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Is it time to trade Lonnie Chisenhall?

Is it time to trade Lonnie Chisenhall?
September 3, 2014
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A few months back I brought up what was then a more controversial view that the Indians should strongly look to trade Lonnie Chisenhall. At the time Chisenhall still looked like a breakout candidate and was not that far removed from being a potential all-star. I held by the numbers which showed he was in for a massive regression, which we are seeing now.

Now, does this mean I think he is a bum? No, not at all, but I do worry about his total skill set. I think there is 20 home run power in there, but the walk to strikeout total, defense, and inconsistency are all big issues.

The Plan

One reason to move Chisehall is he is an asset and also opens up a position for the Indians. Operating under the assumption that Francisco Lindor is soon going to occupy shortstop at some point next season and for a long time after that, the Indians are locked into every position on the diamond.

I hope they can get rid of David Murphy but with him, Michael Brantley and Michael Bourn the outfield is set with players the Indians have sizable monetary committments in 2015. Nick Swisher and has bad knees will be locked in at DH. The rest of the infield is also locked up with monetary committments as well with Jason Kipnis,Carlos SantanaYan Gomes, and the previously mentioned Lindor. I have not even mentioned Zach Walters who might be reduced to a super sub at this point or even Jose Ramirez.

A trade of Chisenhall would mean opening up a spot at third base. The other aforementioned players are either tough to trade because of their subpar play and high contracts or are players the Indians view as core players. Chisenhall is somewhere in between there as a player who is inconsistent and a subpar defender but someone who will create some interest on the trade market because of his upside, ability and low monetary cost.

I know there has been a lot of talk about Giovanny Urshela and the year he has had. He brings a right-handed bat and plus defense at third, and he has the potential to win a Gold Glove at third down the line. The question has always been is whether his bat is good enough. My concern is he has never been a higher level top 10 prospect and Columbus has made many mediocre hitters look good. I think Urshela is best used as a bench bat that might surprise everyone. He could have a very Jack Hannahan-like career. The Indians could also try moving Ramirez to third though this might be a waste of his skills.

Instead I propose another idea, one that is a bit more drastic and one I am yet to see mentioned elsewhere. I would propose moving Kipnis to third. As a former outfielder I would think he has the arm for third. His defense at second is not just below average but with age it is shifting to poor. His UZR/150 for his career is -6.3. A -5 is considered below average, and the issue is Kipnis numbers have been getting worse every year. He is a below average defender at best, and it’s likely to get worse. Now a lot of teams have been moving third basemen to second, so why not the other way? If he was able to play closer to last year’s numbers then he would be top five among third basemen in wRC+ which measures total runs created by a hitter.

In a typical year he would be better with the bat and glove at third than Chisenhall based on previous year’s production.

New Infield

The Indians defense has been atrocious this year. This is something every fan can agree on, which is rare. It has been so bad that no one could argue anything other than its degrees of awful. I think everyone would agree the Indians need to consider both aspects of the game when they make a lineup.

This shift would significantly improve the defense as it also opens the door for Jose Ramirez. Kipnis could not be worse than Chisenhall has been this year at third base, who by Fangraphs defense value is the worst third baseman in baseball this year. Ramirez and Lindor up the midde would be the best defensive combo the Indians have had since Omar Vizquel and Robbie Alomar - though will note I am saying best since them not on par with them.

Then when you add in a full year with preparation for playing first for Santana who has graded out as an above average defender this year and all of the sudden the infield defense is A LOT different and improved. The infield defense goes from substandard to above average in a single offseason.

Jose Ramirez

One of the big reasons Chisenhall is tradable has been the emergence of Jose Ramirez. Ramirez is the Rodney Dangerfield of minor and major league baseball. He gets no respect. For most of his career he wasn’t even considered the best Jose Ramirez in the minors as that distinction went to a Yankees pitching prospect. ESPN did a piece on the top 10 second base fantasy prospects; it’s not a super deep pool but Ramirez couldn’t even make the honorable mentions.

This all makes little sense to me. Anyone who scouts and follows prospects will tell you that a major indicator is age relative to level. Ramirez was always much younger than the players he played against. He was the youngest player in the International League to start the year. He struggled a bit in Akron last year but was 4.5 years younger than the league average. This year in the International League he was almost six years younger than the average. He has been able to produce in spite of this - especially this season.

Another thing I look for is plate discipline in the minors, which I often judge through walk to strikeout ratio, and percent of strikeouts per plate appearances. I mentioned earlier that these factors are not kind to Chisenhall, yet they are to Ramirez. He might not offer the power of Chisenhall, but he brings better defense, plate discipline and speed.

While he doesn’t get a ton of respect that isn’t the end of the world. Corey KluberAsdrubal Cabrera and Yan Gomes were all lesser prospects who the Indians developed.

Conclusion

My only concern with a deal is how much this situation reminds me of the Kelly Shoppach situation in 2008. Both players had big years with obscenely high BABIP’s. Both had indicators that showed they were in for a regression and that this season was likely a career year. Other teams will realize this as well.

If you read between the lines, that offseason it was clear the Indians had offers but none that were good enough to deal with the fallout of trading a player who had a perceived breakout like Shoppach had. The issue was other teams were smart enough to want to wait a year and see if it could be sustained. The Indians made the wrong choice and waited and in the end only got Mitch Talbot, who hasn’t pitched in the majors in three years.

My point is to sell high on Chisenhall. Don’t wait for another year and risk having no value. There are teams who liked Chisenhall - specifically the Cubs. I would shop him and try and add an arm that could help. I don’t even mean a big time arm, just a solid mid-to-back end arm with multiple years of team control. I'm sure the dream would be to get Jake Arrieta, but that won’t happen and I would then check and see about Corey Black or Pierce Johnson. Black in particular intrigues me thanks to his velocity. The idea of an arm in Double-A and a lesser spec in Single-A might work for the Cubs who seem ready to try and win next year.

