One Pound of Sadness – Grading the Browns Draft

In this installment of One Pound of Sadness, I’m going to grade each draft pick individually, then give an overall grade to the total draft.

Round 1:
Pick: Barkevius Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Grade: A

Mingo is a beast.  Anyone who questions this pick because of his relatively low weight for a hybrid DE/OLB has never seen him play.  He’s got moves, he’s got incredible speed (4.52 40 time), and a vicious tenacity in pass rush.  He is a stud, and should immediately impact the Browns pass rush.

Round 2: 
Pick:  Josh Gordon, WR (supplemental pick in 2012)
Grade:  A+

Its kind of cheating, being able to evaluate Gordon’s selection in last years supplemental draft against his value as a 2nd rounder this season.  Look, I have no doubt if every team in the NFL knew going in to the draft that Gordon would be as good as he is, he would be a first round pick.  So, being able to get a first round talent for a second round pick is a win to me.  Gordon stands to be the Browns premier WR for years to come.

Round 3:
Pick:  Leon McFadden, CB, San Deigo State
Grade:  B-

I don’t love McFadden, but with a team so light on true CB talent, he should be able to fight for a starting spot.  Fortunately for McFadden, if he wins the job, he’ll have Joe Haden taking the heat off by covering opposing teams #1 WR’s.  I do think that we can expect McFadden to start, and comparing him to Brown/Skrine in the same spot, I think he’ll be an upgrade.  I doubt he’s going to dazzle us, but he should do alright.

Round 4 & 5:

Pick:  Traded down with Miami to aquire Devone Bess
Grade:  A+

The Browns aquired veteran WR Devone Bess, dropping a total of 11 spots in two rounds.  Bess is exactly what the Browns need at receiver, a proven veteran with top notch production to round out their receiving corps.  He’s a proven set of hands, excellent in the slot, and not actually giving anything up for him makes this move one of the steals of the draft in my opinion.

Pick:  Traded 4th Round Pick to Pittsburgh for 3rd Round Pick in 2014 AND 5th Round Pick to Indianapolis for 4th Round Pick in 2014
Grade:  A

Trading picks is never a fun thing to watch, but it made a whole lot of sense in this draft.  No sure fire talent was left by the time the Browns picks rolled around in the 4th round, so getting an upgraded pick from two teams in what is sure to be a deeper draft next year is golden.  Well played Brownies, well played.

Round 6:
Pick: Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame
Grade: C-

This is when the Browns started to go off the rails a bit. Slaughter is okay, not really good. He’s coming off missing all but three games last season from injury. I expect him to compete, but not start. He does little to add depth in my opinion.

Round 7:
Pick: Armonty Bryant, DT/DE/OLB, East Central (OK) University
Grade: F

Bryant was arrested, twice, in October for attempting to sell marijuana to undercover police officers. He also recently had labrum surgery. He has the raw materials, he’s 6’4″, 264 lbs, but has too much baggage, even for a 7th rounder. Bad call Browns.

Pick: Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State
Grade: B

I really like this pick, and kind of feel like we stole Gilkey this late. He has the size, strength and skill set to move to Guard and possibly start this season for the Browns. There aren’t many 7th rounders who can say that they have a legit shot at starting their rookie season, thus the reason I feel the Browns got such a deal here.

Overall Draft Grade: B

This was a good, not great draft. The Browns added another fantastic pass rusher in Mingo, possible starters at CB and OL in McFadden and Gilkey, an elite WR talent in Gordon, a veteran WR in Bess, and 2 upgraded extra picks next year. The Slaughter pick is a little bit of a headscratcher (when Baccari Rambo was still available), and the Bryant pick is a little bit of a waste from my perspective. Overall though, the Browns did alright.


Transcript from Post Draft News Conference with Joe Banner and Coach Chud

Here is the full press transcript from the news conference held with Browns CEO Joe Banner and Head Coach Rob Chudzinski from immediately after the 2013 NFL Draft.

