top or increase their odds.

The Indians still have plenty of talent on their infield, and they shouldn’t have to make any changes there. But the outfield is still pretty weak. Michael Brantley signed with the Astros, so maybe the Indians can take their former left fielder, Marwin Gonzalez. He had a down year compared to his great 2017 season, but he would instantly be the Indians best option in LF.

Jake Bauers just doesn’t seem ready to land in left-field, and I personally wouldn’t want to see Jason Kipnis try to play the position.  Another option is a hometown kid, Derek Dietrich. He showed serious signs of growth. during his time in Miami, and it may be worth giving him a look.

The key is to not overspend. The Indians cleared up nearly 20 million in cap space to make the team better overall. They still need bullpen arms. I’ve stated that re-signing Oliver Perez would be a smart move, but why stop there? Luis Avilan has been another journeyman bullpen arm that could make a difference in the Cleveland Indians bullpen.

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I don’t feel comfortable with the Indians bullpen until they add at least two arms to that barren wasteland. As for other positions, the Indians are set. None of this is news, but we’re starting to get a picture of who the Indians should look at. If the Indians are to get better and contend in 2019, they need to keep making moves.

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