Bottom line, as fantastic as Chisenhall was in the first half of the season, the negatives make him a trade now candidate as the Indians try to improve going forward.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at jellis121@yahoo.com

User Comments

Joe Chengery
September 5, 2014 - 9:38 PM EDT
Aaron,

All due respect, Kipnis' fWAR largely came from his ridiculous June 2013 when he had a 1218 OPS- his falloff in the second half led to him not even having an 800 OPS in any month in the second half (I still don't think he's had an 800 OPS month in 2014, certainly didn't through July 2014). There were some months since last June that weren't even 700, and that was before the oblique injury.

Keep in mind that that oblique injury can't be that serious- if that were the case, the Indians would NEVER let him play, especially after signing him to a large, long-term contract. Like Tony, I worry that many, including the Indians, are going to try to pass off his poor 2014 due to the oblique injury- if you can convince another team that is the case and get a decent return in a trade for him, fine- sell that.

But, truth be told, I see the injury not being that serious and more fluke with Kipnis' bat than ability- for three seasons now, he's been very streaky, and largely, non-existent offensively, Defensively, he doesn't hold a candle to Ramirez- Kipnis isn't even as good a defensive 2nd baseman as Carlos Baerga, and Baerga wasn't known for his defense.

I think Ramirez has at least the base stealing ability of Kipnis, possibly a bit better, as he has better pure speed than Kipnis- he just needs more experience reading ML pitchers. Power-wise, I think Kipnis only has a minor advantage at best- Kipnis is likely more of a 10-15 HR guy going forward than a 20+ HR guy- his power fell off in the second half of 2013, and there wasn't an oblique injury then. I think Ramirez might be a 5-10 HR guy in the long run, but even if he's only a 0-5 HR guy, he provides better plate discipline and no weakness against LHP, equivalent or better speed, and far better defense. Also keep in mind who is likely to improve offensively and defensively- Ramirez is 22, I believe, while I believe Kipnis is 28. It's obvious that Ramirez is the better bet to improve, NOT Kipnis.

That is all the more reason why I would look to trade Kipnis this offseason- if that can't be done, shift him to LF for next season- he should NOT be playing 2B next season- keep in mind that Kipnis played OF at Arizona State- that's still his best position or where he will be the least liability defensively. Regardless if Urshela takes over full time at 3B next season, Kipnis should not remain on the INF- the defense would be a plus if that defense is Urshela-Lindor (when he's ready - Ramirez can be there to start the season, but I would have a stopgap at 2B then so Kipnis can get reacclimated to the OF)-Ramirez-Santana-Gomes/Perez.
Jeff
September 4, 2014 - 6:24 PM EDT
Thanks Trent, love keeping it positive and informative
Aaron
September 4, 2014 - 4:10 PM EDT
Ryan,

I see your point, but do you really envision Jose Ramirez being the type of impact player that Kipnis has the ability to be with the bat? Kipnis has a 4.5 fWar last year. Now do I think Jose Ramirez can be a 3-4 win player, yes I do. That's only because he will play a much better 2nd base than Kipnis. That being said, I feel they'll steal a similar amount of bases so that's a wash. Jose Ramirez will probably hit for a higher average, but there's no way that he'll produce like Kipnis (When healthy and producing like he's capable). Ramirez is a slap hitter with limited gap power while Kipnis has the ability to produce above average offense at 2nd base. So in regards to your argument, I am worried that Ramirez isn't going to produce like Kipnis can offensively. The problem on this team is offense/defense right now and I'll admit Kipnis is a huge reason why. That being said, if he has a bounce back year next year, it'll be extremely helpful to this line up. IFFFFF Kipnis can hit like he's capable, I can live with the defense. They must upgrade 3rd base defense for that to happen though.

I just don't like the idea of unloading a guy for one bad year. If you get something nice in return, go right ahead... but I don't like just trading him to trade him because someone feels that JRam is a similar player.
Walter
September 4, 2014 - 3:33 PM EDT
I believe Jim Thome had the same issue as Chisenhall when he came up as 3B for the Indians. I can see Chisenhall playing 1b. I think Chisenhall is more athletic than Thome which is the reason he could be considered for RF.

Tony
September 4, 2014 - 3:26 PM EDT
While Chisenhall could probably play first base, I actually like him more as a right field option if he can make the switch there. His problem has always been his throwing from third base. It was a developmental point from day one in the minors and is something he still has problems with. It is at the point where it just is what it is at this point and is probably not correctable. But he has the arm and some athleticism to handle right field, at least in theory....so I'd like to see them try him out there. Find a taker for David Murphy.
Ryan
September 4, 2014 - 3:21 PM EDT
Chisenhall's defense at 3rd has been an enigma. In two out of the four years he has played at the ML level, his dWAR has been positive, and it was only this year that it has been so bad. Based on the eye test on what I have seen in a very albeit limited sample size, he is bad at balls that characterize the "hot corner", balls hit right at him very hard. However, he has decent range and soft enough hands to take care of most balls and a strong enough, yet semi-erratic arm. I think that the arm issues can be solved with repetition (the throws tend to tail as he throws from a side-arm motion) and the "hot corner" balls might be a matter of just repetition of hot shots and hopefully reaction times and instincts improve. However, definitely a move to 1st will solve both problems. Also being taller with more reach than Santana gives him an inherent advantage over Santana at 1B.
Ryan
September 4, 2014 - 3:17 PM EDT
If one believes in JRam and that he is able to give comparable offensive production to Kipnis along with his superior defense then one should not worry about "selling low". Let's put it this way, if someone tells you they will sell you a house that is exactly like your house, but at half the market price, but of course the only way you can buy it is to sell your current house. So because of time constraints of buying the cheaper house, you sell at 80% of market value (ie selling low) in order to buy something that is just as good, but even cheaper, why not do that? IMO one should only be concerned about selling low if you are not confident that JRam will provide comparable offense of Kipnis.
Aaron
September 4, 2014 - 2:12 PM EDT
The people that are completely dismissing the idea of trading Chisenhall have a very limited understanding of talent evaluation. The days of just evaluating someone on BA, HR, RBIs, and OPS are long gone. Jeff is absolutely spot on in his theory. He's not saying that Chisenhall can't be a good player. What he is saying is that his BABIP is still an absurd .343. That inflated batting average... notice how many flares or weak liners Lonnie has falling this year? That doesn't tend to happen every year. His batted ball profile screams for regression, which has already done this year.