Joe Banner

(Opening statement)- “A couple things I think you already know. We signed (Davone) Bess to a three-year contract extension, so including the year he already has that’s four years. We have agreements with, we won’t have them signed so we won’t release any of the names yet, 17 undrafted free agents. We’ll get you those names as soon as we get the contracts back but until we do that we don’t want to put them out. That probably won’t be until tomorrow morning. We’re still working, we probably have two more spots to fill. I just want to talk a little philosophically about what we did. We view Bess as part of the draft and we were fortunate being able to trade back a couple spots to acquire him, keep the same number of picks and then as you know we were able to take those picks and trade them for future picks. The philosophy really is to treat everything we have, whether it’s a draft pick, an undrafted free agent, cap space, whatever it is as an asset and try to maximize the value we can get for it. We took our fourth round pick for example, traded back to pay for part of Bess and then traded that for a future third round pick. We feel like, for a fourth round pick that’s about as much value as you can possibly hope to get. He’s a good player, still good enough to contribute for a while. Again, he’s very high character, all the things that we keep talking about that we’re looking for. Then we were able to trade the pick and have the asset of a third round pick next year. That’s how we’re thinking about those things, what’s the best value that we can get out of each of those assets, with having in mind the idea of building a really good team over two to three years as opposed to just worrying about filling every single need that we could identify for this moment. That’s just kind of an overview behind the moves you saw us make today.”

Joe Banner

(On if they stuck with their plan going into the draft)-“We were open to the idea of trading for future picks if we could get the right value, but we also went in, I mean frankly I think if you had asked us this morning we would have thought we were going to use those picks. We thought we had good players identified but you start getting into the fourth and fifth round, I’m not going to tell you they’re guys you know that are going to be stars. But as we were able to go through and finalize the best trades, we were a little further in the fourth round as we got an offer that we thought was really good value for the pick as we looked at who was available, I think we had open mindedness about that possibility and then made the decision to use it that way.”

Joe Banner

(On if the plan all along was to improve the defense in free agency and the draft)- “Yeah, to a degree. We were trying to focus on making sure we got players that we thought made us better. I think the difference is on offense we think we have a lot of young guys who are not quite sure what they are going to be over time. So we were inclined to give them some time and see how they develop and then we’ll be able to identify where we’re at. On defense, we felt it was clear to identify what talent was out there, what talent we had, match it up with the philosophy we’ve been talking about and make some moves that will make the team better. It was a little bit of both.”

Joe Banner

(On why they traded with the Steelers who initiated it)-“We had so many causable trades. I think they called us first. Although we had multiple trade offers for that pick, including other teams offering the same thing and we felt that was the best trade to make. Time will tell who got the better of the deal.”

Joe Banner

(On if they have a philosophical problem trading within their division)- “I’m going to sound, I don’t know where this is going to lead, but I prefer to trade within the division. You don’t make a trade that you don’t think you’re winning. So if you’re winning a trade in your own division you’re even better than winning a trade in another division. Obviously, that can burn you from time to time. If you look in Philadelphia, we traded (Donovan) McNabb to the Redskins and everybody thought, ‘Oh my god. What are they doing? They are giving a quarterback to a team in the division.’ We thought we strengthened the Eagles, and in time we didn’t really do anything that helped the competitors. We try to make the best deal, it didn’t really matter who it was, but we’re also not afraid at all of making a trade within the division if we think it benefits us.”

Joe Banner

(On if the trade with the Steelers had anything to do with the Giants’ trade before that pick)- “That trade had nothing to do with anything other than our board and our own value.”

Joe Banner

(On if they had other 2014 third round offers for their fourth round pick)- “I don’t want to get that specific, but other offers that involved future picks. There were other opportunities.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On Jamoris Slaughter)- “Just looking at Jamoris, we felt good looking at his film from the year before, not this past season. Obviously, he is coming off the injury. We felt good medically from the research that we had done and he’ll be back at full speed. That’s still going to take a little time in him getting back into it, but we saw a player who was extremely productive, and very versatile that played on the slot, been able to cover people man to man and also blitzed and played back deep. He’d been able to do a number of different things and we really liked the player we saw at that particular time, and projecting forward, that he we would be able to be in the mix and be able to compete for the safety positions.”

