Jul 5, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; A fan cheers on the Cleveland Indians during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Paul recaps the present situation, from the team's needs to how the organization is viewed by the fanbase. This is going to be a very tricky next 3-4 months to navigate for the organization, as the Indians will not only need to win, but also to wake the fanbase from an apathetic slumber. Free transportation and reduced concessions may have some effect, but it shouldn't really come to that; the team is in contention after the All-Star Break, and there's been many instances, including most notably last season, where a team seemingly mired in mediocrity can win the whole thing. MLB isn't the NBA, where only a couple teams have legitimate chances to win the whole thing; every team who makes the playoffs in baseball can win it. The Indians are removing one of the excuses fans are giving for not coming down to the park, but I think it's a rather hollow excuse given how cheap going to a baseball game is versus any of the other major sports.
This season Aguilar has greatly improved his plate discipline numbers from a year ago, and is still hitting for power. But unlike Lindor, I wouldn't hesitate to trade him if he brings back a player the Indians can use this year, even if it's just a rental; his best position is DH, and his swing looks like it could be exploited at higher levels. The problem is finding a club that both has something the Indians want and thinks Aguilar can be a middle-of-the-order major-league player.
Baseball was I believe the first league to really push the off-season happenings with the Hot Stove League trade season, but the other professional leagues are finding ways to keep in the public eye even in the off-season. The NFL Combine was once covered by a couple paragraphs in your local newspaper; now it's televised, and one of the major events in the runup to the NFL Draft, itself a major sports event.