That being said, I am a Lonnie fan. What I do like is that he's increased his walk rate while maintaining his career K rate, which is always a positive sign. Move him to RF so he's not an insane liability in the infield. If somebody wants to give the Indians a haul and gamble on Chisenhall's fluky solid offensive season, the Indians would be foolish not to listen.

Batting average is such an outdated statistic people. Think about it... it evenly weights the value of a single and a home run when clearly, that's not the case. For example, Carlos Santana can "afford to be a .230 crappy hitter" because of how many walks he draws and his power.
Homer
September 4, 2014 - 12:10 PM EDT
GSon,

I wouldn't move Santana for anything less. Chisenhall and Kipnis are a different story. I still think moving Bourn, and Murphy is the way to go. Actually, I'm thinking a larger overhaul is needed...doubt they can trade Swisher, so he's a moot point. But I think trading Bourn, Murphy, and Aviles could get done. Cutting Ryan Raburn might be in the cards too, if I couldn't move him in the offseason I'd bring him back to ST next yr and then cut or trade him.
trent
September 4, 2014 - 11:33 AM EDT
are you the same idiot that said to trade Mike Brantley before the season started. This article reads like that absurd one too. Not sure what qualifies people just to blabber without any true baseball knowledge and have their writings be posted here. It.s why I don't even bother going to the lame foxsports site 1/2 the time. this is a good reminder why.
GSon
September 4, 2014 - 11:18 AM EDT
While the title to the article is provocative, the comments section ranges from insightful, to indignant and, at times, gets pretty absurd.. There is no doubt the Indians have depth brewing in the minors on the left side of the infield. Before the season is over, it would not be a huge surprise to see Zach Walters given a game or three at SS to see what the Indians actually have there.. If he can do a "no less than peralta" level job defensively, he could be a surprise starter at that spot.. I can say that watching his route to the ball / going back last night (during Salazar's CG) on the liner hit to right center and coming in/diving to catch the bloop to short right field looked like a guy who can play the spot: RF. That said, there are a couple of points:

@Walter.. We don't want Bruce.. He's Nick Swisher with a very slightly smaller contract. He's not the player that he promised to be when he was launching 30 bombs per year 2011 through 2013. Leake, absolutely. but, it's doubtful the Reds would let him go with both Cueto and Latos having only 2015 left before they both can become free agents.. Cincinnati does have Cingrani returning and Stephenson nearly ready to join the ML rotation. The Reds have a couple of pitching prospects that I wouldn't be upset with if they replaced Bruce: Kivel and Romano.. Depending on how Murph does in his return, the addition of a left handed stick to the Reds would make some sense. Z-Mac would be a solid addition to the bottom of their pitching staff.. Aviles is who cares.. Giving up Chisenhall would hurt.. but returning Leake and a couple of lottery tickets would make it worth it..

@Homer.. yes to the suggestion w/ the projection for Walters at third.. Maybe to the trading of Santana..but only if the return is a wipeout.. Santana to the Dodgers for Seager and Joc..something outrageous like that...

@ Tony regarding trading Kipnis.. NYY would LOVE to have him.. sadly, the NYY's don't really have a lot that the Indians want that is MLB ready right now..(Greene & Banuelos?) and.. why would it be a good idea for the Indians to use a ".. handcuff for easing a guy like Urshela into the mix.." Are you imparting something you've read in an EL James novel here?.. eh Fifty?..
baseball man
September 4, 2014 - 10:53 AM EDT
your view of Chisenhall is stupid would be horrible trade if they do that i say trade Avilas a 250 hitter and not good at third or right field
baseball man
September 4, 2014 - 10:49 AM EDT
what a fool you are I think Chisenhall has great potentail getting much better at third as he plays more often hits very well against left hand pitchers what are you on an acid trip Id never trade him he is hitting a high point in his career I think he can be a 300 plus hitter with 20 plus home runs and 90 to 100 Rbis perfect as 5 or 6 hitter with Gomes behind or in front of him Santana is not a cleanup hitter Indians overrate him bigtime if they can find a power hitter hes the guy i would trade way overated leaves a ton of guys on base check out how many runners he has left on base this year as opposed to what he knocks in
Tony
September 4, 2014 - 8:38 AM EDT
No chance that Lindor or Urshela start next season with the Indians. Ramirez should be the opening day shortstop next year before Lindor comes up in May-June....and then it gets interesting from there how Ramirez fits into things and where he is used or if he pushes a potentially still struggling Kipnis off second base. Urshela is a guy who could be up more in May-June as well if the need is there at third base. Chisenhall HAS to be moved off third. He's a below average defender there who is who he is there. He's find here and there at the position, but can't be your everyday guy there.

I agree that Victor Martinez would be a perfect addition for the Indians. Problem is that unless they move Swisher, there is no way Martinez is coming here. And Swisher is near impossible to move right now.
Rich
September 4, 2014 - 8:23 AM EDT
I don't think either Lindor or Urshela will be ready to start next April. They're both very young and could probably use a little more AAA time. So maybe we should keep the status quo and see how Kipnis plays next spring after he is supposedly fully recovered from his oblique injury.

We could explore trading him when Lindor is ready to take over at short, probably in mid-season. In the meantime, keep JRam there - he's doing a great job.

But I really think we need to start planning for Lindor/JRam as our SS/2B of the future. The near future.

Chisenhall's defense at 3rd has improved lately. At least he's making the routine plays consistently. And his bat is coming around. He's killing it the last ten games. I wish he weren't so streaky, but that may improve with time. I wouldn't trade that bat, not on a team as offensively challenged as the Indians are.
Robinson
September 4, 2014 - 6:33 AM EDT
I think there needs to be a more positive vibe here!

