The whole team is now here in Goodyear, but this isn't your old time Tribe. Travis Hafner's decade of destruction is over (started by destroying pitchers, ended by destroying his ligaments), replaced financially by the new giant contract of Nick Swisher. Fausto Carmona, Shin-Soo Choo, Tony Sipp and Rafael Perez are also gone after being mainstays for the last five years. Some minor players are gone as well, including Jason Donald and Jack Hannahan, both replaced by Mike Aviles (who came from Toronto in exchange for Esmil Rogers). The Indians also finally gave up Grady Sizemore, releasing him to the world after two extremely disappointing seasons. This was the largest purge of long term players since the initial destruction of the 1990's power Indians in 2002 (noteables included Jim Thome, Charles Nagy, Bartolo Colon, Einar Diaz and Paul Shuey). The era after that now seems to have come full circle as Hafner and Sizemore each came to the team during the 2002 trades (for Diaz and Colon).
Going into Spring Training 2013 the focus will be on the young stars. Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall will be the foundation of the infield while Carlos Santana provides some power behind the plate. This Spring will mark a transition for those players as they will be cemented as starters before the year even begins. The young players in the bullpen are also exciting including Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith and Chris Perez, ensuring there will still be a home grown aspect to the team.
This is also one of the biggest groups of new players coming in recent years with more new free agent signings than any offseason in recent memories. The Indians have given multi-million dollar contracts to Nick Swisher, Michael Bourne, Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers. Two big trades brought in the rest of the new players with Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes coming in from Toronto while Drew Stubbs, Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw all came in the Choo deal.
Indians pitchers warm up before fielding practice.
Vinnie Pestano, the man on the mound, in front of the mountain.