CLEVELAND -- Technically, Chris Antonetti won't become Cleveland's next general manager until Nov. 1, when he ascends from his current assistant post and Mark Shapiro becomes team president. But Antonetti has already assumed the bulk of the GM responsibilities in the wake of the Trade Deadline. That was evident Tuesday, when it was Antonetti, not Shapiro, fielding questions from reporters about the state and direction of the team before the series opener against the A's. With the Indians 24 games under .500 in this rebuilding season, Antonetti knows he has his work cut out for him.
"I'm excited by the opportunity and the challenge," Antonetti said. "I'm confident we have the people and the plan to be successful." But Antonetti is still sorting through the plans for his first offseason at the helm. The Indians have the lowest average attendance (17,827) in baseball, so it remains to be seen how much money they'll invest into player payroll to augment one of the game's young rosters. "That's something we'll work through in the offseason," Antonetti said. "Right now, we're trying to assess what positions we feel good about and what positions we need to supplement." As far as his own responsibilities are concerned, Antonetti said his shift in roles has been "more incremental than monumental." Over the past three years, Shapiro has been handing off more and more of the GM responsibilities to Antonetti as a means to prepare him for the inevitable transition.