Joe Banner

(On why they would draft a player coming off an Achilles injury after they cut Chris Gocong who had the same injury)- “I think the difference is player evaluation in terms of we are picking the in the sixth round and we feel like we have a player who has a chance to be a contributor – much more than you would get in the sixth round. Our medical staff was very optimistic about the medical part of it. We thought this would be good value.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On Tashaun Gipson)- “Well from what we have been able to see – very positive on Tashaun and his work ethic and how he has approached things out on the field. He has some good instincts as a player and solid skills. Again, he’s a younger guy and we will see once we get into pads and into real football, how he looks.”

Joe Banner

(On if there is any worry that the focus is already down the road when the 2013 season is coming up)- “We are not asking for a free pass for this year. We expect to improve. We expect it to be conspicuous. As you look at the individual players we added and the way the coaches bring them together and get them in sync, we are not saying that we don’t expect to be better. We are not going to reach all of our goals or fill all of our needs this year. But we think we will play exciting, aggressive football. I think it will be clear that the team is continuing to improve as I think it has for the last year or two and positioning itself well to have a chance to become very good and sustain it.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if he has a different view because he is trying to win next year as a coach)- “Our goal is to win and it always will be. We will approach it from that standpoint. I want us to progress and improve on a daily basis. That is always the focus of a coach, you are focusing on today and improving today. That is the approach that we have taken up to this point with our guys and we will continue to approach it that way.”

Joe Banner

(On the quarterback situation)- “Quarterback is an important position. We are always going to be open to looking at the position. We are always going to be evaluating everybody and every option there is to get stronger there. That’s just a matter of organizational philosophy.”

Rob Chudzinski

“As far as the draft goes, I think the value and the ranking and rating and how we had players stacked with the timing of when the draft was just didn’t match up. As far as the guys that are here, I want to see and we want to give them every opportunity to improve. They have ability and we are excited about them as players to see them grow and how they progress in the system. We feel good about the group that we have.”

Joe Banner

(On if the Giants trading in front of them impacted them trading in the fourth round)- “I answered that question before, the players picked in front of us and around us had no impact on the decision to go ahead and make that trade.”

Joe Banner

(On if Jimmy Haslam was actively involved in the draft)-“He’s actively involved in his way, which I think I’ve described. He holds everybody to a high standard. He asks a lot of very good, very smart questions that are good things to make sure we think through. He is a very positive energy and force to have around. Everyone feels like we have his support. He just uplifts, you’ve been around him, he up lifts the energy around him. He is just a very positive, happy guy. He was here all weekend and it was great to have him.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On having inexperienced players at wide receiver)- “We feel good about that group. There are young players who have ability and talent. We would like to give them the opportunity to develop them and work with them. We were talking a little about Josh Gordon who was basically our second round pick this year. He is a young guy. Davone, we were able to get. We’re excited about him. He is a proven guy in this guy and has been very productive. He’s a guy that can win matchups and help you win particularly in critical situations in games. You look at Greg Little and the improvement he has been making. Travis Benjamin and his speed and some of the things he brings. It’s a group that we’ve had a chance to see a little bit on the field that we are excited about. I would say the same thing about the tight ends. That’s what we do as coaches is take those guys who may not have the experience right now and work with them to improve and get better. They need to get better in a hurry and am confident in our coaching staff that we will get that done.”

Joe Banner

“We think of our draft as the five players we drafted plus Gordon plus Bess plus two quality future draft picks. When you look, before the (Colt) McCoy trade we have six draft picks. What value did we turn that into? It’s Gordon, Bess, plus the players we picked, plus the two future assets that we have acquired and hopefully some good decisions with the undrafted guys. Almost every one of the really good teams in the league has some undrafted players that have cone through and contributed to the team. We view the last couple hours as an important part of the draft as well.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On Armonty Bryant)- “As you looked at Armonty on tape and we’ve had a chance to study him – actually Joe Cullen went out and worked him out as well. So we got to know him a little bit better than the cursory glance at a guy. He’s an explosive, speed off the edge, good sized defensive end who can apply pressure to the quarterback. He’d be that type of player in our scheme. He can put weight on. I think he is 265 or somewhere in that range. He has a big frame and is real raw. He’s a guy that you look at that you are excited about what he can be if he develops and works at it. Through the course of looking into his background with Coach Cullen out there, as well as our scouting staff, we felt like he is passed the mistakes that he has made and ready to move on. He has matured.”

