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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Indians Signing of Sizemore Further Brightens Tribe Future

The Cleveland Indians announced on WTAM 1100 in Cleveland this morning that they have agreed to terms with CF Grady Sizemore for a 6-year contract with a club option for a 7th year. This marks the 2nd big singing for the Tribe this spring and the 5th in the past two years. Last year the Indians locked up DH/1B Travis Hafner through 2007 and both C Victor Martinez and SP C.C. Sabathia through 2008. Then, earlier this spring, the Indians signed SS Jhonny Peralta to a long-term deal as well, after Peralta set a team record for HR by a shortstop during his first full major league season in 2005. With all of these signings in place, the Tribe is now setting their attention towards lefty starter Cliff Lee.

Since moving to Northeast Ohio in late July of 2004, I have followed the Indians very closely. As time goes by, I have become more and more jealous of how they run their team. I grew up a huge Reds fan, and while I still love my Reds (and always will), I love how the Tribe has brought in so much young talent, and how they’ve also been able to continue to develop young talent while locking up the cornerstones of their future.

The Indians will possibly have the best AAA team in the Minor leagues this year in Buffalo. I have to give Mark Shapiro and company a lot of credit; this Cleveland front office knows what they are doing. As long as Sizemore does not fall into a terrible “sophomore slump,” and with his speed and hustle he should be able to avoid such slumps by getting on base in a variety of ways, this may be the best signing so far by the Tribe. Sizemore is not only loved for his play on the field, but pink shirts the read “Mrs. Sizemore” popped up all over Jacobs Field last year as the ladies seem to be infatuated with the young Indians outfielder.

So Indians fans, if you’re not yet convinced that the Indians have a bright future then I guess you really aren’t paying attention very closely. I’ve heard “fans” who love to be negative on the radio talk shows, who I think are missing the point. Take a look around Major League Baseball and look at the situations that other clubs have to deal with. The Indians are near the top, considering their nucleus of young talent and their smart business in signing young stars to long term deals. After winning 93 games last year the Tribe will have high expectations in 2006, but with their core in place they should be able to remain a consistent contender.

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