3 Moves Indians Can Make to Guarantee Playoff Spot in Shortened Season

Francisco Lindor
The Cleveland Indians need to hold onto SS Francisco Lindor in 2020. | Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians had a disappointing 2019 season in which the team missed the postseason for the first time since 2015. Expectations have been high since reaching the World Series in 2016 and the time to win a title may be fading fast given Francisco Lindor's contract situation. A potential 2020 season will be shortened and there are several things the Indians can do to get back into the playoffs during what will be a unique year for baseball.

3. Give Jordan Luplow More Playing Time

Jordan Luplow
Cleveland Indians OF Jordan Luplow joined the Indians in 2019. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jordan Luplow appeared in 85 games for the Indians in 2019 and slashed .276/.372/.551 and posted a 2.0 WAR. Terry Francona loves his platoons and used Luplow in that way last year. The outfielder batted .320 against left-handed pitching, compared to a mark of .216 and righties. Yet this sample size came in a total of 225 at-bats. Luplow showed enough to get more time against right-handed pitching and he should automatically be a pinch-hit option anytime a southpaw enters a game.

2. Make James Karinchak the Closer

James Karinchak, Roberto Perez
Cleveland Indians pitcher James Karinchak made his debut in 2019. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

James Karinchak has been a strikeout machine since joining the organization. He posted a combined 22.0 K/9 in the minors last season before making five appearances with the Indians. Karinchak is the closer of the future and should be put in the role right away in 2020. Brad Hand can transition into more of a fireman role, which is reminiscent of what Andrew Miller did during his time in town. Karinchak's strikeout ability is too good to hold him back and opposing teams still don't have experience against him. That will work in the Indians' favor.

1. Keep Francisco Lindor

The Cleveland Indians cannot trade SS Francisco Lindor in 2020.
The Cleveland Indians cannot trade SS Francisco Lindor in 2020. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Francisco Lindor is under team control through 2021 and it was a possibility that he could have been traded in a normal 2020 season. However, this year is obviously not normal and trading Lindor would derail both the season and the excitement of the fanbase. Having the star shortstop on the team gives the Indians the best shot at winning and trading him during a year of prorated salaries would make no sense. The Indians can't be greedy after all the cuts already made.