I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, first and foremost! I hope you spend some quality time with your loved ones during this most special time of year!
I would also like to wish you a Merry Swishmas as we all know what happened yesterday!
I have yet to tweet about the Nick Swisher addition because I have no words to describe my elation at his arrival. I actually jumped around my house and hollered like a small child receiving a new bike or a creepy crawlers bug set. It truly was the best Christmas present I could have received, outside of spending time with loved ones. It was one of the more exciting moments of my Indians fanhood. (By the way, do you know how sad that sounds? The fact that signing Nick Swisher is one of the best moments of my sports fandom is absolutely pathetic.) Nevertheless, it was a Merry Swishmas indeed.
I have ripped apart the Indians front office since the trade deadline last season. I have called Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti cowardly, directionless, and gutless. I have called them heartless, stupid, and lacking. I have called them names that I don’t wish to repeat in this piece. I have ripped them apart time after time, and I had sworn to never have faith in this front office again. They lost my faith and lost my trust a long while ago.
Well, I have to admit, I may be the gutless, heartless, directionless, and cowardly one. I wrote off this front office long ago, and it was something I should not have done.
For Shapiro and Antonetti, it was time to put up or shut up. It was time to get things done or get out of town. Believe me, I was chasing them with a pitchfork and a torch. I wanted them gone faster than they could leave. It’s times like these when I feel like the true idiot of this town.
Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti now deserve our support more than ever. The phone was ringing off of the hook and they answered each and every call. First, they made an amazing move getting rid of Choo and adding the pitching talent the Indians so desperately need. Of course, with Boras at the helm, Choo was not coming back to Cleveland. The Tribe definitely got the right price for Shin-Soo and then some. While Drew Stubbs is definitely not a hitter, he’s a good outielder, far better than Shelley Duncan or Ezequiel Carrera for that matter. They then picked up Trevor Bauer, who will certainly be a project but can also be a very high risk, high reward pick up. In all of this they got rid of Jason Donald, who could seemingly never stay in the big leagues, and kept Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez, who are both very valuable whether in a Tribe uniform or as a part of a trade.
They then nabbed Mark Reynolds to fill the giant hole at first base. Last season, Shapiro and Antonetti made an incredibly dumb move bringing Casey Kotchman to the Indians. While they were running out of options, they brought in a guy who was coming off of a flukey season and provided nothing offensively. Honestly, I would’ve rather seen Matt LaPorta try to finally reach his potential rather than see a middle-aged, over the hump Kotchman man first base each and every game. While Reynolds does strike out a ton, that’s what sluggers do. When Reynolds connects, the ball travels, something you can’t say for Kotchman and/or LaPorta. He’s a much better “experiment” than Kotchman ever was.
The Front Office then impressed me with a low risk, high reward signing in Scott Kazmir. I remember the days when Kazmir was a Cy Young candidate, and he was absolutely dominant. While he has fallen off of the wagon, Kazmir, at 28 years old, can still put it together. This has happened before, where a pitcher goes through an incredibly tough stretch but then puts it all back together. While it may not happen, the signing is well worth the risk.
Finally, Shapiro and Antonetti got their man and they guy I wanted all along in Nick Swisher. Undoubtedly the biggest free agent signing in Cleveland Indians history, Shapiro and Antonetti won back a lot of hearts by signing Swisher, including mine. Swisher is literally everything you can ask for. He has the nostalgic pull as he was born in Columbus, he is a graduate of Ohio State, and is in some ways a “home town” player. He puts up numbers on the baseball field, averaging 28 home runs, 90 RBI, and an .828 ops throughout his career. He will put fans in the seats and will be the face of the franchise, both things that the Indians were lacking. Finally, he fits a need. The Indians needed a power-hitting, right-handed outfielder desperately, and Swisher, (although he is a switch hitter), fits the bill.
Shapiro and Antonetti knew that if they wanted to keep their jobs and turn this ship around, they needed Nick Swisher to join the Tribe. They pulled out all the stops, including the checkbook, and, for once, did everything they could and sealed the deal. It took a while, and put Indians fans through a great deal of anxious moments, but in the end the agony of waiting was well worth it. Nick Swisher is now a Cleveland Indian, and the Indians are finally going to have an exciting team, regardless of win total, to watch every night.
I would like to formally apologize for my statements regarding Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti. I am sorry for my ill-will towards the both of them. They have shown me and the rest of the Cleveland Indians fan base that they are ready to put a winning product on the field, regardless of the cost. They have shown me that they are capable of doing such, and they have shown me that the past is in the past, but the present is at hand. If the Indians are competing for a World Series soon, as they did in the 1990’s, we can say it is all thanks to the front office. They decided that enough was enough. They put their noses to the grindstone and finally worked hard to get the Indians in a good place, both for now and the future. I’m sure this isn’t the end of their endeavors either. I’m sure we’ll see a move or two before Spring Training starts. That’s something I never would have said before this offseason.
Mr. Shapiro, Mr. Antonetti, you may have surpassed Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers as the most exciting team in Cleveland. This offseason you have proven yourselves to be the two bright, diligent, and capable young men that you truly are, not those half-assing cowards of the past. I, on behalf of the fans of the Cleveland Indians, cannot thank you enough for giving this team, and this city, some real hope. Finally, thanks to the both of you, the Indians will be back again! Merry Swishmas!
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove