Terry Francona not enough to fix Cleveland Indians

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, right, argues with home plate umpire Jim Joyce at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Saturday, August 8, 2009. The Cleveland Indians recently announced that Francona is a candidate for the teams manager position. Photo by David Pokress /Newsday/MCT.

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, right, argues with home plate umpire Jim Joyce at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Saturday, August 8, 2009. The Cleveland Indians recently announced that Francona is a candidate for the team’s manager position. Photo by David Pokress /Newsday/MCT.

Tim Bielik

(The Morning Journal) It’s certainly been very difficult to pay attention to the Cleveland Indians through the last six weeks of their season, even though the Browns haven’t won a regular season game in almost a whole calendar year.

Following their historic plummet from first to worst in the AL Central — arguably the worst division in baseball — the Indians finally fired Manny Acta as manager.

The problem is that this collapse was not Acta’s fault. Acta was a scapegoat and Mark Shapiro is never going to fire himself or his clone in Chris Antonetti.

Even with the news that former Red Sox manager Terry Francona — the one who killed the Curse of the Bambino by winning the World Series in 2004 and again in 2007 — was interested in the job, does anyone really believe he will improve the team that much?

Just because Francona might become the manager doesn’t mean that Dustin Pedroia or 2004’s David Ortiz are walking through that door.

Instead of those players in his lineup, Francona will have stars like Ezequiel Carrera, Vinny Rottino and Lou Marson run out onto the field.

You can also argue the semantics of whether penny-pinching owner Larry Dolan will even fork over enough money to bring the decorated Francona onboard as manager.

Let’s be clear about one thing though.

Francona, or even former Indians star Sandy Alomar, will not fix the deeper issues that have caused the epic collapse of the Indians.

All it’s really doing is using a Band-Aid to keep the Titanic from sinking.

Hiring Francona won’t solve the fact that the Tribe has no mediocre, let alone good or great, right-handed hitter or power hitter.

In today’s game, those don’t seem like they should be difficult things to find, especially since good right-handed sluggers are almost dime-a-dozen.

Yet, the Indians, through their free-agents decisions, or lack thereof — cough, Josh Willingham, cough — seem that they’re not only disinterested in power hitters, they treat them like a disease they want no part of.

The numbers don’t lie.

Cleveland came into their final series of the season ranked No. 24 in both home runs and slugging percentage. 24th out of 30 is not a good number to be, especially when your in the American League with the designated hitter, and in Progressive Field which is one of the most renown hitters’ parks in baseball.

The type of baseball the Indians have tried to play in past years is very National League-esque, involving a lot of small ball and not much power.

In fact, if you look back at the season — just guessing — maybe one-fifth of the runs the Indians scored this season were from ground ball outs.

If that stat boggles your mind, imagine how the pitchers must feel knowing they have to pitch almost flawlessly to even have a shot at winning games this season. It’s not exactly comforting to know as a starter that if you don’t allow two runs or less, you’re probably not going to get the win.

That alone is frustrating, especially when you add in the fact that 15 years ago, the Indians had arguably one of the better lineups in modern baseball with Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Alomar and Omar Vizquel.

You knew what you got out of that team.

With this group, you’d be lucky to get four runs, on a good night.

That, like most issues with this team, goes back on the Dolans, who have rightfully earned mass criticism from the fans.

Just the thought of telling fans that they will only spend money to improve the team if the fans buy tickets is just infuriating, and simply egotistical. Either that or Larry Dolan really is the real-life version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Bah-humbug.

Getting a great manager like Francona is not going to be the only way to fix the Indians.

Francona can’t hit 40 home runs or drive in 100 RBIs, or throw seven shutout innings.

That falls on the players that are brought in to play for Francona should he be named the manager.

Of course, if the Dolans are cheap on everything else, what leads anyone to believe that they will open up the wallet for Francona when they won’t do it for either of their two Cy Young winners?

Turnover on downs

The city of Seattle finally approved the construction of a new arena just four years after the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder.

This new building might not just make them a destination for the Sacramento Kings, who seem like they’re going to move every other month, but they might steal one of the NHL’s most prestigious franchises from the Great White North.

The Edmonton Oilers, who won four Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier among others back in the 1980s, met with Seattle officials after they discovered the hopes of replacing the 38-year-old Rexall Place would rest largely on taxpayers. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

The Oilers are to Edmonton what the Browns are to Cleveland and Canada already saw two franchises leave the country in 1995.

Just like how Quebec City still mourns the loss of the Nordiques, it won’t be a pretty day in Edmonton either if the Oilers leave town, way worse than the day Gretzky left town…

Contact Tim Bielik at [email protected] .