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Possible trade options that can help the Indians lineup

Possible trade options that can help the Indians lineup
October 27, 2013
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In part one, I discussed possible free agent targets the Indians may look to add in order to help the offense.  Today, in part two, I divulge into potential trade targets.  This is always a tricky undertaking, as it's hard to know which players will be made available by their teams, but these are a few players that could be available or who I would target.

Big Names

Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
2013: 425 AB, .249 AVG, .365 OBP, .845 OPS, 24 HR, 62 RBI

I'm getting this one out of the way early.  I don't see there being any way that Stanton becomes an Indian.  With that being said, Antonetti would be foolish not to inquire on Stanton's availability.  He is everything the Indians are looking for.  A right fielder with enormous power entering his prime and years away from free agency.  In fact, Stanton will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and is under team control until 2017.  There's two main reasons I don't see any Stanton to Cleveland rumors coming to fruition.  First is the cost of acquiring him.  There is no way the Marlins part with him without receiving Francisco Lindor and/or Danny Salazar in return.  We've seen what Salazar is capable of.  We've heard how special Lindor is.  We also saw the Indians grab a postseason birth without Stanton.  What I'm saying is, that's too hefty of a price for someone like Stanton.  My second reason is that – and go ahead and call me crazy – I think the Marlins are closer to competing than some people may think.  They already have the makings of a great rotation, lead by 21-year-old Jose Fernandez, who is already arguably a top five pitcher in the MLB.  The offense is still far from spectacular, but prized outfield prospects Jake Marisnik andChristian Yelich debuted last season with the latter very much holding his own.  I think Miami may look to build around Stanton, in an effort to return to relevancy, rather than trade him away.

Josh Donaldson – Oakland Athletics
2013: 579 AB, .301 AVG, .384 OBP, .883 OPS, 24 HR, 93 RBI

This is pretty much just a dream scenario for  me.  Donaldson seems like a perfect fit in Cleveland.  His grittiness, work ethic, and the way he plays the game just screams “Cleveland.”  That should be enough to convince Oakland to send him this way, right?  I wish.  Realistically though, after the season Donaldson turned in, he may cost just as much as Stanton would.  The reason I even included him in this list is because of Billy Beane's reputation for selling high in the trade market on his players.  While I would disagree with it from an Oakland standpoint, seeing Beane trade Donaldson this offseason would not shock me.  There's a very real possibility that 2013 was the best season Donaldson will ever have.  Oakland has other third base options in Alberto Callaspo and Jed Lowrie, although neither one could offer the kind of production Donaldson did this past season.  With his stellar season and incredibly low cost (not arbitration eligible until 2015, and not a free agent until 2019), teams would be slamming on Beane's door if he even hinted that Donaldson was available.  Let me make this clear: I do not think Donaldson will be traded this offseason; however, with Beane's reputation, it would not shock me.  And if he is made available, I expect Antonetti to throw his hat into the ring.

Chase Headley – San Diego Padres
2013: 520 AB, .250 AVG, .349 OBP, .747 OPS, 13 HR, 50 RBI

Headley had a down season this year after 2012 saw him hit .286 with 31 homers and an NL-leading 115 RBI.  He is great defensively at third base (Gold Glove in 2012) and would be a nice fit in the Indians lineup if it weren't for his contract.  Headley is eligible for free agency following the 2014 season, so a trade for him may very well result in just a one-year deal.  That won't lower the asking price for him too much, however.  Although Headley is coming off of a subpar season and will only be under contract for one more year, San Diego will still look to get a very nice haul for him.  I do expect Headley to get traded this offseason, but probably to a larger market team - one that can afford to give up the prospects for him and possibly afford to sign him to a long term extension.  Cleveland doesn't exactly fall into either of those groups.

David Freese – St. Louis Cardinals
2013: 462 AB, .262 AVG, .340 OBP, .721 OPS, 9 HR, 60 RBI

Freese seems to have fallen out of favor a bit in St. Louis, and that could create some trade rumors this winter.  Highly regarded second base prospect Kolten Wong is the key to Freese's availability.  If the Cardinals feel Wong is ready to handle an every day major league job, they may move MVP candidate Matt Carpenter back to third base – his original position in the minors.  That would open the door for Cleveland to attempt to acquire Freese.  While Freese may not be a good fit in the four spot of a lineup, he would certainly help to lengthen it as well as provide some clutch hitting and the ability to drive in runs (see Game 6 of the 2011 World Series).  This offseason will be Freese's second trip through the arbitration process, and he is under team control until 2016.

Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
2013: 525 AB, .278 AVG, .341 OBP, .758 OPS, 14 HR, 79 RBI

AT&T Park doesn’t properly show the power that Sandoval possesses.  This is strictly opinion based, but if taken out of San Francisco, I think Sandoval turns into a consistent 20+ homer guy.  He doesn’t strikeout much for a big guy, and we saw in last year’s World Series that he is capable of rising to the occasion in pressure situations.  His weight seems to always be an issue, and probably plays a part in his moments of below average defense.  Sandoval has a club friendly contract that will see him make $8.25 million in 2014.  The big third baseman is eligible to test free agency after next season, so he would be only a one year rental, unless the Indians felt they could/should lock him up long term. 

