Indians not planning to make coaching changes

October 10th, 2018
DETROIT, MI - JULY 27: Manager Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians looks on from the dugout in the second inning while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 27, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona does not plan on making any changes to his coaching staff in the wake of his team's brief stint on the October stage.
During an hour-long sit-down with reporters on Wednesday at Progressive Field, Francona said dismissing any of his coaches would be a reactionary move to three poor games against the Astros in the American League Division Series. The manager, along with president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, emphasized that their focus was on the season's body of work.
"That's a reaction," Francona said of making any changes to his staff. "That, to me, is a very reactionary move. It's a small sample. And it hurt like crazy losing, yet we were probably in the upper tier in just about every offensive category."
Specifically, the Indians' offense has been the focal point of criticism after the team's second straight subpar performance in the ALDS. Last year, Cleveland's lineup hit .171 with a .550 OPS as a team in the five-game loss to the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. This time, the Indians hit .144 with a .418 OPS in the three-game sweep at the hands of Houston.
On the season, though, the Indians ranked third in the Majors with 818 runs scored, while ranking fourth overall in weighted on-base average (.330), fourth in OPS (.766), sixth in home runs (216) and tied for sixth in weighted runs created plus (105). Cleveland's strikeout rate as an offense (18.9 percent) was also the best in baseball in the regular season.
Francona said those numbers -- not the showing in the ALDS -- go a long way in continuing to support the work done behind the scenes by hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo.
"Are you going on the disappointment of the series or on the whole body of work?" Francona said.
Beyond Van Burkleo, Cleveland's coaching staff consists of bench coach Brad Mills, pitching coach Carl Willis, bullpen coach Scott Atchison, assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez, first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh, along with MLB coaches Mark Budzinski and Brian Sweeney. Barring any external job opportunities, the Indians plan on retaining the entire staff.
"I do think some guys will be interviewed," Francona said. "And I think they're pretty good, so there's a chance we lose people. But, not by choice."
Worth noting
• The Indians have two team options to consider this winter. Cleveland's $9.75 million team option on starter is a lock to be exercised, but the club will also have to weigh whether to pick up the $3 million option (or pay a $250,000 buyout) on outfielder . The Indians must make a decision five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
"It's something we have to work through," Antonetti said. "We really appreciated Brandon's contributions in the time he's been here. He made a huge impact when he came over in 2016, not only in the second half, but on the postseason run. Unfortunately, he's had some health issues that he's had to work through over the course of the last couple seasons."
• Right-hander (right shoulder surgery in July) could begin a throwing program by November, according to Antonetti. The Indians plan on building up Salazar as a starting pitching option during Spring Training, but the team has not ruled out putting him in the bullpen mix, given the club's offseason need for relief help.
"We'll try to condition him as a starter at the outset," Antonetti said, "and then see what our team needs are and see how Danny responds to the different throwing loads."
• Outfielder will be eligible for arbitration this winter, along with , , , , , and Salazar. Martin is still recovering from the serious bacterial infection that ended his season in August, but the Indians are optimistic that the veteran outfielder will be ready for Spring Training.
"As a starting point, we expect him to be back at full health next year," Antonetti said. "Exactly where that fits in, we'll have to work through that. He's arbitration eligible again this season for the last time. We'll have to just make an assessment of how that fits within the construct of the rest of our team."
• More injury updates from Antonetti: Anderson (right elbow) should have a normal offseason leading up to Spring Training. ... Goody (right elbow surgery) is still a "few weeks" away from being cleared to throw. ... Outfielder (right shoulder surgery) could be cleared to throw in November, hit in December and the hope is he will be available for "the majority" of the 2019 season.