Tribe GM to Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick: ‘I’m comfortable with high expectations’
Our Spring Training Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick had the chance to sit down with Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti and throw a few questions from Twitter at the Tribe executive. There were so many great questions from you and responses from Chris that there will be two parts to the Q&A! Below is the first half of their transcribed interview from Goodyear.
ClevelandChick: What’s been the biggest surprise in Arizona so far? Who will make the final roster choices?
Chris Antonetti: In terms of surprises, I think Scott Kazmir has been one of our more pleasant surprises. Candidly, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from Scott just because he spent so much time away from the Major Leagues. To his credit, he’s worked exceptionally hard; went to independent ball last year to try to rework his delivery, went to winter ball this year, and has come to camp and has thrown the ball really well. He’s in a good spot.
In the end, it’s my responsibility to make those decisions, but it’s a very collaborative process. We’ll certainly take input of not only our scouts, but Terry and his staff. They’ll be a big part of it.
CC: What’s the whole process for choosing the final roster?
CA: It’s really a process that evolves throughout the spring. We spend a lot of time talking about the roster composition and different combinations of players to build out the team. As players play or pitch, we get additional information that helps us make those decisions. The last thing we want to have to do is react to injuries. So if guys aren’t available, that could impact how we put the roster together.
CC: Through the first few weeks of camp, what differences have you seen that Terry has made on the team and the organization as a whole?
CA: Each manager is unique in the environment that he creates.Terry has a different leadership style and he is constantly bouncing around. He is very enthusiastic. He has a lot of individual conversations with players, whether that’s just popping in with the team in the clubhouse or interacting with them on the field. He is a nonstop communicator, whether it’s in a more formal group setting or individually with players. He is a very upbeat and positive guy.
CC: Who should we keep an eye on from the minor leagues that we might see come up to the majors in the next few years?
CA: Well, Francisco Lindor has been in some Major League games because we’ve had Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Aviles, both of our other shortstops, go participate in the World Baseball Classic. That’s given us an opportunity to see some young shortstops in our system, whether it’s Francisco Lindor, Ronny Rodriguez, and Tony Wolters. All three of those guys have come up in the Major League camp and made a very strong impression.
The thing that continues to amaze us with Francisco, beyond his exceptional ability as a player and what he does on the field is just his baseball IQ; his feel for the game and his comfort level on the field. He’s on a Major League diamond at 19 years old with a lot of experienced Major League players and he looked completely comfortably and took charge in the infield, which is pretty impressive to see with such a young player.
CC: After years of low expectations, do Indians fans have too high of expectations for this season?
CA: I don’t think you can ever have too high of expectations. We want to win as many games as we can. Our goal is to win the World Series. That’s why I do what I do and that’s why everyone in the organization works so hard, for one goal: to figure out a way to win the World Series. And I know that’s what our fans want.
How close we can get to that goal or whether or not we can achieve it? That’s the beauty of the baseball season. Let’s see how it unfolds. We’ll do everything we can. I know that’s Terry’s goal and I know that’s the goal of our players: Try to win as many games as possible, make it to the postseason and win a World Series. I’m comfortable with high expectations.
–TribeVibe Fan Correspondent Traci (@ClevelandChick)
Cleveland native Traci Christler, who blogs independently at http://www.HappinessIsaHotPierogi.com, is in Goodyear this spring and writing about the Indians for TribeVibe. The Indians are not compensating her for her coverage, nor did they fund her travel.