Dexter Fowler – Colorado Rockies
2013: 415 AB, .263 AVG, .369 OBP, .776 OPS, 12 HR, 42 RBI

Fowler is a guy I dream about the Indians acquiring.  He plays great defense, hits for a decent average, has some pop, draws a lot of walks, and is affordable (from a contract standpoint).  With the roster as is, Michael Bourn will be the everyday center fielder.  If Fowler would be comfortable with a move to right field, a position he’s played a total of one inning in his career, Cleveland’s outfield defense would again be elite, with even more offensive production.  If the Indians were to trade Bourn, Fowler could slide into center field and offer up great production at half the cost of Bourn.  Health has been a concern for Fowler, as he has yet to surpass 500 at bats in his five-plus year career.  Prior to last season, Fowler signed a two year/$11.6 million deal with Colorado, buying out two years of arbitration.  He is scheduled to make $7.35 million next year before being eligible for his last year of arbitration in 2015.

Middle Tier

Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers
2013: 304 AB, .283 AVG, .370 OBP, .831 OPS, 12 HR, 49 RBI

Ramirez is a professional, reliable hitter, and was linked to the Indians leading up to this past season's trade deadline.  When healthy, he has a knack for driving in runs.  Although age has caught up with him a bit (he'll be 36 next June), he still has a lot to offer, especially to a Cleveland team that struggled to get any production at all out of their third baseman in 2013.  Along with his age and some injury concerns, Ramirez is guaranteed to make $16 million in 2014.  That may be more than the Indians are willing to pay him at this stage of his career.  He also has a $14 million mutual option for 2015 with a $4 million buyout.  If the Indians can get Milwaukee to eat some of his salary, then Ramirez could be an excellent fit in Cleveland.  He's someone that I would love to see the Indians pursue.

Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2013: 478 AB, .297 AVG, .335 OBP, .775 OPS, 13 HR, 54 RBI

Kendrick is a guy that if acquired, would take some creativity from Terry Francona to get him in the lineup.  He is primarily a second baseman, but that position is blocked in Cleveland by All-Star Jason Kipnis.  He has also played some first base and outfield in his career.  If the Indians believe that he is at least average at at one of those two positions, then he may be intriguing enough for Antonetti to give the Angels a call.  Kendrick's name popped up in trade rumors in both July and August, so it's safe to assume his name will appear again in winter rumors.  He is under contract for the next two seasons at $9.35 million for 2014 and $9.5 million for 2015.  This one seems like a long shot, but Kendrick is an athletic player and if the Indians believe he can handle another position on an every day basis, they may look to bring him in.

Matt Adams – St. Louis Cardinals
2013: 296 AB, .284 AVG, .335 OBP, .839 OPS, 17 HR, 51 RBI

Matt Adams is a guy I wanted the Indians to explore trading for last offseason when he was blocked by Allen Craigat first base.  Now, it may be too late.  Like David Freese, Adams' availability depends on another player.  If Carlos Beltran signs elsewhere this winter, then it is assumed that Allen Craig would move back out to right field, with Adams taking over first base full time.  However, if Beltran resigns with St. Louis, then Craig remains at first base, and Adams is once again relegated to bench duty.  Cost wise, Adams isn't eligible for arbitration until 2016, and cannot test free agency until 2019.  After his 2013 season, I think if Adams were to be moved, it would be as a part of a package for a big name, established major leaguer (David Price, maybe?)  Cleveland would likely only be able to offer prospects in return, which is something the Cardinals with their already loaded farm system may not be looking for.

Role Players

Nate Schierholtz – Chicago Cubs
2013: 462 AB, .251 AVG, .301 OBP, .770 OPS, 21 HR, 68 RBI

Schierholtz is entering his final year of arbitration and will be a free agent after next season.  For one year, he may be a nice fit as a platoon mate with Ryan Raburn in right field.  He was often used as a defensive replacement during his time in San Francisco from 2009-2012, but when given regular playing time in Chicago last season he was able to find a nice power stroke.  If the Indians miss out on some of the big bats – or even if they don't and are just looking for a good role player – they could do worse than Schierholtz.

Logan Morrison – Miami Marlins
2013: 293 AB, .242 AVG, .333 OBP, .709 OPS, 6 HR, 36 RBI

Morrison's power numbers have fallen off drastically since he clubbed 23 long balls in 462 at bats in 2011; although that decrease could be partly due to the new and super pitcher friendly Marlins Park.  Adding Morrison's rather large and humorous personality to a clubhouse that already hosts funny men Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, and Mike Aviles, among others, just seems like a perfect fit.  If he could regain his 2011 hitting form it could be an even better match.  If acquired by the Indians, Morrison would work primarily as a first baseman and part time DH, with a game or two in left field.  He probably wouldn't cost much to acquire and he is under team control through 2016.

Mitch Moreland – Texas Rangers
2013: 462 AB, .232 AVG, .299 OBP, .736 OPS, 23 HR, 60 RBI

Moreland may be a guy that just needs a change of scenery; although it's hard to imagine any hitter wanting to leave the friendly confines of the Ballpark in Arlington.  The more I think about it, the more I believe Moreland's name could be linked to Cleveland all winter.  Adrian Beltre isn't going anywhere.  Neither is Ian Kinsler.  Texas seems committed to Elvis Andrus, and I don't see Jurickson Profar going anywhere unless Giancarlo Stanton or David Price are on the other end of the deal.  With Profar ready to handle an everyday job, the much rumored move of Ian Kinsler to first base may finally happen.  That could push Moreland out of a job.  There's no doubt that Moreland has serious power, but he's struggled to live up to the hype that once surrounded him.  If the Indians could get him without giving up any impact prospects, then he's a guy that I could see having a big bounce back year.  Contract wise, he will be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter, and he is under team control through the 2016 season.

