TMS MLB Preview 2009: Cleveland Indians

9:00 AM | Comments (0) | by White Chili

All through March, Thunder Matt's Saloon will be previewing each Major League team. We'll give you the ins and outs of the upcoming 2009 season, how each team will do, and some other useless crap you'll wish you had never read.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

2008 SEASON: 81-81 (3rd place in AL Central)

SO LONG: P Brendan Donnelly, P Scott Elarton, C Sal Fasano, P Juan Rincon

WELCOME: 2B Mark DeRosa, P Matt Herges, P Carl Pavano, P Kerry Wood

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Grady Sizemore CF
2. Mark DeRosa 2B
3. Victor Martinez C
4. Travis Hafner DH
5. Jhonny Peralta SS
6. Shin-Soo Choo RF
7. Ryan Garko 1B
8. Pat Tabler LF
9. Asdrubal Cabrera 2B

Starting Rotation: Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, Aaron Laffey, Carl Pavano, Anthony Reyes, Jeremy Sowers
Setup: Rafael Betancourt, Jensen Lewis
Closer: Kerry Wood

This team has a lot of talent and if they stay healtdammit, I can't believe I'm going to have to watch Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa play in another uniform this season. OK, I got that out of my system. Find your center. Serenity now.

In all seriousness, this team does have some talent surrounding Sizemore but there are a lot of question marks. Is Pronk healthy? His "return" late last year wasn't exactly a rousing vote of confidence. And what about Victor Martinez? The tribe is fortunate enough to have a serviceable guy behind the plate who should probably be playing 1B somewhere. However, he's probably going to top out at about 25 hrs and that's if he stays healthy as well. Meanwhile on a team built entirely of first basemen, Ryan Garko has been logging some time in left field this spring which should give his numbers a bump.

Cliff Lee is just coming off a 22-win Cy Young award-winning season but me and everyone in the Wahoo nation will be shocked if he can do that again. Carmona looks like a good number-two guy but there are an awful lot of young pitchers in history who have put together impressive starts to their careers only to fall apart shortly after. M. Prior would be too obvious; we'll call him Mark P. They also won't have the help of CC Sabathia but hey, they brought in Carl Pavano!

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time - Grady Sizemore is clearly the offensive leader of this team. It's a shame that he's stuck leading off or else you could probably tack on another few RBIs to the 90 that he had last year. He's approaching the magical age of 27 and should post career numbers across the board.

Gehsundheit! - The Indians were looking for a new right fielder for this season and they may be in luck with a Choo. Shin-Soo Choo, to be precise. After having surgery in 2007, he finished out last year with some decent numbers. However, he's been relegated to DH for the Korean team at the WBC after his elbow began to flare up again. The job seems to be his if he can stay healthy.

FOR MORE READING
Let's Go Tribe
Tribe Report
Grady's Ladies

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