Uncertainty looms, as Indians hope to benefit from delay

The Tribe dealt with plenty of injuries in spring training

James Rapien
March 15, 2020 - 10:11 am
Chris Antonetti and Terry Francona

James Rapien - 92.3 The Fan

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CLEVELAND, OH — Major League Baseball has put its’ season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Some believe the delay of the start of the year could help the Indians, who are hoping to win their fourth division title in five seasons.

Here are two reasons why the delay could benefit the Tribe:

Injuries Aplenty

Key members of the Indians suffered injuries during spring training. Mike Clevinger, 29, underwent knee surgery last month. Giving him extra time to heal has to be considered a positive.

The Indians will rely on Shane Bieber and Clevinger more than ever once the season begins. Having a healthy ‘sunshine’ is a game changer.

The delay also allows Carlos Carrasco to rest. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is dealing with elbow inflammation after only making on start this spring.

Carrasco battled chronic myeloid leukemia last season. He's hoping to re-join the starting rotation after making 11 relief appearances last September.

Outfielder Oscar Mercado should also benefit from the extra time. He suffered a sprained left wrist earlier this month. His Opening Day availability was in doubt.

Other injuries include Emmanuel Clase (back) and Tyler Naquin (knee). Clase is expected to be out until July (or longer) after straining the Teres major muscle in his upper back. 

 Naquin is still recovering from ACL surgery, but has made progress and could make himself a part of the Indians’ crowded outfield.

March Baseball

Does anyone in Cleveland like baseball in March? There was outrage when MLB announced that the Indians would begin the season at home on March 26.

Baseball is hard to play or watch when it’s cold and damp outside. It could be much warmer when the season actually starts, which should make all Tribe fans and players happy.

The Indians are notorious for getting off to slow starts under manager Terry Francona. No one in the organization blames the weather, but it’s hard to imagine Mother Nature not having something to do with it.

A delay to the start of the season could mean fewer games, which would give the Tribe less time to makeup for a slow start. The risk could be worth it, considering they should be healthier than they are now and will be able to play in better weather.

This delay is unprecedented, not only for baseball, but for the entire sports world.

Everyone expects the season to begin, but no one knows when it’ll happen. It’s almost a certainty that the delay will last much longer than two weeks.

A May 1 start to the season seems like an optimistic outlook, but it may not be realistic. 

We're all waiting for more answers and clarity on the situation. In the meantime, the Indians can get healthy and hopefully begin the year in a better spot than they would've been in on March 26.