The forecast for Cleveland's Progressive Field this summer? Windy.
The Indians are getting raves -- deservedly -- for their three-way trade with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. They traded their best hitter away essentially for prospects, but Shin-Soo Choo's contract was expiring after this season, the other players they gave up are basically inconsequential, and they received a good return in former No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer of the Diamondbacks -- who obviously has talent but a couple of red flags -- and center fielder Drew Stubbs, formerly of the Reds.
The Indians' starting staff was woefully inconsistent last season, but Justin Masterson has shown flashes of becoming an ace and Ubaldo Jimenez once was one. Obviously Bauer was once projected as one as well, and as Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote, he's the most exciting part of the trade, and also the scariest.
And they'll need to be good, because while recent moves have made the Indians' lineup a little more potent, they're rally-killers just waiting to happen. The Indians also picked up Mark Reynolds -- he of the major-league record for strikeouts in a season with 223 in 2009, and three of the "top" five strikeout seasons of all time. And No. 4 on that list? Stubbs.
"Stubbs, Reynolds, [Carlos] Santana and [Jason] Kipnis combined to strikeout 535 times last season, which are 166 more than Joe DiMaggio struck out in his whole career."
Justin Verlander will get to face this lineup four or five times next season. The MLB record of 20 strikeouts in a game could be threatened.