Chisenhall should not be traded. .295 AVG with a .360 OBP from an improving 25 year old hitter. He was never going to keep up with the torrid pace he was setting in the first half and he is now starting to get hot again after a cold patch. I think the right field thing makes sense on the surface, but there are too many logistical blocks including contracts for Raburn Murphy Swisher, and you also don't know if Lonnie can take good routes on the ball in the outfield. A change of position could also have an adverse effect on his bat (SEE CARLOS SANTANA).

Speaking of Santana, how anyone can justify a trade for him is beyond me. He's so underrated. Great power, puts up great AB's and compensates a sub AVG with one of the best OBP's in the league (league leader in walks). Also well above average defensively.

I agree that Kipnis has had a poor year at the plate and a terrible one defensively, but you have to remember he is 75% healthy at best and he brings such positive energy to the clubhouse (same as Chisenhall) which is under looked.

I'm not as high on Urshela as others. I really think he would just be an above avg defender but an automatic out with extremely low OBP.

I really hope the rotation can stick as it is now for next season and maybe look at acquiring an innings eater no.2/3/4 guy because we just haven't had long enough outings from Bauer Salazar and House which is starting to tax the bullpen in my opinion.

Anyway I think we are playing reasonable ball right now and are not without a shot of still making some noise. I like the problems that are created out of the emergence of guys like Ramirez Aguilar Lindor Ramsay and Urshela.

Go tribe!


Norm
September 4, 2014 - 6:25 AM EDT
Hi Jellis,
Interesting article but I am not sure I agree with the premise. If you really want to trade players having good years why don't you start with Brantley or Gomes? Chisenhall really only had a bad month of July and has hit well otherwise. I love Urshela's potential but he doesn't look ready for the majors. I do not think Lindor should start next year in the majors either. I have read all the comments and agree that Chis is not a great defender but wonder if he is that much worse than Kipnis. I do thank he has more tools than Kipnis but who knows if he craters next year. The big difference to me is that the Indians already have a better 2B already on the roster. He is playing SS now but may not much longer. There is not a better 3B on the roster now than Chis. I do not see a surplus of power in Cleveland and would not willingly part with a run producer like Chis.
Aaron
September 4, 2014 - 3:46 AM EDT
Just a few more things to add... I promise I'm done after this!

I could stomach a Swisher or Bourn for Edwin Jackson deal... and here's why. First, Jackson does has a decent track record. This year, his BABIP is .352 and he's had some walk problems. Expose him to the wonder that is Mickey Callaway and I think he could be the pitcher he was a few years ago. Also, it will help getting him out of Wrigley. That gives the Indians some needed pitching depth as well.

Just to make this clear as well, I don't not expect Victor Martinez to be in an Indians uniform. First, it wouldn't shock me if he gets a QO and secondly, I don't see the FO paying a strict DH 15 million a year. This would be an ideal situation (at least in my eyes) and I think it's something the Indians should seriously consider. That proposed lineup has length, balance, power, and some speed. Add a reclamation project in Jackson and possibly unload Kipnis' contract for a solid prospect and use the savings towards Martinez.
Aaron
September 4, 2014 - 3:30 AM EDT
I LOVE the Chiz to RF idea. I think he could really play well there. Those of you suggesting that Kipnis can play the OF are just way off. He has enough trouble putting enough on a throw turning the DP... how is that arm going to play in the OF???

I'm not sure what they should do with Kipnis though. Part of me would be okay with trading him, but the other part of me says there's still talent in that bat and the Indians will be selling extremely low with him. I think you can live with the defense if the other 3 spots are solid defensively.

The key is unloading Murphy. I'm actually in the minority who feels Bourn can still play (when his legs are under him). Unfortunately, Swisher has to DH and he's not going anywhere with that contract. The key is finding someone to play 3rd base. I'm not sold on Urshela quite yet... Love his defense, but I feel the Jack Hannahan comp is pretty spot on. Solid bench player, but I don't think he's going to hit enough. Everyone is getting caught up on the fact that he's right handed. This kid has only hit for one year in the minors.

What I'd love to see is getting rid of Swisher's contract, trading Murphy, moving Chiz to RF and then signing Victor Martinez. Professional hitter... Brantley Martinez Santana/Gomes... Where do I sign up. Can't do that though unless Swisher is unloaded. I think that solves a ton of problems and you can get away with playing Urshela at 3rd as his bat won't be needed to produce as much.

My ideal line up:

Bourn CF
Santana 1B
Brantley LF
Martinez DH
Gomes C
Chiz RF
Kipnis 2B
Urshela 3B
JRam SS (Until Lindor is ready)

And who knows... if something like this happens, Kipnis is expendable. Like Tony said, maybe there's a Kipnis, JRam/Lindor, etc package out there to get someone like a Stanton.
Big AL
September 4, 2014 - 1:27 AM EDT
I'm scared of trading Kipnis Tony because we would be selling low again and he's going to bounce back, he hasn't looked right all year. I wouldn't overlook the physical and mental drain of playing with an injury.

Given, his slide started the second half of 2013, but if he kept up his pace from the first half it'd be a robbie alomar quality season at least from an offensive standpoint. And seeing he's the gold standard for second basemen that's a pretty high expectation. If he could get to a silver level(think .275 15hrs-18hrs 75 rbis .350OBP .450 slugging), I'll take that.

If you could guarantee a right handed outfielder who could get 20+ hrs, .340OBP, that won't trip over his feet in the outfield for Kip I'd take it but I doubt we could get that after this season. Wait a year...
C L Who
September 4, 2014 - 1:17 AM EDT
Santana now up to 24 bombs with 25 games left. He's going to hit 28 to 30. How can the Tribe trade that? I'd say it can't, unless the return is a solid #2 starter. Now that the roids are out of the game, very few players are hitting for power. Miggy - aka best hitter on the planet -- has 19 bombs.

I miss the roids era.
Big AL
September 4, 2014 - 1:14 AM EDT
WOW guys so many scenarios!! I largely agree with Rich but it seems as though he completely forgot about Jason Kipnis, so I intend to resolve this oversight. Seeing as the free agent crop in the mid level price range is uninspiring, I contend that we must trade Michael Bourn and David Murphy (not in the same deal), move Kipnis to left field and Chisenhall to right.