Darin Ruf – Philadelphia Phillies
2013: 251 AB, .247 AVG, .348 OBP, .806 OPS, 14 HR, 30 RBI

Ruf is a bit of an all or nothing guy.  In his 251 at bats in 2013, he struck out a whopping 91 times.  He reminds me of a younger, cheaper version of Mark Reynolds.  I don't blame you for being scared away just for that reason, but at around $500,000 for 2014, is a guy that could hit you 14 home runs in 251 at bats really be the worst thing in the world?  The Phillies have left and center field locked down with Dominic Brown and Ben Revere.  In right field, Philadelphia may look to acquire a more proven every day bat, possibly making Ruf expendable.  Ruf would probably come relatively cheap in a trade and isn't arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season.

It's always fun to speculate who the Indians could pursue in both the free agent market and through trades.  With so many players in the league and several shocking trades and signings happening every offseason, it's impossible to determine every player Antonetti and his staff may look into acquiring.  So please, feel free to comment on who you think the Indians should or will look into this winter.  After all, that's one of the things that makes being a fan so much fun.

User Comments

Hermie13
November 6, 2013 - 11:08 AM EST
Realize this article is now buried...

but think Matt Joyce should be added to the list. Would make a nice platoon with Raburn IMO.
discollama
October 30, 2013 - 1:01 PM EDT
Rick:

RBI's are mostly a product of hitting with guys on base, many of the 'great' RBI hitters change their approach with RISP in favor of contact the other way. If you can place a ball between the defenders with RISP, you'll drive in runs, you don't need 30 HR power anywhere in your lineup to succeed.

Gap power (or more importantly, the ability to make contact and put the ball in the gaps) is more important in today's game than HR's, and to help prove my point, the Red Sox, Cards, A's, Rays and Tigers all had more doubles than the Indians (we ranked 9th overall).

Guys who get on base and put balls in the gaps create runs, I'm just not sure if you really understand the Runs Created theory which ma be causing the disconnect.
Seth
October 29, 2013 - 1:57 PM EDT
stop, you guys are confusing Rick. I didn't mean "technically" in a trade scenario for Chris Perez, I meant can't, as in, can't. A player who's not yet under contract, and who if you took to arbitration would be way overpaid, is literally valueless. If you gave up a single baseball bat for Perez, that is too much.
Hermie13
October 29, 2013 - 12:51 PM EDT
Another two guys I'd add to the middle/role tiers would be Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. Sounds like Duda could be moving to 1B fulltime (he is terrible in the OF), which would leave Davis without a position there. Guy I know a few people wanted last winter after his big season. He may only be a lefthanded Reynolds but if the price is right may not be a bad buy-low deal.

Duda moving to 1B doesn't sound set in stone either though as there are reports the Mets could go outside the organization for 1B help. Duda had a nice OBP and 15 HRs this year. Wouldn't be a bad platoon with Raburn.
Hermie13
October 29, 2013 - 12:34 PM EDT
I don't see adding Trumbo (or any 1B) as creating a logjam there. Swisher would move to RF, Trumbo (or Napoli or whatever 1B is brought in) plays 1B and Santana DHs.
Rick
October 29, 2013 - 11:28 AM EDT
discollama

Yeah...but. Besides Carpenter emerging as an out of this world lead off guy, what the Cards are incredible at is timely hitting with men in scoring position.

You have a point - but it's a bit deceptive. Molina's power numbers were down, as were Allen Craig and David Freeze, but the expectation didn't hurt.

Everybody raves about the young power arms that St. Louis seems to manufacture like widgets, but look at their offense. It's why they don't waste the great pitching and slump.

Even with down power Craig led them with 97RBI. Then Holliday w/94. Then Beltran - 84; Molina 80. Then Carpenter @ 78.

We definitely have to improve. We can't just expect better years from Swish and Carlos and Bourn and of course ACab. In part because we got so much production out of an emerging Yon and a career year from Rayburn.

We have a good lineup that overproduced - I believe because of Tito and who he brought with him. He delivered on the promise that the second half this year would be different - and oh boy was it.

That said, we can't take it to the next level without an impact bat - power w/RBI production.

And Yeah Hermie13, I agree. Trumbo would be a great addition and is somewhat lost w/the Angels. They are a good trade target, even though what they are desperate for is pitching. This front office does a smack job of exploiting desperation in my view - and if anything Arte Moreno is willing to over spend - since he has the cash to spare.

It helps that Jerry Dipoto has roots here, and, he's been given a reprive to get it done. If they don't score pitching and fail in '14 he's gone.

Even though Trumbo was pretty bad at 3rd - and would create a bit of a log jam @ 1st - he has proven worth the effort. Besides, Tito was willing to put Reynolds there series after series hoping his April magic would re-emerge. Trumbo's audition was cut short because they were struggling and expectations were high.