Joe Banner

(On the philosophy of drafting two Division II players and how he found them)- “This is mostly the work of Michael Lombardi, Jon Sandusky, John Spytek, Ray Farmer and the rest of the crew. They did a great job getting us ready for this. It’s a matter of leaving no stone unturned. Sometimes you can find value in those spots. They found them, they identified them, we went through the process with the scouts and the coaches evaluated them. We felt they had a chance to help us and we went ahead.”

Joe Banner

(On if there is more concern because they are taking a bigger leap from Division II)- “There is a little bit more of a projection when you do that. You trust yourself, we had a lot of eyes on it and a lot of opinions. Probably had at least five scouts and two to three coaches on every single player that we seriously considered. Maybe even more on some cases. You just have to trust that collective wisdom.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if not drafting a quarterback shows commitment to Brandon Weeden)- “Again, I feel good about the group. How all that plays out, we’ll see and know in time. I’m excited about Brandon and the progress he has made thus far, learning the system to the point we are right now, which is still very early. I’ve also been pleased with Jason (Campbell) and the role he has taken in being there. We want to give these guys every opportunity to succeed and give Brandon, since you are asking about him specifically, every opportunity to succeed.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if they are moving forward with the intent that Weeden is the guy)- “We’re going to proceed as we are proceeding right now. Brandon is getting the reps with the first team and working with the first group. A lot of this will remain to be seen. We get into pads and we get into real football instead of the football where you run around in shorts on air, which is what we are doing right now.”

Joe Banner

(On if he can say now whether or not Josh Gordon was worth the second round pick)- “My answer is the same as it was. I think Josh has a lot of potential and we are excited about what he can do. We’re all going to see how he develops and what he can turn into. In the end that question will answer itself, I think. We’re certainly rooting for him to prove that was a great decision.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if Garrett Gilkey is a guard or tackle- “He has played tackle and then played guard in the Senior Bowl. He has played some of both so we’ll see when he gets in. He has played primarily on the left side and we’ll see if he can play on the right side. We’ll see when he gets in.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On if Bryant is an outside linebacker or defensive end)-“More defensive end.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On what he liked about Gilkey)- “Big guy, good size, has really good feet for a big man and can bend very well. He went into the Senior Bowl and played very well against those guys and competed. Coming from Chadron State and competed against those guys. He has lined up against guys from Florida State, North Carolina and everywhere else and looked like he fit right in. It didn’t faze him one bit. He’s a tough guy and has the kind of attitude that we want.”

Rob Chudzinski

(On Gilkey’s past health conditions)- “We did all the research on him and we felt good about that.”

Joe Banner

(On their reaction to Quentin Groves)- “I think we said all there is to say about it. We’re aware of it, we’ve spoken to him. Chud has met with him extensively. There’s really nothing more to add to that.”

Browns Draft Recap

Here’s a complete list of the Browns 2013 Draft Tally.  This list may get some updates tomorrow as more signings are announced.

1st Round:  Barkevius Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
2nd Round:  Josh Gordon (supplemental from 2012 draft),
3rd Round:  Leon McFadden, CB, San Deigo State.
4th Round:  Traded to Steelers for 3rd Round pick in 2014 draft.
5th Round:  Traded to Colts for 4th Round pick in 2014 draft.
6th Round:  Jamoris Slaughter, S, ND
7th Round:  Armonty Bryant, DL, ECU and Garrett Gilkey, OL, Chadron State.