I do believe Chisenhall's cannon will play in right and Kipnis speed will be adequate in left. Brantley graded out better in CF this year and his offense would really be elite at that position. Jose Ramirez plays second and Lindor plays SS, Urshela, Walters (if he can handle it) and Aviles handle 3B. Swisher and Aguilar can share DH duties and backup first base. Tyler Holt is the backup OF. The other positions are pretty obvious and I'll leave the pitching staff for another day.
Tony
September 3, 2014 - 11:59 PM EDT
If we are moving Kipnis or Chisenhall to the outfield in order to make room for JRam and Lindor as the keystone combo at 2B-SS, then I actually would trade Kipnis and keep Chisenhall and make him a right fielder. I believe he has the athleticism to play there, has the arm and could always still play a little 3B. Might be a good handcuff for easing a guy like Urshela into the mix....or a backup option for a third baseman they maybe pick up in FA or a trade on a short term deal.
Roger
September 3, 2014 - 11:39 PM EDT
i totally disagree with dealing the
chiiz. he very well could make 2015 his breakout year like brantley did this year. That swing of his is awfully impressive and aa .350 ba against left handers which he couldnt hit before 2014 but 100 or so ab's against llefties indicates it may be premature. lindor should make those around him better the ggood ss usually do. so sign michael cuddyer if the price tag is reasonable he is 35 or so so not highly desireable and years on turf he may only have one year in him but sure would like to see us go for him.
Rich
September 3, 2014 - 11:16 PM EDT
Wow, 33 comments. Yeah, I love JRam, too. Maybe it was watching him get three hits off Verlander tonight, two for extra bases.

Trading Kipnis would allow everything to fall into place. JRam moves to 2B, his best position from what I've been told. That opens up SS for Lindor. Urshela plays 3rd, which means we replace the worst defensive 3B in baseball with one of the best, plus we add a much needed right-handed bat. Chisenhall moves to RF. His arm is strong enough and he runs well. He's hitting over .350 against lefties so he wouldn't have to be platooned.

Jesus Aguilar takes over at DH, giving us another much-needed right-handed power bat. Murphy and Raburn get traded, even if we have to eat salary. Swisher takes over Giambi's role as cheerleader and clubhouse veteran presence.

We end up with the best defensive infield in baseball and a more balanced offense with three switch hitters plus Urshela, Gomes, and Aguilar in our right-handed lineup, and the three switch hitters plus Brantley, Bourn, and Chiz in our left-handed lineup.

Bourn CF
Ramirez 2B
Brantley LF
Santana 1B
Gomes C
Chisenhall RF
Aguilar DH
Lindor SS
Urshela 3B
yourtribe
September 3, 2014 - 9:39 PM EDT
Really liking jram. Smooth in the field and great athlete. Either ss or 2b when lindor arrives.
t laszlo
September 3, 2014 - 8:57 PM EDT
I have been keeping up with Ursula for a few years. I think I started when he made it to the Captians. His defense is almost the best in the minors. I would like to see Lindor and Ursula in the same infield.
Tony
September 3, 2014 - 8:41 PM EDT
With Major League under inexpensive deals and long term control like Chisenhall, Kipnis and some starting pitchers....along with some interesting prospects in the upper levels......I think the Indians have the makings of a potential package for a big deal for someone like Stanton. Maybe not, but that's the kind of splash they need to look at making with the lineup.
C L Who
September 3, 2014 - 7:13 PM EDT
For sure the Cubs like Chis......they're starting Luis Valbuena at third this year and last!

Anyway, everyone is right.....this lineup needs a major overhaul. Kip, Chis, Bourn, Aviles and Murphy are all tradeable and should be traded to open some spots, reduce payroll, improve defense, and enable a bigger dollar allocation to sign a starting pitcher. Lindor at SS, Ramirez at 2B, Walters at 3B and Ramsey at RF and Holt in CF would be improvement. Aguilar is sort of odd man out as long as Swish is with us, but I don't see Swish as tradeable.
Not a fan of trading Santana, at all. Team friendly contract, hits well out of 1B, and these days how does a team replace 22 HR? Not very easily.....
nubballguy
September 3, 2014 - 7:04 PM EDT
I think its obvious that Santana has more trade value than Chiz. With that in mind, what could we get back for a trade of Santana and say Murphy (though I'd MUCH rather say Bourn)?

I get that Santana is our sole HR hitter and I've been impressed by the reports of his improved fielding since taking over at 1st but I guess what I'm wondering is could his value net us a quality OFer and we fill his absence with Chiz moving over to first base primarily. Vs. lefties, Urshela could get the starts at 3rd and Aguilar could at DH or an occasional 1st base and vs. certain tough righties Chiz could cover 3rd with Swisher at 1st.

Of course that is provided that we get a substantial RF bat in return for Santana someone who helps ease the loss of his power in the lineup. OR buy into some other combo of players in that position and add a McAllister or Tomlin or Scrabble to net a strong SP?

Any suggestions?

Andy
September 3, 2014 - 6:56 PM EDT
Kipnis isn't having a terrible year offensively considering the potential lingering oblique injury. He's got a lower BABIP and ISO than last year, which tend to go hand in hand. His defense has definitely regressed though. Maybe the White Sox would consider trading for him considering their turnstile at 2B and how well Kipnis plays at The Cell, but trading within the division is always tricky.

The starting 2015 outfield of Chiz-Brantley-Murphy or Brantley-Bourn-Chiz is a pretty thought, but just so unlikely. I doubt anybody considered more than a 1-yr deal for Murphy last off-season, he still can't hit LHP, and he's due $6M next season plus a $500k buyout for 2016. Bourn is untradeable unless he morphs back into a 30 SB guy with plus defense. Maybe those go hand in hand as well. Aviles is probably better defensively at 3B than Chiz, but that sub-.300 OBP is hard to stomach for a non-slugging, average D 3B.

