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Cleveland Drops Nickname and Payroll, Can They Win Now?

The Cleveland Indians recently announced that they will be renaming the team after the 2021 season. But more will change before then.

Jose Ramirez by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cleveland Drops Nickname and Payroll, Can They Win Now?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The Cleveland Indians recently announced that they will be renaming the team after the 2021 season. So far, public opinion seems to be in favor of “The Cleveland Spiders” or “The Cleveland Baseball Team”, but there’s one they should really consider.

“The Cleveland Shane Biebers.”

The Cleveland Baseball Team

2020: Record: 35 – 25

2020 Finish: 1st in the AL Central, 5th in the American League

Surprises in 2020

Shane Bieber was the be-all, end-all of starting pitchers in 2020. He led all of MLB in a slew of categories, including ERA (1.63), ERA+ (281), strikeouts (122), and strikeouts/9 (14.2). That’s not all, as Bieber also posted an 8-1 record, and led the league in WAR. Want to know what suffocation looks like? Bieber allowed just 14 earned runs in 77.1 innings pitched and struck out 10 batters in 8 of his 12 starts.

Sure, 2020 was a sprint as opposed to a marathon. But it’s still as dominant a 12 game stretch as we have ever seen. There’s no denying Bieber did everything in his power to ensure he’s the first unanimous Cy Young winner in baseball since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

On the other side of the ball is Cesar Hernandez, the former Phillies second baseman who was scooped up in the offseason to replace Jason Kipnis at second base.

Hernandez was by far the most consistent hitter on the Cleveland roster, and while he doesn’t hit with power, he doesn’t need to. As a leadoff hitter, Hernandez’s job was to get on base and get home without getting out. The player driven in the most by José Ramirez and Francisco Lindor? Cesar Hernandez. The guy was found money for Cleveland in 2020.

Disappointments in 2020

It was clear from the jump that Cleveland wasn’t going to be pushing themselves towards any kind of playoff push anytime soon. The AL Central has been abysmal until the Twins came out of hibernation. As the rest of the division begins to stir, Cleveland seems to be retreating into their cave to regenerate and rebuild.

That’s a bummer, considering that the pieces of the 2016 World Series team are flourishing elsewhere. The 2020 Cleveland Baseball Team might be as good as it’s going to get for a while, and that’s going to have to be okay.

Looking Ahead to 2021

It’s going to be a bumpy ride for a bit in Cleveland. Carlos Carrasco and Francisco Lindor are already gone. The payroll is already being broadcast as one of the lowest in the league, and the rest of the division is on the come-up.

It might not just be the name that’s changing in Cleveland, it might be the entire organization before we see this team back in the playoffs.

Projected 2021 Finish: 75-87, 3rd in the AL Central

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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