Tip your cap to the Indians’ front-office tandem of team president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff. The duo has done it again.
For the third straight season, the Tribe’s movers and shakers made a late-season move that proved they were serious about ending Cleveland’s world championship drought.
In 2016, it reliever Andrew Miller, who was acquired at the trade deadline and was a big reason the Indians advanced to the World Series, winning ALCS MVP honors.
Last year, it was outfielder Jay Bruce, who was acquired in an August waiver-wire deal and played well upon arrival in Cleveland, albeit for a short period of time.
Now, after already landing all-star closer Brad Hand at the trade deadline, Antonetti and Chernoff went all in again late last Friday, acquiring 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson in another potential high-impact waiver-wire move.
Little is guaranteed in Donaldson’s department since he’s been sidelined for much of the season by injuries, including a Lonnie Chisenhall-esque calf injury that has kept him out of major league action since May 28.
But the three-time all-star was in the midst of a rehab assignment when the Indians acquired him and after being placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday, he’s looked pretty good in his first two rehab games for his new organization.
Donaldson hit a grand slam for Triple-A Columbus on Monday, then homered again in the Double-A Akron’s postseason-opening victory Wednesday.
When healthy, Donaldson, who averaged 37 homers from 2015-17, is one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. If he can give the Indians even a little of that, it makes them better -- and his acquisition provides more evidence that the front office is doing what it can to win now.
As a fan, what more can you ask?
-- The apprentice got the better of the master when manager Kevin Cash -- former Indians bullpen coach and good friend of Terry Francona -- and the Rays took two of three at Progressive Field before Cleveland did the same to Kansas City (Monday through Wednesday).
The Indians won the series opener in Toronto on Thursday to trim their magic number to nine to clinch their third straight Central Division title and qualify to the postseason for the fourth time in Francona’s six years as manager.