CLEVELAND -- The beginning of Spring Training represents hope for each team around Major League Baseball. In the case of the Indians, the club feels the roster it has assembled, both over this offseason and in previous winters, has a realistic chance of competing for a place in the postseason.
For this Presidents' Day, MLB.com asked the leader of each franchise to address their respective fan base on the current goals of their organization. With the 2015 season approaching, Indians team president Mark Shapiro wrote the following three messages to Cleveland's fans:
Continued progress toward goal of building a team capable of winning the World Series: Following a postseason berth in 2013, we contended until the final weekend of the 2014 season -- winning the fourth-most games in the American League over that span. Twenty-three of 25 players are back from last year's team, including Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, MVP finalist Michael Brantley, and Silver Slugger Award winner Yan Gomes. Not only are these players among the best in the game, they are men who represent the values of the teams we seek to build. Our manager, Terry Francona, who we feel is a difference maker, signed a contract extension this offseason. We are in a unique position to build upon the progress and continuity we've achieved the last two seasons.
Young, star-filled core is in place for years: Not only are Kluber, Brantley, Gomes and 2013 All-Star Jason Kipnis back, they and many other members of our core are under club control through at least 2017 -- very much a luxury to have. Brantley, Gomes and Kipnis each signed a multiyear contract extension last offseason, and each spoke about the comfort they feel playing for the Indians and the passion they hold for bringing a World Series to the city of Cleveland.
Ballpark evolution: While we remain focused on the field, we're also dedicated to creating great memories off the field. With our renovations to the Gate C area, our new Right Field District will significantly enhance the fan experience at Progressive Field. We've opened up the ballpark to provide new views of the ballpark for Clevelanders, and showcase the city skyline for those inside. New bullpens will get fans closer to the players, while our expanded Kids Clubhouse will further cater to our younger fans. The new indoor-outdoor bar in right field, meanwhile, offers a social space for our fans in the millennial and young professional set, with the addition of popular restaurants Melt, Barrio and Sweet Moses creating more unique experiences.