The Indians are keeping Terry Francona’s entire big-league coaching staff for 2016, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes. That means they’ll retain bench coach Brad Mills, pitching coach Mickey Callaway, hitting coaches Ty Van Burkleo and Matt Quatraro, first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., third base coach Mike Sarbaugh and bullpen coach Jason Bere for next season. The White Sox contacted Alomar about their bench coach job this offseason, but he declined to pursue the job and signed a two-year extension, plus an option for a third year, to remain in Cleveland. Here’s more on the Indians.
- The Indians don’t have much money available for splashy free agent signings this offseason, so they’ll need to look to the trade market to upgrade, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweets. It should, perhaps, be noted that the Indians only have about limited obligations for 2016 after having an Opening Day payroll around $88MM last season. Some of the difference will be used to cover salaries for arbitration-eligible players, but they could still have over $20MM to work with this offseason if they’re going to get back to the $88MM range by Opening Day. (Whether $88MM will represent the Opening Day target for next season, of course, remains to be seen, and the answer might depend somewhat on how the team accounts for the money and contracts changing hands in last summer’s complex Michael Bourn/Nick Swisher/Chris Johnson deal.) That won’t allow them to be bidders for top free agents, but it would allow them at least a bit of flexibility on the free agent market. Of course, they could conceivably use that flexibility to take on salary in a trade as well.
- The Indians haven’t had the recent run of success the Royals have had, Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com writes. One reason for that, though, is that the Indians mostly also haven’t been as bad as the Royals were from 1997 through 2012, when they lost 90-plus games 12 times. That disastrous stretch netted the Royals a number of top draft picks, which they used to acquire players like Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Zack Greinke (who they later traded for a package that included Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar). The Indians, meanwhile, have quietly had three straight winning seasons, and they’ve lost 90 or more games only four times since 1997.