Once Trumbo gets 500 AB and puts up 30/100 I don't think anyone would care about the moving parts scenario @ 1b ending.
Roger
October 29, 2013 - 10:58 AM EDT
too add to the equation if i remember correctly when we went to the new stadium/strip club in miami hammy and rosie were raving about the marlins shortstop. He is real young should have been in AAA but his glove got him to miami so they dont have a need for a new shortstop they have a good young ss now. Stanton is a pipedream, and for those detractors of Lindor, news flash, everyone and i mean everyone thinks he is the real deal. His mgr at Akron raved about him and that guy was in baseball when Moses was a blue chip prospect. and i dont mean moses malone i mean the split the red sea moses.
Hermie13
October 29, 2013 - 10:31 AM EDT
One other guy that should be added to the list IMO is Mark Trumbo. Rumors are the Angels are willing to move him for pitching. Not my favorite guy as his OBP is just flat out terrible...30 HRs is not easy to find anymore and Trumbo is a legit 30 HR guy. And not like he's been playing in a hitter's paradise out in Anaheim to inflate his power. May not be a fit with us and the Angels but a guy to keep tabs on IMO.
Tony
October 29, 2013 - 8:45 AM EDT
Yep, the Indians certainly CAN trade Perez....but the problem is there is no one stupid enough to trade for him and take him to arbitration or agree to a pre-arb deal and pay him $9 million or so next season. Teams with any interest will wait for him to be non-tendered and then try and sign him at a much reduced cost. He has zero trade value right now.
Hermie13
October 29, 2013 - 8:30 AM EDT
Just to clarify, the Indians technically still could trade Perez even though he's not officially under contract for next year. He's not eligible for free agency on his own so he is tradable in that sense.

That said, don't believe he will be traded, think he'll be non-tendered.
Seth
October 28, 2013 - 5:58 PM EDT
Rick, I'd suggest you stop trying to attribute emotions to the words that you read about potential baseball trades, because you suck at it.

You were saying they could use Perez (and Chisenhall!) in a trade (for Stanton!). Perez isn't under contract. You can't trade a player who isn't under contract. End of story. I would think this would be something simple to see, but you argue against it. This doesn't make me huffy, my actual emotional response is shaking my head and laughing. My co-workers think I'm crazy, but what can you do.

The Indians can always non-tender Perez and then negotiate with him as a free agent to bring him back for less money, but so can the Marlins or anyone else who might be interested in his services.

If you're trading a Stanton, you need to get multiple top, can't-miss type prospects back. Lindor could be good, Stanton is already good. Tough to find any match for trading Stanton until he gets closer to free agency since there aren't many farm systems that have that depth or teams who're in a position to move prospects like that (I'd say the Indians with so many players locked in for the next 3 years and their clear outfield need would be a team that would actually match pretty well for a Stanton trade, but even if you're giving them Lindor, Frazier, Chisenhall, and something else, I don't think you make that deal if you're Miami because the only guy who can help soon is Lindor. If Cleveland had Lindor and another guy in AA or AAA who was highly rated, then you could get Miami interested, but at that point, you'd have to question whether it's a good idea for Cleveland). You don't really see players like Stanton, who still has 3 years of arbitration left, traded for this reason.
discollama
October 28, 2013 - 4:57 PM EDT
I'm going to take you up on that offer to examine the teams in StL right now, namely the Cardinals. They didn't have a single hitter reach 25 HR's, they only have six players with 10+ HR's, meanwhile the Indians have 10 players to reach that mark. However, one striking negative for the Indians is that three of their 10+ HR guys had OBP's under .300, meanwhile only two of the Cards 10+ HR hitters had OBP's under .340 (Adams .349, Beltran .335).

As a team, the Cardinals had a higher OBP, despite the fact that they have a pitcher hitting for them. The Indians had the 5th highest ISO in baseball (SLG - AVG), higher than Detroit, higher than the Rays, the Pirates, Braves, Reds, Cardinals, and Dodgers. The only two playoff teams to have higher ISO's were the A's and Red Sox.

If you sort by OBP, you'll see the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, and Cardinals ahead of the Indians, the Reds and A's tied with the Indians, and the Dodgers just a hair behind (.001). If you sort by wRC+, the list ahead stays the same, with the Cards and Dodgers within 3 points behind the Tribe.

Most of the post season is luck, and when you're in a one game playoff, luck is a massive factor. Over the span of 162 games, the cream of the crop separates themselves from the rest, luck is a more of a minimal factor, the Indians faced a tough pitcher and couldn't produce, luck wasn't with them, but when you look at the other playoff teams, the one thing that sticks out offensively is the lack of OBP.

Sure a guy like Cruz could help the team by hitting 5th or 6th, but it's the guys that get on base that make the difference.
Rick
October 28, 2013 - 4:18 PM EDT
Seth, for someone who insists emotion had nothing to do with your reaction, your answer is pretty huffy.

Plus you answered half your first insistence. Sure he is a hot mess. BUT HE HAS VALUE. My point also included you and others who have trashed Perez long before. Often.

Sure he's gone. But he is a possibility - remote - but possible. I don't however think he's through, and, have a soft spot for his outspokenness. In fact I wish him the best.

As to what you think is funny? Sourpuss sense of humor.

All of a sudden you devalue Lindor as unworthy of a sniff? Baloney. The kid is on the radar in Hanley Ram-Rod territory - since power is the last to show up - and any deal with him at the center is heart attack serious and will get a dialogue started.

Does Miami have a Lindor plus answer already at SS? Isn't SS considered one of the premium positions?

After this season not even the Debbie downers of the darkest regions of Cleveland can block out the rays of sunshine...