Tough decisions ahead to be sure. At least the Indians seem to have decently cheap starting pitching and a lot of cheap bullpen arms to off-set the pain of eating some position player salary in a trade/cut.
CommonSense
September 3, 2014 - 6:51 PM EDT
It;s time to step in a bring a little reality to this situation. LC is not someone other teams think very highly of. He would bring little to no return in a trade/
Robert
September 3, 2014 - 5:46 PM EDT
This issue will be the key discussion point of our "hot stove" league this summer.

I see Kipnis as a far bigger problem than Chiz - especially since J Ram should be an ideal 2b.

The whole issue of lineup is critical. We lost in the 9th last night - but did not score after the first. Our offense stinks and it must be improved. Our D stinks and it must be improved.

We are in a unique situation as we actually have talent pushing from Columbus.

I personally like the idea of Chiz to RF. He has a cannon for an arm and I believe he will hit.

Just last night Kipnis allowed a guy to first on a gb to 2nd.

I also note all the bitching about Murphy - we miss his bat badly. Check out his RBIs.

I would trade Santana if we got any reasonable value. That opens the way to Aquillar.

Ultimately we will have to decide if we are going to dedicate next year to development of rookies so that we can have a better 2016.

Bob
Jimmy
September 3, 2014 - 4:52 PM EDT
I think we should keep Lonnie. He is batting almost .300 with spending time on the bench while Mike A plays 3B. Started year on bench while Carlos played third.
I see Bourn, Rayburn, Aviles, Murphy or Swisher not with the team next year.
That means that the outfield will have Brantley in centerfield, Walters - LF and Jason K in right field.
Infield: Lonnie - 3B, Lindor - ss, J Ram - 2b and Carlos - 1B. Speed at top of line-up with Lindor and J Ram. DH Jesse A (right hand power bat) Depends upon if Lindor can hit major league pitching??
Canadian Joe
September 3, 2014 - 3:36 PM EDT
Definitely should keep Chisenhall. Move him to LF or DH.or 1st base. He still has a good bat if allowed to play. If we keep Kipnis, move him to outfield. Not a high value for him right now. The other problem is, we need bats back, not pitching. We are OK for starters. Can fill relievers. But we need bats. Way too much dead wood on the roster now that's producing no offense.. I don't see a lot of logic with the way the roster is set right now. Is this Antonetti or Francona ? Bourne, Swisher, Giambi, Raburn all taking up roster spots, and taking in millions. Take the hit and get rid of them.
Seth
September 3, 2014 - 3:12 PM EDT
Yes, I think moving Kipnis would be the more logical thing. I also think that will be difficult to do unless he has an awesome rest-of-September. Otherwise, you are in a very sell-low situation, where it's unlikely you'd get enough in return for it to make sense to move him. If he has been battling injury and comes into camp next year healthy and in better shape, and bounces back to his 2013 production, then you have almost certainly lost whatever trade you made. Maybe they can get someone to look past this year and give up a decent return for him based on his past performance.

If you trade Chisenhall, you better be pretty confident that Urshela can hit in the majors, and that his defense is what it's supposed to be. This is another one where it seems like it would be tough to make a move like that this year, Chisenhall might have decent value in a trade, certainly more than last year, but you don't want to leave a hole at 3b. I think it makes the most sense to get Chisenhall some work in the outfield, so you can give Urshela some opportunities at 3b and keep Lonnie in the lineup.
Homer
September 3, 2014 - 3:01 PM EDT
Walter, I think without a doubt Santana could get more in a trade. Questions are to who and for what?
Walter
September 3, 2014 - 2:43 PM EDT
Could the Indians get more in return for trading Santana instead Chisenhall? I would consider trading him for the right deal.

Tony
September 3, 2014 - 2:26 PM EDT
The main problem with Lonnie is he has no position. He can't stay at third base. He's a below average defender there at best. No upside to really be more other than to maybe be borderline average. He needs to move to first base, designated hitter or left field.....but the problem is the Indians have other players already locked into those positions.

Going to be very interesting to see what the Indians do this offseason. Something has to give because they can't just bring back the same offense and hope for anything different next year.
DJ
September 3, 2014 - 2:17 PM EDT
Chisenhall is not the problem with this team. I will take his .290 BA any time. This is really only his first full season in MLB. Sure would hate to see Tribe deal ChizKid and watch him become a star with another team. Lonnie can become a decent fielder with reps and practice.

Too often we seem to want to promote untested minor leaguers as if they are can't miss. Lonnie was a can't miss prospect and it took him 5+ Hears to settle in. Let's not throw away that investment.
yourtribe
September 3, 2014 - 2:13 PM EDT
Something has to be done.
Been saying for at least 2 years Lonnie isn't the answer.
Kipnis? What happened to him???
Bourn has to go. .260s with a horrible k/bb
ratio. An 8 hitter. Not leadoff.
Santana. Unless he cuts his swing down is not a 4 or 5 hitter. We are not putting him 4th to walk a ton and hit 230!!
No reason Gomes should b below Santana. Took Tito forever to get him out of 7 or 8 hole.
Overhaul the lineup and go young and athletic. What in the hell we have to lose. Hitting or lack thereof has killed this team all year. It's score 10 then 4 games of 2 or so.
We need a leadoff and cleanup hitter. So how do we get them Chris????
matt underwood
September 3, 2014 - 1:52 PM EDT
man, for a team that doesnt spend money (popular belief) they sure do have a ton of $$$ tied up in some crappy vet contracts: bourn, murphy, swisher, rayburn

i think the banging of the drum should be to hold these idiots in the front office accountable for these horrible contracts they are handing out
Colin
September 3, 2014 - 1:42 PM EDT
Call me crazy for even asking this but is there any way we have what it takes to pull off a trade for Mookie Betts, who looks to be blocked in Boston for a long time?
Tony
September 3, 2014 - 1:19 PM EDT
I'm not sure anyone is saying that Urshela shoud come in and be the guy next year. I think something that could make sense is keeping Chisenhall around and transitioning Urshela up to the bigs next year in a limited role to see what they have. But the problem remains, and that is the Indians lineup needs an overhaul....well, maybe not to that degree, but they need to swap out 2-3 players. Brantley and Gomes are going nowhere.....and Swisher is untradeable and Santana is their only true power bat. So that leaves Murphy, Bourn, Kipnis and Chisenhall as players to look at replacing. If you keep Chisenhall, which I am totally fine with, then you have to consider trading Kipnis. They can't continue to keep both of them a part of their infield defense.....and their inconsistencies at the plate too.
OhioBaseball
September 3, 2014 - 12:58 PM EDT
Let's be real here...

