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The Indians' Quiet Offseason is Coming Back to Bite Them

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 26: Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians bunts during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field on May 26, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Indians | Jason Miller

The Cleveland Indians made the intriguing choice to hold back this offseason, making minimal moves rather than going all-out with big splashes in free agency and in the trade market. For a team who has been within reach of the World Series, but not quite there, it was a surprising decision.

Now a game below .500 at 26-27 and 10.5 games out of first place, it's clear that the passive approach has come back to bite them.

Perhaps most notable is their abysmal performance on offense. They lack any type of punch at the plate, and it could have easily been addressed in a free agent market that was flush with talent.

Francisco Lindor is doing what he can, but with Jose Ramirez looking like a shell, if that, of his former self, the Indians are struggling more than we've seen in recent years.

Cleveland's offense is 27th in runs scored, 26th in OPS, and dead last in hits. They're paying dearly for their choice to not bring back the likes of Michael Brantley and Josh Donaldson, both of whom are having quality offensive seasons with their new teams.

In an era characterized by big spending on high-flying offensive talents, one is left to wonder why Cleveland was so convinced that they could roll through 2019 with Jason Kipnis as their cleanup hitter.

It's not like they don't have the money. The Indians have spent over $140 million in each of the past two seasons, even spending $172 million in 2018. The result? Back-to-back division titles and 193 total wins.

They knew the benefits of splurging in the offseason and they still chose to hold back. And now, instead of staying competitive with the Minnesota Twins, they're looking up at them in the division standings.