...that is possible this spring in Goodyear!
Seth
October 28, 2013 - 1:42 PM EDT
Rick, it has nothing to do with an emotional reaction with Perez. You seriously think the Indians are going to go to arbitration with him? Or that the Marlins, or anyone, would want a Chris Perez making arbitration money? There's a 100% chance he's non-tendered by Cleveland, which means he's valueless in a trade, because he's not under contract with Cleveland. He'll probably get a major league deal from someone, but not for anything like the $7 million he made this year. In terms of fWAR, he was the 4th-worst qualified reliever in MLB. In terms of ERA, 14th. He was removed from his role as closer at the end of the year. He also has shoulder problems. It seems more like you're emotionally attached to Perez and ignoring the reality of his numbers. And you are also confused about the business side of things in terms of Perez.

Trading for an average starter in the last couple months of his contract is a completely different thing than trading for Stanton. Personally I'd have hated to give up Chisenhall, or any player who can contribute in the majors in 2014, for 2 months of Garza, and would've laughed at the Cubs for suggesting it. But Stanton for Lindor and Chisenhall as the primary pieces would be laughed at by Miami. Good-fielding shortstops prospects are nice, but young, power-hitting outfielders are one of the rarest commodities in MLB right now.
Rick
October 28, 2013 - 12:35 PM EDT
discollama...I wish I could agree but I can't.

I've seen the same approach you are outlining here in Arizona with Towers and the D'Backs. And I really think Towers bought in it because of what Bochy has done in San Fran.

[hence you trade away a superstar like Upton - and replace him with seasoned B-list 'grinders'...and end up with identical 500 record 3rd place finishes]

Just look at the teams playing in St. Louis right now. Can you really make the argument that the Cards are in the same kind of mix? And the Red Sox were hands down the best offensive club in either league.

Bochy deserves credit for his adept platooning -but they still had the big bats in the middle w/Posey & Panda.

I would argue the A's are the perfect example of WHY you have to have the big bat - they become everyone's underdog favorite once reaching the post season - but - are always turning into a pumpkin down the stretch.

Our season was magical only because we did the near impossible when trouncing sub-500 teams. it's never gonna be repeated in our lifetimes.

We only get to the next level with a big bopper we can rely on to ensure we are not the streaky team we were this year - and who can beat the good teams better than 16 games below .500.

You look at who wins and it's an age old story - good/great pitching & power anchored offense - and the hot hand takes it all.

San Fran was a bit of a freak. The first time a guy named Edgar Rentera - nemesis of '97 with the fish - is the WS MVP.

The 2nd time Panda was hitting out of this universe.
Rick
October 28, 2013 - 12:13 PM EDT
I will agree on that.

Yes, any potential deal with Miami for Stud Stanton is difficult longshot...but it's not the impossible dream.

By the way, Miami has done VERY VERY WELL with deals done so far. That leads me to hope that they would consider a deal with the Tribe that is half 'n half; half experienced MLB players and half prospects.

They've done a smack job of restocking since tanking the '13 season with the Toronto deal.

Making it all very improbable...but...still possible.
discollama
October 28, 2013 - 12:13 PM EDT
I feel like a 'legit' clean up hitter may be overrated and unnecessary. Teams like the post-Giambi A's didn't have guys who were thought of as great middle of the order bats, they had guys that most teams had written off and given up on.

We have two guys on this team right now who can fit in the 3 and 4 holes, Santana and Swisher. They may lack the potent thump of guys like Cabrera and Fielder, how many teams had that kind of thump? It seems like Indians fans are stuck in 1997,15 is the new 20, 20 is the new 25, 25 is the new 30, and 30 is the new 40. How many 30+ HR players did the A's have this year?

What this team needs is consistent contact, high OBP players and a smattering of pop along with guys who can play defense. We have OF defense right now, but we lack consistency at times. Instead of trying to trade or buy a middle of the order bat, why not look to guys like Fowler who can give you a more modern looking lineup? I think that this team has felt it already, but it will really start to miss Choo if he continues to put up the kinds of numbers that he did last year.

I'd really like to see Fowler come over, but with Helton gone, Cuddyer is going to move from RF to 1B, leaving only Gonzalez and Fowler in the OF. If they do decide to go big and sign a guy like Cruz, then they could use a platoon in LF (moving CarGo to CF) of Blackmon and Culberson. I still have no idea what we could trade to them for Fowler though. They have long been looking for SP's, something that the Indians can't afford to give up unless we bring back Ubaldo and Kazmir, they have also been in need of a consistent 2B, perhaps a package deal that includes a guy like Aguilar would work. Or maybe they'd be interested in the one year left on Cabrera's contract along with McAllister or Kluber (again SP's depend on getting Ubaldo and Kazmir back). We have no real 1B prospects to offer them, and our OF isn't exactly loaded, so I'm not sure if we can make a deal for Fowler work, but he's the kind of bat that we need. Have Bourn bat leadoff, Fowler bat 2nd, Santana 3rd, Swisher 4th, Kipnis 5th, Brantley 6th, Cabrera 7th, Gomes 8th and Chisenhall 9th. That gives us speed and OBP at the top of the order, and puts our best bats in the middle, and they're really pretty good bats to have there in this new age of baseball.
Hermie13
October 28, 2013 - 12:09 PM EDT
@Andy

Garrett Jones made $4.5M this year in his second arby trip (was a super two though so still two left). That was up from $2.25M in 2012. I could see him getting $5.5M...maybe $6M tops. Not sure that's too pricey for the Pirates or not.

