After a 2012 season which saw the Cleveland Indians go from pennant contenders to the American Central basement after the All-Star break, the Tribe front office looked to shake things up heading into the 2013 year.
It's been a busy off-season for the Tribe, which really began as the season was still wrapping up. With six games left in the season, manager Manny Acta was fired following the Indians' late-season collapse.
As pitchers and catchers are reporting into Spring Training, let's take a look at the biggest moments of the Indians' offseason as the Tribe looked to bolster its pitching, offense, depth and front office staff.
Just days after the regular season ended for the Tribe, the search for a new manager was already over. Former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona was hired in early October to manage the Tribe in 2013. In eight years in Boston, Francona led the Sox to five playoff appearances, two World Series championships and never finished lower than third in the AL East standings.
- Three-team trade sends Choo to Reds, Indians receive OF Drew Stubbs, RHP Trevor Bauer, others; Dec. 11, 2012
One of the biggest deals of the offseason involved the Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds, as the three teams swapped nearly a dozen players in mid-December.
The move sent OF Shin-Soo Choo and UT Jason Donald to the Reds and LHP Tony Sipp to the Diamondbacks.
In return, the Indians received CF Drew Stubbs from the Reds, expected to fill in to replace the injured Grady Sizemore, who will begin 2013 on the DL.
Perhaps the biggest single move the Indians made was in signing free agent OF Nick Swisher to a four-year, $56 million deal. The move came following Choo's trade to the Reds, leaving a big gap in the lineup and in right field.
Swisher, a powerful switch-hitter, will fit in solidly in the middle of the Tribe lineup in 2013, and will take over the regular spot in right field.
Another late-offseason bombshell: the Indians signed Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million contract. The deal includes a fifth year, $12 million option. Bourn is a two-time All Star and gold glove winner.
- Indians boost offensive, infield depth in signing free agent Mark Reynolds to a one-year contract, Dec. 18, 2012
A week before signing Swisher, the Indians added a right-handed power bat with signing former Baltimore Orioles corner infielder Mark Reynolds to a 2013 deal worth $6 million plus incentives. Reynolds, a six-year veteran, brings experience to a young Tribe infield, providing utility defense to first and third base alongside being the team's primary designated hitter.
- Tribe bolsters pitching depth in signing numerous free agent pitchers
Every team looks to improve their pitching staff over the offseason, and the Indians knew that a stronger rotation and bullpen was key to building off a struggling 2012 season. In releasing or trading away pitchers like Tony Sipp, Roberto Hernanedez (formerly Fausto Carmona), Jeanmar Gomez and others, there were spots to fill, and the Indians are looking for their new signings to compete for a spot on the opening day roster this upcoming spring:
Name - Games/Seasons; career WHIP, career SO per 9 inning/BB per 9 inning ratio
RHP Matt Albers- 300 games in 7 major league seasons; 1.481 WHIP, 6.5 K/9 : 4.1 BB/9 (note: Albers made a big jump with a 1.127 WHIP in 2012 and 2.39 ERA in 60.1 innings)
RHP Matt Capps - 444 games in 8 major league seasons; 1.190 WHIP, 6.5 K/9 : 1.7 BB/9
RHP Bryan Shaw - 97 games in 2 major league seasons; 1.392 WHIP , 6.7 K/9 : 3.3 BB/9
RHP Trevor Bauer - Started four games in 2012 in major league debut for Dbacks, struggled giving up 11 earned runs in 16.1 innings. Bauer was a third-overall pick in the 2011 draft for the Dbacks; in 26 minor league starts in AA and AAA, Bauer had an ERA around 3.00, averaging over 10 strikeouts per 9 innings in both leagues.
RHP Brett Myers - 377 games in 11 major league seasons; 1.331 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 : 2.9 BB/9
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka - 116 starts in 6 major league seasons; 1.418 WHIP, 8.2 K/9 : 4.3 BB/9
LHP Scott Kazmir - 180 starts in 8 major league seasons; 1.410 WHIP , 8.7 K/9 : 4.2 BB/9
RHP Fernando Nieve - 99 games, 19 starts in 4 major league seasons; 1.406 WHIP , 6.9 K/9 : 4.1 BB/9
- Tribe adds team depth with several other free agent signings, trades
The Indians have made several other deals this year which look to fill gaps from other players leaving such as Jack Hannahan, Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner and others.
IF Mike Aviles was traded to the Indians alongside UT Yan Gomes in early November.
IF Luis Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Tribe this past November.
OF Jeremy Hermida signed a minor league deal with the Tribe this past November.
Satisfied with the Indians' offseason moves? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section!