The Cleveland Indians just finished their best season in six years. However, they need to add a few pieces to reach the playoffs again in 2014.
Here are the top three needs for next year’s Tribe:
1. A closer. Chris Perez fell apart at the end of the season, and he has clashed with Cleveland media and fans almost since he joined the team. Cleveland’s deep bullpen should produce a new closer, possibly Cody Allen.
Joe Smith excelled in his eighth-inning role, but he could leave the team in free agency. If the Tribe feels that Allen is ready to close, they could use him in the eighth inning if Smith leaves and then go shopping for an affordable, experienced closer.
2. A power bat. Cleveland managed to make the playoffs despite the fact that slugger Mark Reynolds lost his way at the plate so badly that the Indians sent him packing. Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana both reached 20 home runs, but they need some help.
3. A utility infielder. Asdrubal Cabrera is set to make $10 million, and he only hit .242 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI. The Tribe might trade him to save money, which would allow Mike Aviles to handle the shortstop job until Francisco Lindor is ready.
If that happens, the Indians will need someone to fill Aviles’ do-it-all role on the bench. Hopefully, free agents will see Cleveland as an attractive destination after the year the Indians enjoyed.
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