Maybe they non-tender him but last winter they reported asked for Walker from Seattle for him. They obviously thought highly about him last year (if those rumors are even close to true). He did seem to fall but with Byrd and Mornuea free agents they probably hold on to him as insurance. At worst a decent platoon with Sanchez at 1B.
Hiram
October 28, 2013 - 11:43 AM EDT
Rick,

I don't know how you compare Naquin to Boiurn but I don't see the comparison. Also, I just don't think the farm system is good enough to make such a deal but we can agree to disagree
Rick
October 28, 2013 - 11:36 AM EDT
Really Seth?

Chiz was the centerpiece of a talked over deal for Matt Garza before he wound up in Texas. Obviously the Front Office values him more than you.

As for your emotional dismissing Perez, it's an understandable fan reaction, but that is all it is. In spite of his meltdowns, he's still put up numbers -even this year. It's foolish to claim he has NO value.

Being a top 5 closer for your entire career doesn't evaporate just because you alienate the fan base as either a pot head or a dead arm schmo at a crucial point in a season.

The Tribe can and should flip him for more than a slider, a bag of balls or an autographed pic of the Ghoul with or without froggie.

...and Hiram...

I agree, which is what I said. If the only bat/glove you are going to take off the field is Chiz, and the only future #1 is Lindor - with even Naquin (a light hitting Bourn clone blocked by the moves already made)....and a few lesser viewed arms...

I say you HAVE TO DO IT. Our line up with Stanton anchoring it is the best possible of all worlds. The guy is a stud who had a down year after getting hurt and living through a nightmare in Miami with what happened there.

You give him new life on a contending team and he will put up near Miggy Cabrara like numbers.

You can't turn that down over some fantasy projections of a guy like Lindor. No way. It's worth it even if he winds up being the next best thing at SS.

Nor is that 'gutting' the future by any stretch of the imagination.
Andy
October 28, 2013 - 11:29 AM EDT
Hermie13,

I was actually thinking about adding Jones to the FA list, but thought that I already had too many on there. I say the FA list because I see him as a possible non-tender candidate. He lost a starting spot with the Pirates last year after they acquired Morneau and Byrd and it doesn't seem like Pittsburgh wants him as a starter next year either. He's scheduled to make quite a bit of money next year (by Pittsburgh's standards), although I don't remember the exact amount off the top of my head. So there is a possibility that he actually joins the free agent group this winter.
Hermie13
October 28, 2013 - 8:55 AM EDT
I don't know about Freese being an upper tier guy but as I said in the other article, a guy I wouldn't mind snagging.

I think Adam LaRoche is a guy you could see the Indians look at. Nationals could finally decide to move Zimmerman to 1B (and Rendon to 3B) this winter. I know Rizzo said they aren't thinking about it but personally don't buy that (maybe they won't do it but they sure as hell should be at least thinking about it). Could be a bounceback candidate (like he was 2 years ago).

Garrett Jones in Pittsburgh is another guy I'd inquire on. Nearly hit 30 HRs two years ago but struggled this year. Rumors were the Pirates were willing to move him last winter (though for a hefty price). He didn't get a ton of playing time down the stretch for Pittsburgh either this year. Decent lefty with some pop and can handle both RF or 1B.
Hiram
October 28, 2013 - 4:13 AM EDT
BrianM

you need to get out of the habit that just because you're not the top of the line prospect that doesn't mean you aren't a good player. I can go on for days to talk about good players who weren't considered the top prospects in any system. Did you think guys like Kluber, Salazar and Gomes were great prospects at the beginning of the year?? In those three you got a 15 game winner, future ace and good C.

The Indians have guys coming thru the system who will at least contribute to the team and add depth. What happens after that we don't know. Keep in mind we didn't have that option last year to go down and get a reserve OF who could come up, get a couple of hits and contribute to the MLB level. Next year you could have Aguilar, Moncrief, Ramirez, Lindor, Smith, Naquin and others. As far as Pitching Bauer, Tomlin, Adams, Soto Crockett and others coming thru the system who will at least contribute and some excel.

All major league teams have flame out ballplayers too. This isn't something that is exclusive to the Indians. I feel comfortable in saying that the Indians can reach down into system and get a contributing player from the farm system. With the strong possibility of having three #1 picks in the June draft we will hopefully continue that process of building up the farm system so we can lean more on it down the road like STL leans on theirs
Norm
October 27, 2013 - 11:47 PM EDT
Roger makes some good points from what I see. There does not look like much in the FA position player class that is possible for the Indians and is likely to achieve sufficient improvement over our current players to warrant the risk/money. The same appears true of the trade prospects from what I see.

While our system is somewhat parched of top of the line sure things, I do believe there are some valuable ML fringe/platoon players like Moncrief and Aguilar who might be of use later in 2014. As others have noted, there are some legitimate prospects who might become roster players or even regulars next year. I think Roger is saying that we need to get our pitching straightened out before pursuing marginal improvement in the FA position players.
Roger
October 27, 2013 - 10:44 PM EDT
after going thru the vaqrious blogs two points worth making. all summer we heard aquillar was productive cause he had guys in front of him to drive in. He had 105 rbi's in 138 games and this winter in venzla he is at an rbi a game. Some players are just better hitters when an rbi is on the line he seems to be. the latest he should be ready if he incrementally improves is all star break 2014. Santana if he only has to catch half thetime and it is planned that way might be a 90 to 100 rbi guy without the catching pressure and allowed every other day to hit or hit and play first base. we were 5th in runs in the major leagues we were just inconsistent and had periods where a week would go by and we wouldnt score a dozen runs in 7 games in a row. But at the end of the day we were 5th in runs scored and facts dont lie. spend the money judiciously such as on either kazmir or ubaldo or both if doable. GET a month and a half to see what we got in trevor bauer in C-bus and carlos carrasco in the pen. if we make a deal involving astrubel to the cardinals i might be interested in the lefty who throw hard and if the sign beltran long term maybe we couldafter oscar taveres. stranger things have happened
BrianM
October 27, 2013 - 10:43 PM EDT
Hiram,

I don't really know how you expect us to lean on our system. The only thing we have coming that could potentially help us next year are Lindor, Ramirez, and Bauer, and Lindor and Ramirez play the same position.