Undrafted Free Agents:
Jamaine Cook, RB, Youngstown State
Travis Tannahill, TE, Kansas State
Dave Kruger, DT, Utah
Ricky Tunstall, DB, Delaware
Aaron Adams, OT, Eastern Kentucky
Josh Aubrey, DB, Stephen F. Austin
Braxston Cave, C, Notre Dame
Ryan Aplin, QB, Arkansas State
Perez Ashford, WR, Northern Illinois
Dominique Croom, WR, Central Arkansas
Cordell Roberson, WR, Stephen F. Austin
Chris Faulk, OL, LSU
Mike Edwards, WR, UTEP
Garrett Hoskins, TE, Eastern Michigan
Martin Wallace, OT, Temple
Justin Staples, DE, Illinois
Ryan McWethy, S, Wisconsin-Platteville
Mike Niam, LB, Wofford
Caylin Hauptmann, OL, FIU

Shawn Rants: The Firing of Cavs Coach Byron Scott

So, most of you who know me, and if you don’t know me that well you can read through a few of my posts here or my replies on the PoS Facebook page, and you’ll know that I don’t give much slack to losers.  By that I mean, if you can’t produce results, I tend not to buy into the excuse that you’re “making progress”.  I called for Pat Shurmur to be removed very early in his brief tenor as Browns Head Coach, I called for Mike Brown to be fired shortly after the Cavs got knocked out of the Celtics in the playoffs (the first time), and I am quick to call for the Browns to move on past QB’s who aren’t going to cut it long term (*cough* Weeden *cough*).  So, before you read the rest of this, know this.  I do not hold the usual “hope for mediocrity” mantra that most Cleveland fans are satisfied with.  I don’t want a watchable product, I don’t want a team that plays with “competitiveness” while losing.  I don’t believe that any city with that attitude deserves or will ever have a long term winner.  Dynasty are not built on excuses, they are produced with consistent improvement and results.


That being said, dynasties and championship caliber teams are not built overnight.  They are not built with confused team philosophies, and they are rarely produced with constant turnover.  This brings me to now former Cavs Head Coach Byron Scott.  The official reason the organization gave for firing Coach Scott was his inability to manage an effective defense during his time as head coach.  Further, looking at his abysmal win-loss ratio (he only won 27% of his games as head coach with the Cavs), the reasons for pulling the trigger on firing him were clearly in place.  That being said, I think we can all agree that Coach Scott did the Cavs a favor by even agreeing to coach this team in the first place.  Lebron was clearly on his way out the door, way before they even fired Mike Brown.  And while fans may have not allowed themselves to believe it, the front office HAD to know, if for no reason other than Lebron’s refusal to talk deal with them.  Coach Scott knew he was going to take over a league worst team when he agreed to take the job.  He was given assurances that if the unthinkable happened, if the best player in the league bolted, he would be given time to coach up a young team through the draft.  This is the reason the Cavs tapped Coach Scott in the first place, he has an excellent pedigree for mentoring and coaching young players.  And to that end, he’s done a really admirable job.  Kyrie has a ton of natural talent, but he has clearly been given guidance along the way.  Dion Waiters was far from a sure thing (still is), and Tristan Thompson wasn’t supposed to be as good as he has emerged this past season.  Coach Scott has one of the leagues youngest teams, and although the wins-losses aren’t in his favor, the improvement in individual and team performances are.

Lets look at facts.  Most of the teams that play outstanding defense in the NBA are veteran teams.  The Celtics, the Spurs, the Bulls, even the hated Heat.  Even the excellent teams that are young don’t play great defense.  Look at the Thunder.  No one can question their ability to score, but they are extremely soft on the defensive side of the court.  The Cavs have far less depth and experience, and their defense isn’t much worse than the Thunder.  A lot of the Cavs defensive woes can be chalked up to inexperience and youth, and signing a few veteran free agents, while continuing to let their budding young stars grow would cover a host of failures there.
The Cavs set a 5 year minimum time frame on rebuilding in the post-Lebron era.  They gave Coach Scott 3 years, and he’s done about as well as anyone could have in my opinion.  The young guys love playing for him, and he clearly has their respect.  Now the rumor is the Cavs are trying to bring back in Mike Brown, I suppose in hopes of his inability to connect with players being a willing scapegoat for when Kyrie takes the first ticket out of the frozen city.  Because the truth is, Mike Brown may coach good defense, but he’s about as inept a coach offensively as you’ll find in the NBA.  Worse, he has zero charisma, and players don’t want to play for him, nor do they often respect him.  At least with Coach Scott, you had a willing mentor to young players, and a guy who they looked up to/respected.

