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Cleveland Indians Preview

ABOUT BASEBALL breaks down & previews the 2005 Cleveland Indians.


2004 Record: 80-82, 3rd place in AL Central
Home Balpark: Jacobs Field
Manager: Eric Wedge

2005 Prediction: 84-78, 2nd in AL Central

Newcomers:
**Darren Bragg(OF) via free agency from Reds
Alex Cora (IF) via free agency from Dodgers
Jose Hernandez (2B) via free agency from Dodgers
Jake Gautreau (IF) via trade from Padres
Juan Gonzalez (OF) via free agency from Royals
Mike Kinkade (OF) via free agency
Kevin Millwood (SP, rhp) via free agency from Philles
Arthur Rhodes (LHP) Via trade with Pirates
**Paul Shuey(RP, rhp) via free agency from Dodgers
**Billy Traber (LHP) via free agency from Red Sox
Chad Zerbe (LHP) via free agency

Gone, Goodbye:
**Jose Jimenez (RP) via free agency to Diamondbacks
Matt Lawton (OF) Via trade with Pirates
John McDonald (SS) via trade to Blue Jays
**Lou Merloni (IF) via free agency to Angels
Josh Phelps (1B) via free agency to Devil Rays
Corey Smith (3B) via trade to Padres
Billy Traber (LHP) Waivers to Red Sox
Omar Vizquel (SS) via free agency to Giants
** Rick White(RP, rhp) via free agency to Pirates

Lineup:
Coco Crisp CF
Aaron Boone 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Victor Martinez C
Casey Blake LF
Ben Broussard 1B
Juan Gonzalez RF
Ronnie Belliard 2B
Jhonny Peralta SS

Rotation:
C.C.

Sabathia LHP
Kevin Millwood RHP
Jake Westbrook RHP
Cliff Lee LHP
Scott Elarton RHP
Bob Wickman RHP - Closer

FUN FACT:
Ex-Cleveland Indian and Rookie of the Year Joe Charboneau served as an "extra" member of the "New York Knights" baseball team in the 1984 movie, "The Natural," starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall.

Outlook: The Indians are widely considered a team on the rise. Sabathia is a strong young ace, and Millwood is quality number 2 starter. Westbrook was an All-Star in '04, and Lee proved to be a reliable lefty. The lineup features several offensive weapons, especially the no. 3 & 4 hitters: Hafner & Martinez. Playoff legend Boone (even though it was only one swing) adds veteran & playoff leadership to a club trying to learn how to win. I like this team, and despite being a National League fan, I'll be cheering them on to what I think could be a second-place finish.

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