Big-ticket signings fail to lift Indians in loss

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When the Indians added Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn in free agency, it was supposed to energize the fans and signal the start of a new era. And it probably did help with the latter, if not the former.

However, while neither Swisher nor Bourn went bust in year one in Cleveland, the performances of both left something to be desired. That continued on Wednesday, as both veterans went 0-for-4 in the 3-0 loss to the Rays that resulted in a quick postseason exit for the Indians.

The postseason struggles were nothing new for Swisher, who was routinely attacked for it in New York. Tonight’s 0-for left him with a .165 average and just eight RBI in 158 postseason at-bats. Bourn was playing in his first career postseason game.

Of course, it’s hardly fair to say Swisher and Bourn were signed to carry the Indians, even if their average salaries of $14 million and $12 million, respectively, dwarf those of anyone else on the team (after those $56 million and $48 million deals, the next biggest contract on the Indians is Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-year, $16.5 million pact). They were signed to supplement Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis, not overshadow them. And they did that in the regular season, even if they were modest disappointments. Swisher hit a respectable .246/.341/.423 with 22 homers, but his total of 63 RBI was troubling for someone who spent half of the year batting cleanup. Bourn went from hitting .274/.348/.391 with 42 steals for the Braves in 2012 to batting .263/.316/.360 with 23 steals this year.

As the Indians head into 2014, Swisher will probably remain the best interview, but the team will be built around Santana and Kipnis. Cabrera could well be traded, even though top prospect Francisco Lindor probably isn’t ready to take over at shortstop quite yet. Closer Chris Perez, the fourth highest-paid player, seems sure to exit as well. The Tribe won’t necessarily need Swisher and Bourn to star to remain contenders, but they do have to hope any continued decline is a slow process.

Gabe Kapler lost his home in the California wildfires

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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was among those who lost their homes as a result of the ongoing California wildfires, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports. Kapler’s house was in Malibu, roughly 50 miles west of Los Angeles.

Kapler is hoping his situation can be used to make more people aware of the seriousness of the wildfires. He said, “Keep talking about it. When you’re out in your community, talk about it with other people. Use it as a way to come together. I sent this text message back to people: Talk about it. Shine a light on it. Raise awareness. Feel it.” He added, “That’s my main point for other people. We’re good. Our family is good. There are a lot of other families who are not.”

Two days ago, Kapler made his first tweet since mid-July:

Per NBC’s Jay Gray, at least 31 people are dead and more than 200 people are unaccounted for. Thousands of homes were burned and another 72,000 remain threatened.