This is the way of the Cavs though.  A lot of talk from Dan Gilbert, backed up by a complete lack of basketball knowledge.

Projected 2013 Cleveland Browns Starters & Mock Draft.

Pre Draft Projected Starting Roster (special teams not included):

QB – Brandon Weeden
RB – Trent Richardson*
WR1 – Josh Gordon*
WR2 – Greg Little*
WR3 – Travis Benjamin
LT – Joe Thomas*
LG – Jason Pinkston
C – Alex Mack*
RG – John Greco
TE- Jordan Cameron / Barnidge

RE – Desmond Bryant*
NT- Phil Taylor*
LE – Ahtyba Rubin*
SOL – Jaball Sheard
RIL – Chris Gocong
LIL- D’Qwell Jackson*
WOL- Paul Kruger*
LC – Joe Haden*
RC – Johnson Bademosi/Chris Owens
NC – Buster Skrine
SS – TJ Ward*
FS – Tashaun Gibson

*Absolute starters

There are a lot of questions out there right now pre-draft on who is starting for the Browns. Given dink and dunk Jason Campbell is the only “competition” for Brandon Weeden, Weeden is certainly the projected starter. We have uncertainty on the line, uncertainty at TE ,and I do not believe we have a starting FB on our roster. Our defense is full of uncertainty but I would consider it mostly concentrated around who will be starting opposite Joe Haden.

Our QB situation I think will be fine.  I know there is a lot of disgust for our 30 year old QB out there but when I think you look at the situation logically, you will see that we gave Brandon the worst offensive system for his skill set, an inexperienced inept play caller who kept him out of the shotgun.  Couple that with the most inexperienced offense in the NFL, and I believe he had the worse situation in the NFL.  I’m not mad he didn’t have more success in what was a recipe for failure. Now with Norv Turner and another year to get to be fluent with his WR corps I really do think he will be fine while we develop young talent.

Mock Draft:

1st round: Dee Milliner CB (Alabama)
– Possible trade down regaining our 2nd round pick and taking Chance Warmack.  I do not think after picking up Kruger/Bryant that Mingo or Jones are an option now and I think our Geno Smith interest is for show. Dee said in a radio interview that him and Joe would make a great “duo” and I agree.

3rd round : Tyler Bray QB (Tenn)
– My sleeper here is Landry Jones (probably alone on this one)

4th round : Tim Mcdonald FS (USC)
– Baccari Rambo if he is still on the board.

5th round : Garrett Gilkey OG (Chadron State)

– Great late round pick up barring Chance Warmack isn’t already a Brown.

6th Round :

Pick one : Tommy Bohanon FB (Wake Forest)

Pick two : Dustin Hopkins K (Florida State)

Let me know if you agree or disagree, and who you would draft!

Roll Tribe: 2013 Cleveland Indians Preview and Predictions

Here are some projections and predictions for our 2013 Cleveland Indians…

The Lineup

Michael Bourn:  The only stat I really care about with Bourn will be On-Base Percentage.  If he can keep it around .380 or so, he’ll help this lineup significantly with his speed on the base paths.  Prediction:  .265 Avg, 7 HR, 42 SB, .330 OBP

Asdrubal Cabrera:  He’s been a first-half All-Star and a second half chump the last few seasons.  I suspect he’ll be more consistent this year.  Prediction:  .275 Avg, 18 HR, 55 RBI

Jason Kipnis:  I love Kipnis, but he had a horrible second half last year and it seemed to carry over into spring training, so there is certainly some reason for concern.  Prediction:  .275 Avg, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB

