We are back here at The Yakker. All is well, and I finally have some time to catch up on posting some of the OOTP challenges our players have been working on over the last couple of months.
I’m extremely proud to start posting this series on the 2018 Cleveland Indians that features my stepson, Nate, taking over as general manager. Nate and I have spent a great deal of time over the years talking baseball, discussing possible trades, or lineup changes. But that was with real-life teams for which we cheered. We’ve had a blast over the last year having the same discussions about teams we actually run … virtually.
So, allow me to introduce Nate:
So, I’m a huge Indians fan. I decided to take over the 2018 Indians in this challenge for a bunch of reasons:
- They have a good chance to win in 2018
- Playing a new game means having all of the real managers, owners, coaches, and general managers in the game, which is fun for me. My stepdad and I haven’t been able to figure out how to get more than just real-life managers in a historical replay. If anyone can help us with that, I’d love to know how or where to find it!
- I like having to make tough decisions. And when I chose to do this 2018 season a few months ago, the Indians had a difficult decision facing them with Giovanni Urshela (one of my favorite players) coming off of a rehab stint at AAA Columbus and out of options. Eric Gonzalez, another talented utility infielder who can also play outfield, was off to a good start, hitting around .400. Gonzalez was also out of options, so the Tribe traded Urshela to Toronto. I’d like to see what kind of decision I’d make when Urshela was injured.
- I also like the idea of being a general manager ONLY. Usually I take over as both GM and Manager when I play, but having all of the real coaches out there is interesting to me. I’m a huge fan of Terry Francona, so sitting back and letting him manage sounds kind of cool while I pull the strings in the background. To start off, I want to get him some better coaches. In real life, the Indians pitching staff (especially the bullpen) got off to a pretty mediocre-at-best start. Can I find Francona a pitching coach who will bring out more from the staff than Carl Willis, who is listed as “fair” by OOTP?
So, to start out 2018, I chose to hire A.J. Sager as pitching coach. Sager apparently
will work well with finesse pitchers on the Indians staff, like Josh Tomlin and Matt Belisle. Both guys struggled in real life in early 2018. Maybe Sager can get more out of them on this Indians team?
I also decided to bring in a new hitting coach, honoring my stepdad by hiring one of his all-time favorite players by hiring the “Hit Man,” Mike Easler, and signing him to a four-year contract. Easler’s reputation is as a teacher of power, so we’ll see what the Indians power numbers are like with him on Francona’s staff.
Another nice thing is that Easler is a Cleveland native. He never played for the Indians, but my stepdad always talked about how he was a Clevelander. So, it’s kind of cool to bring him back home. On his Wikipedia page, it looks like Easler was screwed over a bit by the Dodgers in his only other opportunity to serve as a MLB hitting coach, so it would be nice to see the Indians get to the World Series and face the Dodgers…maybe get Easler a little payback!
I also had one other position to fill in my organization, and decided to hire a former Indian, Dave Clark, to be the hitting coach at Single-A Mahoning Valley.
So now it’s on to the regular season! This is going to be a whole lot of fun!
By the way, I’ve tried several time in the last year or so to finally guide the Indians their first world championship since 1948, and I ALWAYS lose in the first round of the playoffs. In fact, playing the 2017 Indians twice on OOTP 18, I had the best record by a lot at the end of the regular season and got bounced in the division series … once by the Seattle Mariners, of all teams!
Can I finally get it done in 2018
– Nate Edwards