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Indians Indians Archive Grinning Ear To Ear
Jarad Regano picked the Indians to finish third in the division, as many did.  He thought they were dead to rights after the Yankees came into Jacobs Field after the All-Star break and skewered the slumping Tribe.  But over the seasons final two months, and despite a heartbreaking loss in the ALCS, Jarad Regano couldn't be happier with the way this franchise is positioned going forward.  And he writes about it in his latest column.

After going through my personal, annual Indians moratorium, I awake today to a positive reflection of this past year. Like all Tribe fans, I am sick to my stomach as to how close we were to getting back to the Fall Classic. But, looking back on how I felt about this franchise’s chances a year ago, I am grinning ear to ear.

First and foremost, the verdict is in. The aberration year for the Tribe was NOT 2005. It was, thankfully, 2006. This is something that I did not see as reality when I picked the Tribe to pick 3rd this spring. I guess there really was something to us outscoring our opponents by a thousand runs in ’06.

Secondly, the Dolan Family has answered most of my personal doubts about their commitment to ownership of this franchise. After feeling like being hit by a truck when Jake Westbrook was extended for $11 million per year, they continued to shed their frugal reputation by locking up Travis Hafner. Say what you will about Hafner’s struggles, these moves were thought to be out of ownership’s price range by many fans. I am one of them. Not only do the moves show that Paul and Larry will spend money, it is nice to see they obviously prefer to keep the players that have succeeded already in the system.

Next, following what seemed like a premature extension, Eric Wedge led the Tribe on a late season charge that many doubted he was capable of. I must point out that I have actually been a Wedge supporter all along. Perhaps not a “supporter” in the truest sense of the word, but I never believed that he was at the heart of any of the Tribe’s deepest problems. And since I am wrong on quite a few other fronts, I thought that was noteworthy.

In mid-August, as the Yankees steamrolled the Tribe at Jacobs Field, I was fairly confident that another off-season of looking back at a non-contender was ahead of us. Now, we are able to look forward to an exciting hot stove league filled with talk about how to get us over the top.

The Indians have many questions to ponder. What happens in left field? Is C.C. going to be out of our price range? Is C.C. worth that much? Is Jo Bo going to be back to close out games in ways only he can? Do you pick up Paul Byrd’s option?

These questions are difficult ones that Tribe brass will have to answer. But they are a lot easier to answer than the one I thought they would be answering at this time two months ago. How do we sell our fans on Rebuild Year #7?

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