The future is bright in Cleveland
So close, so disappointing.Few ownership groups have shown more faith in their baseball men than Larry Dolan has in his general manager, Mark Shapiro, and Shapiro's choice of manager, Eric Wedge. Dolan was rewarded with a division title and almost a pennant as Cleveland knocked off the Yankees in the first round and took a 3-1 lead over Boston in the American League Championship Series. The bottom dropped out when Josh Beckett dominated in Game 5, and the Indians had to watch the Red Sox celebrate a World Series victory.
GM: Mark Shapiro
Manager: Eric Wedge
'07 record: 96-66, 1st AL Central
'07 payroll: $61.3M, 23rd MLB
Runs scored: 811, 6th AL
Runs allowed: 704, 3rd AL
OPS: .771, 4th AL
ERA: 4.05, 3rd AL
Fielding percentage: .985, T-3rd AL
Primary needs1. Better production from the outfield corners. Kenny Lofton was a big help in left, and the Indians feel Franklin Gutierrez can be a long-term answer in right. But the reality is they ranked 10th in the AL in OPS in left and 13th in right last season.
Free agentsOF Kenny Lofton, RF Trot Nixon, INF Chris Gomez
The Indians aren't likely to spend heavily to get free-agent help. They are more likely looking to make a trade. Cleveland could put together enticing packages for Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford or Pittsburgh's Jason Bay, but no one knows if those guys are going to be on the market. Geoff Jenkins could fit.