It was a safe bet to believe in the Indians this season. Their starting pitching, in particular, has been an huge disappointment. Their top three starters, Justin Masterson (11-14, 4.93), Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16, 5.52) and Josh Tomlin (5-8, 6.36) were all much better in 2011. Masterson was 12-10, 3.21, Jimenez was 10-13, 4.68 and Tomlin was 12-7, 4.25. Add in Derek Lowe, who was acquired from Atlanta, and their starters did not get the job done in 2012.
I also felt this team needed to add another power bat in their lineup. A lineup that has 2B Jason Kipnis, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, C Carlos Santana and RF Shin Soo Choo could have thrived by having one more power hitter hitting between them. Choo has had a down season, despite being healthy, and Grady Sizemore has missed the entire season after the Indians brought him back. Adding Johnny Damon after the start of the season did not work out.
The Indians should look fairly similar next season and its interesting to see how much they look to upgrade their problem areas. Closer Chris Perez could be traded which may net them a decent return. In my opinion, this team has developed a young core and could thrive if they add the missing piece or two. They also have to determine if Manny Acta is the guy who will lead them to prominence. All in all, I think there is hope going into next season.
The one thing the Twins have on their side is their manager. Ron Gardenhire is one of the better managers in the game. He faces his biggest challenge as he has the least amount of talent he has ever had to work with. Joe Mauer (.319, 9, 76) and Justin Mourneau (.279, 19, 75) have both bounced back from injuries to have good seasons. Josh Willingham (.258, 34, 105) and Ryan Doumit (.282, 16, 67) have given something to the middle of their order. Unfortunately, that is all they got. Denard Span has not gotten to the level that he has been expected to and there are as many holes in the Twins order as one would expect from a team that has been one of the worst in baseball over the past two seasons.
Outside of Scott Diamond (11-7, 3.46), the Twins have gotten little help from their pitching staff. Cole De Vries (5-5, 4.11) was looking good until he was lost for the season. Unless the Twins add a top of the rotation starter for next season, it will be a crapshoot over how the rotation will be rounded out. There is little help on the way in the minors, either.
This one is easy to determine: the Indians have better hopes going into 2013. The Twins are missing so much, particularly in their starting pitching, while their bullpen is average at best. The Indians have a very good pen. While Gardenhire would be a shoe-in for the AL Manager of the Year if he got the Twins over .500 next season, Acta (if he lasts after this season) will not have a job if the Indians don't get back to the level they were last season in 2013.