Well, if you're a casual Indians fan - meaning that you turned off the TV in September and only peripherally paid attention to the club over the winter - this post is for you. After scanning through this post, you can be reasonably caught to current events. I can't guarantee that you'll be an expert on all things Indians, but at least you'll know who the main players are.
- After a disastrous August and September, the Indians fired Manny Acta a week before the end of the season. Sandy Alomar became interim manager, and was the favorite to replace Acta.
- Seemingly out of nowhere, former Red Sox manager (and two-time World Series champion) Terry Francona became interested in the job. He was hired.
- DH Travis Hafner, CF Grady Sizemore, RHP Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez, 3B Jack Hannahan, LHP Rafael Perez, 1B Casey Kotchman, and LF Shelley Duncan, among others, were let go.
- RHP Ubaldo Jimenez's option was picked up, because it was so afforable.
- Indians traded RHP Esmil Rogers for IF Mike Aviles and C/IF Yan Gomes. Aviles would make the club as backup middle infielder.
- After much speculation, the Indians made a three-way trade with Cincinnati and Arizona in which they traded Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald to Cincinnati and Tony Sipp to Arizona and received back top pitching prospect RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Matt Alber, and RHP Bryan Shaw from Arizona and OF Drew Stubbs. Stubbs will start in right field, Albers and Shaw will be in the bullpen, and Bauer will go to Columbus for now.
- Mark Reynolds was signed to provide right-handed power. He'll be the DH.
- RHP Brett Myers was signed to help with the rotation.
- The Indians made their biggest free agent signing in team history, inking OF Nick Swisher to a four-year deal. He'll play first base for the Indians. He says "bro" a lot. He also was the one behind the Harlem Shake video you might have seen.
- The Indians signed DH Jason Giambi, IF Ryan Raburn, LHP Rich Hill, and LHP Scott Kazmir to minor-league deals. All have made the club. Giambi and Raburn will be on the bench, Hill will be in the bullpen, and Kazmir will be in the rotation.
- At the last moment the Indians signed top free agent Michael Bourn, which was totally unexpected. He's the starting center fielder, and is as good on defense and on the base paths as Kenny Lofton in his prime. He's not as good as Lofton with the bat, though.
- OF Ezequiel Carrera and LHP David Huff didn't make the team. They've been designated for assignment because they were out of options.
- Giambia and Kazmir aren't on the roster today, but will be added by the end of the week. Carlos Carrasco is on the roster, but only to serve a suspension from back in 2011.
- Thanks to all these changes, fans are excited about this team again, and ticket sales are up. Plus beer and hot dogs are cheaper.
Whew. That's a lot of information to digest, but you'll get the hang of it after a couple games. Here's the Opening Day 25-man roster. Remember, Carrasco is on here because he's suspended, and Scott Kazmir will take his place:
OK, you're ready for the regular season!