First of all, thank you to all who entered.
The entry period is over, and now it's time for the LGT readers to pick the winner of the contest. Because there were five entries, all five will make the final vote.
Please vote for the FanPost that you feel is the best of the finalists. Voting will be closed tonight at midnight. Whoever receives the most votes will receive an Amazon $50 Gift Card, and whoever receives the second-most votes will receive an Amazon $25 Gift Card.
Here, in no particular order, are the five finalists:
To Move or Not to Move, by Joel D:
If there's one thing I've learned from watching the Indians these 26 years of my life - other than perhaps that this is Dad's passive-aggressive revenge on us for all the stress we caused him - it's that "next year" is never guaranteed. Since the last gasp of the great teams of the nineties, the success of the Tribe has been more or less predicated on two things: the development of young players, and the bullpen. This year is no different.
The problem with building a team around the bullpen is that it is just about the most volatile element of a baseball team. If a bullpen goes bad, a decent ball club can look horrible through little fault of its own. In high-leverage situations, a relatively small number of runs surrendered can have a huge impact on a team's record. We all saw that happen in 2006, when a bad bullpen went a long way towards making our actual records 11 games worse than our pythagorean record and erasing the promise of the 2005 campaign.the team regrouped in 2007 with Raffies L and R carrying the mail, a stunningly effective season from Aaron Fultz, and the 29.1 innings of Jensen Lewis's life......
So: I’m GM of the Cleveland Indians, and with five days left before the trading deadline I am absolutely sweating through my breathable polos. I probably wasted the better part of two weeks haggling with men like Ed Wade and Andrew Friedman for players that are going to end up being far more expensive than they’re worth to my team. And during that time, the likelihood that the 2011 Indians just aren’t a playoff team grew closer and closer to reality.
My position is one that most of us seem to share and baseball writers have hinted at: The Indians aren’t going to break the bank this year. The targeted move would appear to be one that costs little in terms of prospects, especially prospects reasonably close to contributing. This is not to say the Indians aren’t going for it; they very much are. Shapiro recently said that as promising as the foundation looks, he doesn’t want to make the mistake of assuming this the beginning of a window. I’m paraphrasing, but he was very direct that a team must take advantage of every opportunity available to make the playoffs. Not only has history suggested that overmatched teams can still make deep playoff runs, but there’s a huge long-term financial incentive for a low-revenue team to win this division....
The Big Deals, by Gradyforpresident
For an inexplicable reason I'm leaning toward the Indians making a bigger splash than we expect. It's obvious that the Indians have vast problems in run producing, but I wouldn't shy away from saying there is also a lot of value to gain in terms of additional run prevention.
That being said, I do expect Antonetti to make a move for some sort of offensive piece. Nick has put forth a very strong case for Melky Cabrera and I'm inclined to think he's spot on, which in reality means it probably won't happen. Honestly, I haven't looked at any rumors at all so I'm not certain who we've been linked with, but I would guess any move the front office is making is off the media's radar....
Antonetti speaks!, by Chemo
I’m Chris Antonetti, ladies, and I'm here to save this team. Believe me when I say I’ve done all I could do for these losers so far. Oh, I’ve tried everything. I cajoled some big hits out of Orlando Cabrera. I picked Travis Buck off the scrap heap and proved that there was a 78 OPS+ lurking inside that kid. I took a middling relief prospect named Vinnie and taught him an ancient Antonetti family secret – how to hide a fastball. I punched Larry Dolan over and over until one last nickel crawled out of his 80-year-old pocket, and then I used that nickel to sign an eight-year-old Dominican boy who can take a walk. I traded my left kidney to put a voodoo curse on Adam Dunn, and I got the witch doctor to throw in a couple months of decent production from Jack Hanahan, because I’m that damn good....
Matt Y. as Armchair GM, by Matt Y.
So here we are, a game out of first place in late July. We are contending a year earlier than we had planned; however, the team's play over the past two months has put a big damper on our hopes. As the Indians' GM, I want to improve the team and give us as strong a chance to make the playoffs as possible, without crippling our farm system's ability to supply us with talent in future seasons. Even if we improve the team, we may not succeed this season, and if the farm system has been decimated, then I as the GM will really be in a pickle. On the other hand, you must make an effort to take advantage of the opportunities that you have, for you cannot count on the future. While we think this is the beginning of a window, 2007 was also supposed to be the beginning of a window, and we know what happened after that.
What to do?