Guys like Aguilar, Naquin, Moncrief, Anderson, Morimando ect. do not have a place on our roster next year, and if they do end up on the roster, I would have very low expectations.

I also disagree about having "legit" guys in the system. We have Lindor. He is Legit. Outside of that, we have very few players who are sure things. We have loads of talent that could potentially develop into something, but even most of those guys don't have ceilings that would make them anything more than an average regular. I'm hoping some of our young pitchers can develop into #2/3 starters, but the way it stands right now, we just don't have much star power with our position players.

We have had a lot of guys the past 10-15 years who were highly touted prospects and really flamed out. Recently, I was expecting guys like Chuck Lofgren, Hector Rondon, Jason Knapp, Matt Laporta, Nick Weglarz, and Trevor Crowe to be mainstays in our lineup, but look how that has turned out. I'm pretty sure all of these guys were in BA's top 100 prospects list at one point. Aside from Lindor, I really don't think our farm system looks that much better than it did back then.

Unless we can acquire the same type talent for our system that we had in the 2002-2004 days, we definitely need to be looking to trade for and sign some above average players if we plan to succeed on a yearly basis. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be looking to build this franchise from within, I just think were a long way away.
Hiram
October 27, 2013 - 4:57 PM EDT
Rick,


I just don't think the Indians are ready and don't think it's necessary to gut the life line of this team right now. It has taken too long to get to the point where the Indians have legit guys coming thru the system. Make no mistake about it, they still have a ways to go to get the system to where they need to be. The system just isn't ready for that and Only on special occasion is it ever good to make such a deal, IMO.


I think the Indians are going to use the STL way of building from within and when guys get over priced then let them walk or trade them because have someone to replace them. The reason you haven't seen this is because the Indians' system has been so terrible that they haven't produced anything . This isn't the case anymore where you could see the Indians lean on the system more so than ever in '14
Hiram
October 27, 2013 - 4:52 PM EDT
Andy,

I agree to an extent to an extent but I do get tired of the small market crap. It makes me long for the days when Jacobs owned the team in which that regime never used the term small market. Indians aren't really a small market and should hold it's own. In terms of getting first dibs on FA's that's not always true. Beltran was about to sign here and he was the #1 target. We as fans need to stop with the "woe is me" crap and demand excellence


Hart should be the #1 guy, that simple for all the reasons I mentioned before. He could hip cleanup for a 1-2 years until someone emerged from the system. It's not rocket science
BrianM
October 27, 2013 - 4:43 PM EDT
Logan Morrison. Good things will happen with him if he gets out of Miami.
Seth
October 27, 2013 - 3:18 PM EDT
Tough to see a fit with many of these. I do think Schierholtz or someone like him (i.e. LH platoon outfielder) should be a target, I wanted someone like this last year too. Actually thought they should've got Dejesus, who was up for grabs from two teams before the waiver deadline. Schierholtz is like a younger Dejesus though. I think this might be the best course, kick the tires on Beltran (he's turned them down before and I don't think he has any desire to go to Cleveland. St Louis might also make him a qualifying offer and retain him) and Hart (big question mark with the injury and would likely mean Swisher and his balky shoulder would be pushed to the outfield), but getting a Schierholtz could be a significant upgrade for cheap.

Maybe Antonetti can pull off some magic, but there doesn't seem to be a lot out there. I don't see the Indians landing a big bat. I think they should probably just work hard to retain the players they have. If they could somehow keep Ubaldo and Kazmir, in which case Salazar could be the closer, get a Schierholtz, that could put them in decent shape. I kind of like the idea of Salazar to the bullpen regardless, so if/when they did get outbid for Ubaldo, then signing Scott Feldman, who's underrated and could be just as good or better than Ubaldo, wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Rick, you are really overvaluing Chisenhall to think he could be a significant part of a trade for Stanton. The Marlins own third baseman out-WAR'd Chisenhall this year. And Chris Perez is valueless. He will be non-tendered and available for anyone to sign if they want.
Walter
October 27, 2013 - 1:49 PM EDT
I disagree going after a DH. We already have players that can DH during the season a la Swisher, Santana, and Rayburn. A Dh that can not play position hurts the team. Great example was last night watching Ortiz play 1B. He did not want to pursue any pop ups fair/foul in his direction. A large market team could get away with this but the Indians cant. We also went through that experience with Hafner.
Rick
October 27, 2013 - 1:22 PM EDT
I disagree on both accounts concerning Stanton. I do believe we can get him - and still hang on to Salazar.

And specifically to Hiram - Stanton is about the only player I would agree to send off the Chiz form , because I otherwise agree with you on him. It's worth noting that Tito has said as much in more than one interview; loves his potential bat and believes in his defense.

