The Cleveland Indians have three good hitters -- second baseman Jason Kipnis, Rookie of the Year candidate Francisco Lindor and team MVP Michael Brantley -- atop their lineup, yet as a team they're 11th in the American League in runs scored and 13th in home runs. Their offense must be improved this offseason if the Tribe are to contend in 2016.
Cleveland also needs to improve its defense. That area did get a dramatic boost midseason with the call-ups of Lindor (at shortstop) and third baseman Giovanny Urshela, but as a team, the Indians will finish in the bottom third in the majors in park-adjusted defensive efficiency.
Unlike most teams, the Indians are actually in a good place with their starting rotation. In fact, Cleveland starters lead the majors in strikeouts and complete games and are third in WHIP. It's a formidable rotation that includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Cody Anderson, who are all controllable for the foreseeable future. The Indians also have one of the better bullpens in the American League; they're second in the league in bullpen ERA.
So it's just a matter of addressing a handful of spots in the lineup while upgrading their defense.
Objective No. 1: Upgrade offensively in center field and right field
The Indians have gotten just seven home runs from their center fielders this season, which is in the bottom six in the majors, and their right fielders have a .695 OPS, which is in the bottom five. Due to their financial limitations, it's unlikely they will try to sign one of the big free-agent power bats available, but they could seek to trade for one.