By: Jamison Schroeder
The Cleveland Indians had quite the October to remember this year. Their 60-game season concluded in a bitter 10-9 loss to the New York Yankees. The killing blows were provided by none other than former Indians third baseman Gio Urshela who has been dominant for the Yankees since his arrival in 2018. It was Urshela’s 4th inning grand slam and incredible diving stop in the 8th inning with the bases loaded that put the nail in the coffin for the Indian’s season. The Tribe fought hard in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series with no avail as the Yankees clawed their way back inning after inning. It was the fourth time in the last five years that the Indians had made it to the playoffs and left the corner of Carnegie and Ontario empty handed.
This season has left a lot of questions from last year unanswered and provided even more questions for the Indians front office to answer this offseason. What will happen with Francisco Lindor? Will Brad Hand remain the Indians everyday closer? What uniform will Carlos Santana and César Hernández be wearing next year? Will Terry Francona remain healthy enough to manage another season? The one thing Indians fans do know is that this offseason will show what the team’s owner, Paul Dolan, has planned for the future of this team.
Despite the season ending prematurely, it is not entirely bleak. Throughout the season, there were flashes of talent seen by several younger players and rookies who stepped up and put the team on their back. Two players who were particularly dominant in their first season include James Karinchak and Triston McKenzie. Karinchak, a relief pitcher for the Tribe, blew smoke past the competition living up to his nickname ‘Wild Thing,’ a reference to the 1989 classic Major League. McKenzie was another pitching bright spot as he came through when the Indians needed him most, taking over for Mike Clevinger who was traded to the San Diego Padres earlier in the season. It was also a career year for Shane Bieber and José Ramirez as both are in the running for Most Valuable Player. Bieber will undoubtedly win the Cy Young award from his superior pitching. While it was a disappointing season for Francisco Lindor, his value is still high. Teams will be keeping an eye on him as the front office decides what to do with the best shortstops in baseball.