I like Urshela and all but I think this is Chisenhall replacement talk is really premature. Urshela is only 22 years old and his minor league track record of hitting before this season was quite mediocre. I don’t think anyone really considered him much of a prospect going into this season, and now people are talking about replacing a 25 year old, former 1st round pick, talented hitter Lonnie Chisenhall. To me, that sounds more like ‘buying high’ on Urshela than ‘selling high’ on Chisenhall. Urshela’s bat in MLB would probably really suck next year. Are we seriously anxious to start a guy next year in MLB that has a career minor league slash line of .268/.304/.404 as a 23 year old??? No thanks. I think Urshela may be a nice MLB player but that’s around 3 years away.

It happens every year, time and time again. If you go back and read reports on this website in 2010 and 2011, you’ll read about how great of a hitter Lonnie Chisenhall was going to be and how his arm and infield skills would produce a likely MLB-average defender at 3B. He was #1 prospect in 2011, #2 prospect in 2010. Now that Lonnie Chisenhall is actually in the major leagues, people are ready to bail on him. Why??

Sites like this and Baseball America are trying to sell subscriptions, and you don’t get that by talking about how these prospects suck and that there’s nothing to be excited about in the minor leagues. So, they talk up these prospects to get attention, get $$ from subscribers and build unrealistic expectations for these prospects so that when they finally get to MLB they can’t help but disappoint fans b/c they aren’t as good as the superlatives used to sell these guys when they were prospects.

In two years people will be complaining about Francisco Lindor batting .260 with only modest power, no SB’s. Go back and look at past years’ top prospect lists and you’ll be disappointed with 90% of the guys on the lists. Bottom line is people expect too much out of these prospects and people complaining about Chisenhall and requesting that Giovani Urshela replacing him is a perfect example of that.
Homer
September 3, 2014 - 12:02 PM EDT
Walters has the arm and some experience at 3b, but I think his overall defense would be similar to Chisenhall's. IF Walters could hit .240-250 with his power numbers intact he'd be palatable.
Homer
September 3, 2014 - 11:58 AM EDT
I agree Aviles is replaceable, but I view his versatility and contract as an asset. I think the Tribe should exercise his option for next season. If it means carrying for a short time or trading him during the offseason (preferred). Out of Swisher, Bourn, Aviles and Raburn, I think Aviles has the most value. Maybe the Tribe could get a young P prospect in return. If they can't move him in the offseason, waiting until the season starts - when injuries occur - is the best move.
Ross
September 3, 2014 - 11:54 AM EDT
Kipnis is not a 3b option. He does not have the quickness nor the arm for the position. J Ram does not have the arm nor the bat (power) to become a full time 3b. If we fall out of contention, Walters should be given play time at 2b and 3b to see how he looks defensively.
Chip
September 3, 2014 - 11:46 AM EDT
While enjoyable and somewhat informative, prospect rankings hold little clout with me. The players you mentioned are good examples, but there are many more. I feel the same about the Chisenhall, Urshela situation as I do about the Kipnis, Ramirez circumstance, and that is both Ramirez and Urshela have made Kipnis and Chisenhall expendable. The defensive improvement is astounding, and in my opinion worth what little offensive loss that may occur. I'm not even convinced that there wouldn't be offensive improvement. The Indian's roster is loaded with left handed bats, and replacing two lefties with a switch hitter and a right hander could certainly help. The aquisition of Walters puts Aviles in the same boat as Kipnis and Chisenhall. It may be easier to list the current roster and who can effectively replace them. I'm not saying all these would/should happen, but I would make these replacements if possible. Obviously I haven't taken into consideration what might be brought back in said trades which could make others available too. I won't list Swisher because I don't think he has any value whatsoever & they are stuck with him.
1. Kipnis replaced by Ramirez
2. Chisenhall replaced by Urshela
3. Aviles replaced by Walters
4. Bourn replaced by Holt or Ramsey
5. Murphy replaced by Moncrief
6. Tomlin replaced by Cloyd or Arias
7. Raburn replaced by Aguilar
Again, I don't trade anyone just to trade them, if you can't get anything of value in return then retain them. Keep in mind that value in trading someone like Bourn or Swisher(if it were possible) is of the finiancial sort.

There has to be a safety net for young players. Some will most certainly struggle at some point, but the improvements that they could bring outweighs that risk for me. Personally, I see it just as or more likely that a downward trend occurs for some of the players that I suggested be replaced. It is also likely that the Indians could receive more value by trading a player like Ramirez over Kipnis, and I'm ok with that as long as the team that is trading for him holds his value as highly as Kipnis'.

This is the most young, MLB ready talent that this team has had in quite some time. They have accumulated some valuable assets and I hope they can use them to improve the team. Signings like Dickerson, Raburn, Bourn, Aviles, Swisher, and Murphy can now officially stop. If you can't sign a top talent to improve the team then save your money until you can would be my motto. Just sayin.
Homer
September 3, 2014 - 11:38 AM EDT
I think it should be a priority to look at moving one of Bourn or Swisher plus Murphy and Raburn. I could see the Tribe eventually eating Raburns salary...but I don't think that will happen until sometime next season if Raburn continues to flop. The Tribe might most easily trade Murphy, at $6.5M his deal and production seem the most palatable. I was really hoping he'd have a strong August and get claimed on waivers, oh well. For the a Tribe to move Bourn or Swisher they'd likely have to eat about half of either deal. After this season I'm not sure either is very movable. Another way to do it, would be for the Tribe to trade for another bad deal in return. Say, Bourn to the Cubs (the team of the day) for Edwin Jackson. That would be a total flip given the Tribe reportedly came close to signing Jackson.

