Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – After a season with 94 losses, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti took to the media to share a message that he hopes will excite the fans.
“What’s going to re-engage the fans is winning,” Antonetti said. “There’s always pressure on his to produce results, regardless of other teams and how they do it.”
Antonetti and the Indians will sit and watch two “mid-market” teams, the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland A’s, have both made the post season. The O’s as a wild card team to play the Rangers in a one-game playoff, and the A’s as the AL West champs.
The GM said that he wants Progressive Field to have “meaningful games” in September and October, but he also knows that it will start with better players.
“Our current mix of guys just didn’t work,” the GM said.
That’s not a shock considering the team entered the season with major questions at both first base and left field, and ended it the same way.
Antonetti said that he feels it would easier via the trade route to try to acquire the long-term answers to those questions, which leads many to think that one player that could be up for grabs this offfseason is Shin-Soo Choo.
The right fielder is in the last year of his deal entering 2013, and with Scott Boras as his agent, there’s no doubt that getting a deal done with Choo will be difficult.
“We have tried to engage in talks with (Choo) before, and we will continue to try to do so,” Antonetti said.
With that said, the best way to get players if you are not going to sign them via free agency, is to make deals with the players you have.
Choo, along with volatile Chris Perez would earn quite a bit in a deal, but Antonetti wouldn’t commit to moving either on Thursday.
He did state that he sat with over an hour with Perez, whose mouth has been one of the interesting aspects of the 2012 season.
Perez came out and spoke in May, again in New York, in Chicago and again on Tuesday, making comments every time that drew a lot of emotions out of the fans.
“I appreciate his frustration and his desire to win,” Antonetti said. “I wish he would have chosen his forum to do it a little differently.”
One good thing about the comments from Antonetti is that he and the club appears ready to do things differently to move forward.
Many times in the past the Indians have done the “business as usual” way of doing things – not spending money and not taking chances to move ahead.
Thursday the GM said that they will look at the way things are done, and won’t be as conservative in looking to get better.
“In shaping our roster, we need to re-examine our process heading into the winter,” the GM said.
It starts with the manager, and if that manager is Terry Francona, it would change a lot of how the Indians do business moving forward.
The club will sit with possible new manager Terry Francona Friday, and while many think that there is no way he would take the job, Antonetti says that’s not the case.
“It starts with the manager, and I know we are going to select a very capable leader,” Antonetti said. “He’s a very attractive candidate, I don’t think he would be here if he wasn’t interested, and we wouldn’t want to talk to him if he wasn’t interested.”
The club lost 53 of their last 77 games, and had the second lowest winning percentage in the Majors in the second half of the season next to the Astros.
If Antonetti fails to get the manager right, and fails once again for next season to get the players right, he will not be long for the job of GM.
To say that the offeseason for the Indians will be interesting is an understatement.