Nick Swisher:  Swish’s numbers have been very consistent over the last five seasons, but I expect them to dip slightly given his new home ballpark and lineup protection.  Prediction:  .260 Avg, 21 HR, 75 RBI

Carlos Santana:  I’ve given up on Santana ever hitting for average like we thought he would, but he has some pop.  Prediction:  .235 Avg, 22 HR, 60 RBI

Mark Reynolds:  I’m not sure Reynolds will make it through the season as a regular in the lineup.  He strikes out a ton, and if he doesn’t hit a bunch of bombs he’ll become a real liability in the lineup.  Prediction:  .210 Avg, 12 HR, 35 RBI

Michael Brantley:  Dr. Smooth had a great spring.  I think his upside is limited, but he’s a decent player and I don’t believe a drop in the lineup will affect him any.  Prediction:  .280 Avg, 10 HR, 20 SB

Lonnie Chisenhall:  I was thrilled when they traded Hanahan and decided to give the job to the Chiz Kid.  They should have done it last year.  He had a terrific spring.  Prediction:  .280 Avg, 21 HR, 70 RBI and a move up in the order.

Drew Stubbs:  In three seasons as a full-time player, his batting average, on-base percentage, home runs and RBI have decreased each season.  I’m not sure if a change in leagues will help and he might force Swisher into playing RF full-time.  Prediction:  .220 Avg, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 10 SB

The Starters

Justin Masterson:  I don’t believe Masterson is as good as he was in 2011 or as bad as he was in 2012.  He’ll revert back to what he is– a solid starter who is by no means an ace.  Prediction:  13-12, 4.25 ERA

Ubaldo Jiminez:  We can only hope for a Cliff Lee-type of career turnaround.  I don’t see it from Scrubaldo, though.  Prediction:  5-11, 5.50 ERA and a demotion from the rotation.

Brett Myers:  He got lit up this spring, but he’s a solid pro and should be OK.  Prediction:  11-11, 4.50 ERA

Zach McAllister:  He had a good run last season and I think he’ll be consistent but not great.  Prediction:  11-9, 4.25 ERA

Scott Kazmir:  I liked that the Indians kicked the tires on Kazmir because there is some upside here and he’s LEFT HANDED.  I hope his career rebounds, but the odds are against it.  Prediction:  5-9, 5.00 ERA

Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco:  I believe both of these guys will make a significant number of starts this season because it is likely that at least two of the starters will either get hurt or pitch their way out of the rotation.  I’m high on both, and if there’s any hope for the next few seasons, it’s because of these two.

The Bullpen

The Bullpen Mafia was good last season and should be good again, but with the pen you never really know what you might get from year to year.  I put the odds of Vinnie Pestano taking over the closer role from Chris Perez at 50/50.  I hope that doesn’t happen, but while Perez has gotten the job done in his career, I’m not sure he has the stuff to be a consistently good closer.

The Defense

This is one of the most improved areas of the team.  The outfield defense, which was one of the worst in the league last year, will cover as much ground as anyone with the addition of Bourn and Stubbs.  The infield defense might not quite be as good with the loss of Hanahan and Kotchman, but it won’t be bad, either.

The Coaches

I’m still pinching myself to see if Terry Francona actually did come here to manage.  I would be fine if they signed him to a 10-year deal today.  If the Indians lose, it won’t be because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  Two key players I’ll be watching closely to see if the coaches can help are Kipnis and Jiminez.

2013 Season Prediction:  The Indians will be a better team than they’ve been since 2007.  They’ve added some speed and power to a lineup that has had neither for a long time.  The base running and defense will be much improved as well.  However, there are just way too many issues in the rotation to expect a breakout year of 90-plus wins.  If the team does manage to get some solid starting pitching (which I suspect would have to come from Carrasco and Bauer later in the season) the Tribe will challenge for a division title or wild card.  Unfortunately, I see too many “ifs” to expect a contender this season.  I do expect an entertaining and encouraging 83-79 season, though.  Roll Tribe.