Cleveland Sports Insiders

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500 words or less…on Jim Harbaugh and Terry Francona

Happy Harbaugh says no (Photo: Cary Edmondson, USA TODAY Sports)

Happy Harbaugh says no (Photo: Cary Edmondson, USA TODAY Sports)

The Cleveland Indians made a bold move at the tail end of the 2012 MLB season. With Manny Acta losing control of a team with a dearth of talent and depth, Indians’ GM Chris Antonetti fired his first official coaching hire and went for a home run. In his sight was a good friend who just happened to be a former two-time World Champion manager, Terry Francona.

Mark Shapiro will never admit to this, but I firmly believed then (and now) that had Antonetti missed on Francona, he would have followed Manny Acta out the door in quick fashion. I know there are conflicting reports, but you don’t have to use your heads to much to realize just how true it likely was.

Francona signed with the Indians, and the rest is history. The Indians front office went from a local joke to garnering more respect, free agents were signed, and the Indians righted the ship in quick fashion.

Fast Forward to 2013. Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi made a bold move at the tail end of the 2013 NFL season. With Rob Chudzinski reportedly losing control of the Browns’ locker room, the team president and general manager fired their first official coaching hire and apparently went for a home run. In their sight was a coach who had back-to-back trips to the NFC Championship game to go along with a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, Jim Harbaugh.

The deal was more complicated, since Harbaugh still had two seasons left on his contract, and the Browns would have had to offer draft pick compensation, but the theory was still the same. Go out and sign a big name coach, bring respectability on the field to a team that has looked like the Keystone Cops of the NFL, and in turn, save a couple of jobs.

It explains so much.

It explains the firing.

It explains the lag time.

It explains the “patience” from the front office.

Seriously, it was likely Harbaugh or a permanent vacation. There weren’t any other home runs out there to be had, so this was their Terry Francona.

In the end, Harbaugh said no. You can insert 100 reasons why he wouldn’t want to change teams, but it likely started with front office stability (saving Banner and Lombardi meant working for them), ownership stability and a team that will again be knocking on the door of the Super Bowl next season.

Banner and Lombardi likely held on to finish the job of hiring the best coach that would take it, then were relieved of their duties after another failure.

In the end, Pettine was a solid choice, but leave it to the Browns to add this sort of wrinkle and miss into the equation.

But how fun would that have been? Coaching the Browns: Jim Harbaugh. Coaching the Ravens: John Harbaugh. How long would it have been before both were having a sibling throwdown at the fifty-yard line at FirstEnergy Stadium?

We can only dream…

(498 Words)


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The Indians offense is better than you think

Kipnis and Swisher, the ultimate Bro-Hioans (photo: AP)

The Cleveland Indians have a top three offense in 2014, even if the rest of the league doesn’t quite know it yet. The funny part of it all is that the Indians were a top six offense in 2013, and will only get better.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is.

When you look at the Indians offense of 2013, and project it forward to 2014, it’s easy to push it aside as a mediocre club. There really isn’t one player on the roster that you can point to as being dominant.

You can say many kind things about Jason Kipnis, and he’s really, really good, but he’s not become the consistent month-to-month producer yet.

You can say many kind things about Carlos Santana, and he’s the best offensive player on the team, but he’s still not reached his ceiling yet (trust me).

Swisher and Bourn both make a lot of money, but aren’t really in their prime, and never really were players that could carry their club.

Gomes is too young and Brantley just doesn’t have the overall numbers to be that kind of player.

Then you start to look at the team as a whole, and you start to realize that there really is more than meets the eye here. When you take into account that there is more upside than downside to nearly every spot in the lineup, you can really start to see through the shadows and into the sunlight with how far this team can go in 2014

In 2013, the Indians did a lot of things very well offensively. Overall, they scored 745 runs on the season which was sixth in major league baseball, and fifth in the American League. What’s most interesting about their runs scored is that they were consistently in the top ten from month-to-month. Certainly that’s not the end-all and the be-all statistic for how good an offense is, but at the end of the day, the name of the game is scoring runs, and the Indians were very good at that last season.

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12 Days of Christmas at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario

Progressive FieldIt’s Christmas time here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario, and what that means for the Pete household is a respite before loading up the Pete Family Truckster for a criss-crossing, 2000 mile trek up and down the East Coast, taking my family to both Florida and Pennsylvania over the next two weeks.

Trust me when I say that I’ll enjoy the respite of Christmas day with just my family, opening presents, watching 24 hours of a Christmas Story, and hopefully falling asleep at some point around 5:00 P.M.

Hopefully you’ll be doing the same.

With all of that said, it’s Wednesday, and the column must go on. I’ve decided to take a much more relaxed tone this week, and have delved into the land of theme.

With Christmas Day finally here, I’ve decided to go the route of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas for the 2014 Cleveland Indians.’ Oh, I could have rehashed the 2013 season (it certainly would have been easier), but thought it would be fun to take a look into Christmas’ future, rather than Christmas past.

Jeez, I just hope I, or the Indians, don’t bump into the Grim Reaper along the way.

Let’s give this a whirl…

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David Murphy joins the party at the Corner of Carnegie & Ontario

Progressive FieldRumors of the first real move of the offseason were wafting through the air here at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario on Tuesday night when the Indians reportedly came to an agreement with former Texas and Boston outfielder David Murphy.

The rumors proved to be fact as the hours passed by into Wednesday, as Jordan Bastian broke the official word on Twitter that the Indians had signed Murphy to a two-year, $10-ish million dollar contract.

The game is on this offseason.

First moves always bring out first emotions.

It’s inevitable.

Fans don’t know the complete picture yet for the Indians front office heading into 2014, and when you combine fan expectations with the unknown of free agency and the hot stove season, you get early conclusions.

I, for one, love them all, and David Murphy certainly brings out those conclusions.

Before we get into that though, who exactly is David Murphy?
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