As for trading Chisenhall or Kipnis...I say, either, whatever deal they can work out for a SP. I think Kipnis has more value, but Chisenhall might be a better fit for some teams.
Jack
September 3, 2014 - 11:25 AM EDT
I agree that is a good idea. I have been very pleased with Ramirez...and I would trade him, or possibly Lindor , and Santana for Niese/ Gee and Syndergard/Montero
Ramirez should improve on his average and he has looked like a rookie the past few games, but he can bunt , run and seems to be very strong at SS. If other GM really like Lindor, then trade him and keep Ramirez
Santana has already peaked and we need a better situational hitter
shy
September 3, 2014 - 11:17 AM EDT
The Indians can't win w Swisher and Bourn in the everyday lineup. They're done as regulars except for regular trips to the bank to cash checks. Kipnis arm is not strong enough to play third or outfield, he is one of those on the bubble post PED guys, I would trade him while they have some semi-fresh back of the card decent stats to attract a high- level prospect. I haven't seen Urshela play- but my sense is based on his proven ability to get better at every level, he could be a good third baseman in the majors. Lonnie Chisenhall is a good hitter and I think he has the ability to be a more consistent defender. I am not sure there is enough structure in a Francona led team to keep him in the zone 162. I could definitely see him in pinstripes w that short porch and Joe Girardi yankin' his chain.
Tony
September 3, 2014 - 10:51 AM EDT
Yep, I'd definitely look into trading Kipnis this offseason too. Not a giveaway but find a taker. That might make more sense in the long run. Again, bottom line, the Indians are going to have to make some tough choices this offseason. They can't bring back the same players and just sign a few vet retreads on minor league deals. They need a trade or two to significantly adjust the makeup of this roster.
Walter
September 3, 2014 - 10:51 AM EDT
The Reds are looking for offense this off season. They are struggling with there offense by losing over 30 one run games this year. The Reds also will have Cueto, Latos, Leake and Simon becoming FA after 2015. We complain about the Indians signing FA Bourn and Swisher to big contracts, but the Reds have done worse. Signing Votto, Phillips, Bruce and Bailey to huge contracts which has led them to be cash strapped. This year Baliey, Latos, Votto and Bruce have been injured throughout the year. I believe the Reds want to contend and reload at the same time.

Trade proposal

Chisenhall, Murphy, Aviles, McAllister to Reds

Leake and Bruce





Rocky55
September 3, 2014 - 10:47 AM EDT
I'm okay with trading Chiz for value but you can't base it on "regression" and then propose replacing him with Kip who has regressed even more. I'd look a the market for Kipnis & bring Gio up for defensive reinforcement. Not saying that Chiz shouldn't be moved. Just believe that Kip is maybe more valuable bait & can easily be replaced by Ramirez. That move would impact the defense as much unless you're positive that Kip can learn 3B on the fly.

Taco Salad for breakfast?!?
September 3, 2014 - 10:38 AM EDT
Yeah the emergence of Bryant (though yet to swing at a ML pitch) leads me to believe the Cubs interest in Chisenhall has all but evaporated.

Do you give Santana another shot over there next spring? I don;t think so.. Aguilar? Ha. J-Ram? Agree it would be a waste of his skill and besides, I am sort of in disagreement with some on this site and think he could easily be an average (if not better) SS in the majors.

The real question is: is Lindor now a trade chip? I say yes, but the return would have to be "major". Personally I think I'd gamble on a F.A as there are a few options out there for 2015. (Headley?) or or I can dream.. . A. Ramirez or even Hanley??? Chiz is available in a trade but the return is as questionable as is KIpnis's ability to play 3B.
Tony
September 3, 2014 - 10:37 AM EDT
I'm completely on board with the idea that the Indians should consider trading Chisenhall. They absolutely cannot bring this lineup back intact with all of its issues and inconsistencies, and he is the only player that they can easily move that could potentially help them get a Major League need in return and also allow them to be creative in getting some of their other talent on the roster to fill the void left by his bat and improve the defense.

I don't think Kipnis at third is an option though. I mean, anything can happen, but a big reason why Kipnis was moved from the outfield to second base out of college was because of the limited arm. And I just see him as out of position at third. But that's just how I see it. I might be complete wrong!

I think I would rather see them NOT pickup Mike Aviles option and instead keep Jose Ramirez on as the super utility guy. Ramirez can play short until Lindor is up in May-June. And they also have Zach Walters around I guess or could go out and get a cheap shortstop depth option on a minor league non-guaranteed deal. But of course, they will probably keep Aviles around because Francona loves his veterans and they will want a little more proven experience at shortstop until Lindor takes the job ful time.

I could also see them keeping Chisenhall and using him more as a corner utility guy and someone to bridge the transition of Urshela to Cleveland. The ideal solution is for Urshela and Lindor to both make it and be solid or more offensive contributors because they will do a world of good for the defense.

The Indians are in a tough spot because of some of the contracts they have out on Swisher, Bourn, Murphy and to an extend Raburn....and also their overcommittment to veterans like Aviles.
Homer
September 3, 2014 - 10:09 AM EDT
Jeff I'm not sure the Cubs are an option IF the Tribe were to trade Chisenhall. I mean they have Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo - that's leaving out Starling Castro and Luis Valbuena. I don't think they have the need for another INF at this point.

The Tribe definitely has some options... They could trade any number of players... Chisenhall, Kipnis, Urshela, JRam, Aguilar or even Lindor.

Honestly, I've wondered if they have been playing JRam because they like him or they are playing him because they think he's a great trade chip in the near future. I'd like to see the Tribe make every effort to keep him.

Then there's Mike Aviles - there's a possibility that the Tribe declines his option and looks to bank his $3.5M salary in a pitching upgrade. I doubt that happens, I think they opt to keep Aviles in the UTL role next yr. There are a numerous variables, Aviles, and JRam could be traded. Chisenhall or even Kipnis could be moved to the OF or traded this offseason, it's really anyone's guess how they will handle the lineup. What's obvious is it cannot remain the same.

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