Francona, Antonetti discuss Tribe after season finale
Indians Manager Terry Francona and General Manager Chris Antonetti chatted with media on Monday, a day after the club’s season finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday. They addressed a number of topics, including offseason goals, positives from 2014 and more.
Skipper first …
MANAGER TERRY FRANCONA
It’s still hard today … We don’t have all the answers.
Couple things I do know: We were faced with w lot of challenges: Some health, some guys not quite doing what we thought they’d do. Through it all, we managed to compete all the way to the end. That wasn’t our goal; our goal was to win. … I was really proud of the effort, of the players, of the front office guys. We always seem to do it together.
This year, it wasn’t enough to get us over the hump and into the playoffs, but it helped give us our best chance.
When it’s all said and done, you never want to leave it on the field, to have regrets. If you do, you’re kicking yourself if you end up a game or two short. That’s opposed to leaving it all out there, and not really having any regrets. It wasn’t good enough for us but we have no regrets.
We’re happy with how some of the young guys did, but we still need to get better. I’m not just talking about going out and getting players … I’m talking about everything, putting players in the best position to win.
On the team’s defense
There were a number of reasons where we weren’t really clean. It was flat out making errors, to maybe not getting to some balls earlier in the season. We spent a majority of the season trying to unshoot our foot. That’s a hard way to play. What we talk about is the more work we can get done at high intensity, the better.
Re: positives of 2014
We are disappointed. The goal is to get to the Postseason and keep playing. But part of what excites me so much fi the effort our guys gave to get us to where we got.
Look at some of the core group we have in place:
- Yan Gomes is a bona fide All-Star. There’s a lot to like there : his energy, his game-calling ability.
- Brantley turned into one of the top position players in the league. And his impact goes far beyond the numbers.
On Corey Kluber
I don’t know if he’s going to win the Cy Young or not, but he should. Look at (Seattle’s) Felix (Hernandez) and you look at Kluber — If you took their names off of it and put their resumes side by side, Kluber would win the Cy Young. That’s the best endorsement I can give Klubes. The reason I say that is that I went and did it – didn’t want to be a homer. I actually felt like Kluber deserved it, and I didn’t know whose numbers was who.
There are three reasons why I’m so happy here: One is our players, I love the players. Another is the atmosphere Chris and his guys have fostered here, which I think is remarkable. The third one is, I just like the city.
I grew up around here, spent first six years of my life here. There are challenges ahead of us, but it’ll be more special when we figure it out and put it all together.
GENERAL MANAGER CHRIS ANTONETTI
It’s disappointing to not still be playing. Our goal is to win the World Series and to do that you have to be in the Postseason.
But stepping back from that, I couldn’t be more proud of our players and coaching staff and how they persevered. No matter how difficult the loss the night before, they showed up ready the next day. Tito, our coaches and players deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled things.
After you get past the disappointment of not making it and reflect back, there were a lot of positives this year – especially when you look at the development and progress for a lot of our younger players. We were alive on a really young roster to make a postseason push.
We had developments from Michael Brantley’s emergence as star, to Yan (Gomes), to Lonnie (Chisenhall)… Up and down, see progress they made. You see that and look forward and that’s incredibly exciting to us. We’ve never gone into an offseason in a better position of strength.
Our younger guys gained incredible experience. We asked a lot of them – to make the transition to the big leagues and the environment, and then make a postseason push. In exit meetings, a lot of guys referenced that experience. We’ll benefit from that.
This year obviously was not the script we drew up. We had some injuries, some inconsistencies from our veterans, and we placed a big burden on some of our younger guys.
There are a number of ways we improve this offseason:
- The young guys who contributed this year can continue to progress
- Our veteran guys return to health and perform the way they’re capable
- And we’ll look externally and find ways we can improve
Re: Swisher’s surgeries
It’s important to get the surgeries out of the way, especially as we look to next year. Retrospectively, I don’t think we knew what he was trying to battle through and perform through. It’s easy to look back now and wonder if we could have done it differently, done the surgeries sooner. To his credit, he worked hard and tried to play through it for the team. Encouraging: He should come in to Spring Training ready to go and contribute the way we all know he’s capable of contributing.
On the positives from 2014:
In the rotation, look at the emergence of young, extraordinary pitching staff. We set the MLB record for strikeouts, which is an incredible accomplishment given youth. They’ll all be here for the foreseeable future. Look at the progress they made and where they go forward, it’s exciting.
Michael Brantley has emerged into what we believe is a star player in the league. Yan Gomes established himself as one of the best catchers in the AL if not baseball. Lonnie (Chisenhall put together a very good season especially for a young player. There were a lot of individual performances in all aspects of the club that are promising.
Our defense is an area we need to better in. It was better in the second half than the first half, but we have to be better there.