CLEVELAND, Ohio – The August 31st trading deadline for Major League Baseball is getting closer and it is still unclear whether or not the Cleveland Indians will take a step. But what options are there when they do?
The club’s greatest need is obvious: a consistent major league bat in the outfield that offers some depth to an offense that underperformed in the first 30 games of the season. However, finding a match is not as easy as one might think. There are factors beyond the club’s financial constraints, including team chemistry and the future of stars like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Mike Clevinger.
Cleveland has organizational depth in a position every other competing team desires – with pitching. The ongoing situation with Clevinger and Zach Plesac could motivate the Indian front office to try more actively to find a mate and move one or both of the contested right-handed people before Monday. Will they be able to get value back in exchange for one of the two starters who both still have several years of team control?
Indian President for Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said he was unsure of what to expect before this year’s close of trading given the particular circumstances of the 2020 season, but he did find the teams have already done a lot and a lot Dialogue.
“Where this will lead is difficult to predict, just like every year,” said Antonetti. “There is a dialogue between the teams. However, it would be impossible for me to compromise the likelihood that something will or will not be done. “
Below are five options that can be used to meet Cleveland’s need for an impact bat, reasons why they would pass and what obstacles would have to be overcome to make a deal a reality.
JD Martinez, Red Sox DH
Why Martinez Would Fit: The Indians originally pursued Martinez in 2017 when Detroit sent him to Arizona at close of trade. Martinez, who signed a five-year free agent deal with the Red Sox prior to the 2018 season, scored a 0.317 goal for Boston over the past two seasons with 79 homers and 235 RBIs. It probably wouldn’t cost the Indians too much, in view of future building block prospects, to keep him from rebuilding the Red Sox.
Obstacles: Martinez should make more than $ 23 million this season and should still owe a little over $ 4 million for the remainder of this season. His deal includes player options for $ 19.35 million each over the next two seasons. The danger to Cleveland if they did get Martinez would be they’d be hooked for all that money if he didn’t sign out, which he almost certainly wouldn’t. Cleveland would need cash consideration from Boston for the deal to work.
Jorge Soler, Royals OF / DH
Why Soler Would Fit: Last year’s American League front runner in home races currently has more RBI than any other Indian player (19) and an OPS + of 129. He owed about $ 1.3 million of his prorated salary of 7 for the final month of 2020 , $ 3 million and is divorced at age 29 for the next season before becoming a free agent in 2022.
Obstacles: Soler is a subpar defender who has appeared as an outfielder in just seven games this season with a Career Ultimate Zone rating of -11.3 according to Fangraphs.com. The Indians already have a right-handed power hitter with high strike and low field under their control in Franmil Reyes. The royals would likely need a senior pitching prospect for Soler’s services, and that’s the kind of move that can come back and burn the Indians for years after 2020.
Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers OF / DH
Why Choo would fit: Choo was a free agent at the end of the year, hitting a career high of 24 homers last season while posting his highest OPS (0.826) since 2015. From 2006 to 2012, he played with the Indians for seven seasons and scored an OPS of 0.853 in 685 games. Cleveland made a blockbuster deal with Texas back in December by sending Corey Kluber to the Lone Star state so both franchises know what pieces might be on the table. The Indians might be able to get choo at a lower level for significantly less pitching prospects.
Obstacles: Choo turned 38 in July and hits just .211 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 21 games for Texas. He owed approximately $ 3.8 million of his pro-rata salaries for 2022 and is limited in his defense options.
Whit Merrifield, Royals OF / 2B
Why Merrifield Would Fit: Merrifield is a versatile defender who has led baseball for the past two seasons. He’s playing to an extremely club-friendly contract that grosses him $ 6.75 million this year and is full of incentives with a base salary of just $ 2 million next year. His club option could even be a bargain at $ 6.5 million in 2023 as it only includes a $ 750,000 buyout. As the Indians know, you can draw in Merrifield for just two hits a night, and the percentage of hits has increased over the past three seasons.
Obstacles: Merrifield plays like Soler for an AL Central rival, and the Indians have traditionally stayed away from doing business within the division. The asking price would be high based on Merrifield’s contract and Kansas City’s need to start pitching and bullpen aid.
Clint Frazier, Yankees from
Why Frazier Would Fit: The Indians designed Frazier # 5 overall in 2013, and it was at the heart of the July 2016 trade that brought Andrew Miller over from the Yankees. Frazier has been blocked on both corner fields in New York by Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge and has shown that he can get good performance numbers on occasion. The Yankees are looking for a major league starting pitcher, and the Indians happen to have a surplus.
Obstacles: Frazier missed a large portion of the 2019 season with concussion symptoms but appears to have recovered before the 2020 campaign.
New Indian face masks for sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds are donated to charity.
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