Likewise I would package Lindor. After all we have the most strength at SS in our organization with some surprising talents that emerged out of nowhere and who several posters at this sight believe deserve major league time now.

If you can get 3 years of Giancarlo and not take anyone off the field now besides Chiz - you have to do it - because with the emerging pitching we have enjoyed - and this potent bat to add to an already top 10 line up - (yes even with our inconsistencies we have a pretty good team offensively)...

...then we have a Tampa Bay like window of contention in front of us.

He is everything the Tribe lacks; Legit cleanup power that gives 30+ hr and 100+ RBI and is a good RF to boot. The absolute perfect fit.

I hate the idea of giving up Lindor and Chiz and then peeling off another 2-3 top arms (most likely)...but that is the price that would have to be paid and Stanton is one of the rare talents that warrants it.

For a franchise rebuilding like Miami I don't think the supposed dearth of talent on our end is the real hurdle. I mean a Chris Perez wouldn't look too bad in this deal either. (as someone they could flip midseason for even more value)

The real problem is that this would mean a 100+ million payroll going forward and I really believe that is a tough sell given our season ticket problems.

This post is exactly my version of the dream blockbuster to follow up an exciting breakout season in 2013.

I believe it's highly unlikely and we will settle for a Cory Hart like B-list - but - it is possible.
Andy
October 27, 2013 - 1:00 PM EDT
Hiram,

You mention that these people don't fit as cleanup hitters, but what you're not realizing is that true cleanup hitters aren't often available through trades, and if they are, they're not in the Indians price range. Same goes for free agency. Improving the offense doesn't mean absolutely having to find a cleanup hitter. Finding a way to lengthen the lineup with guys who can keep the line moving is the most logical way to approach this until someone from their own system emerges as a middle of the order threat. That's how small market teams have to operate. People complain about Santana hitting cleanup, but if you put him on any other small market team, he's hitting 4-5 in their lineup too. The Indians don't have the money or farm system to go out and get a legitimate 4 hitter.

And on to what you suggested. I've seen you mention Corey Hart numerous times, but never anyone else. The Indians don't get first dibs on free agents. If we're all thinking that Hart is a great signing because of his low cost and power potential, then chances are the other 29 teams and their fans are thinking the same thing. So what happens if they don't get Hart? Who do you suggest they go after to fill the cleanup spot? And also, you suggest the Indians sign Infante as a bench/role player? Do you realize he hit .318/.345/.450 with 10 HR and 51 RBI as a starter for a team that played in the ALCS? Why on earth would he accept that role and how do you figure he would command only a role players salary?
Hiram
October 27, 2013 - 12:33 PM EDT
IMO, Chisenhall, Lawrie and MiddleBrooks are all in the same boat in that they are on the verge of being very good MLB players. In the case of Chisenhall , I think he would be better if he put on 10 lbs of muscle and learned how to hit those inside fastballs out of the park.


I totally disagree with Tito in how he used Chisenhall last year. Jerked him around to the point where he lost confidence after being sent down he played better but would only face righties. The stigma now is that he can't lefties but you have to able to see lefties consistently to be able to hit them. I would not give up on Chisenhall because he has a beautiful swing and I see a guy who can hit . 275, 25-90 and I would take that.


In the case of this article, none of the guys mentioned make much sense.

Stanton doesn't make sense because the farm system isn't developed enough to make that sort of deal and make no mistake about it, if the Indians want to contend from here on out they will need production from drafts and farm system.


Donaldson makes zero sense because of the fact that I can't see one reason why the A's would want to trade him


Fowler is a really good player but does he fit the need as a cleanup hitter??

Ramirez is a good player too but does he fit what we need in a cleanup hitter at this stage of his career??


Panda Sandoval makes sense but it would depend on what they would ask for and if the Indians could sign him to an extension.


The other guys are simply platoon players who I would rather go with what we have in the farm then give up anything significant or sign long term


The only guy that makes sense to me is Corey Hart for a number of different reasons: Hart has a history of 25-30 HR's when healthy, since coming off injury he won't command big money or a really long term deal, won't have to give up pick.


In addition to Hart I would sign a quality lefty RP, if the money is right I would take a flier on someone like Marmol or Wilson, sign a backup infielder like Infante or Betemit(after dealing Acab) and of course resign Kazmir


Rotation: Masterson, Kluber, Salazar, Kazmir, Carrasco with McAllister, Bauer and Tomlin as options already in AAA

Bullpen: Pestano(I hope he can come back as the old Pestano), Allen, Lee, Rzepczynski, Matt Thornton and Wilson(just throwing the last two names out there)


Lineup: Bourn, Ramirez(he should start over Aviles, IMO), Brantley(Kipnis isn't a #3 hitte), Hart, Kipnis, Swisher, Santana(I think the Indians are going to get significant trade interests for him and they should listen), Chisenhall, Gomes


Bench: Giambi, Betemit/Infante, Raburn, Stubbs(could be non tendered) and another body
shy
October 27, 2013 - 12:01 PM EDT
I like MiddleBrooks, but he has not had 500 at bats in any year since he left high school- injury prone. I think it's just as likely Chisenhall has a "breakout" year this year as Middlebrooks, both these guys have All-Star skills, they just need to apply themselves over the 162. Bad way to end a WS game last night. They should have let that play be called at the plate-OUT. What is Jim Joyce doing umpiring a WS game anyway? Is he not the guy who coast Galarraga a no-hitter by calling a runner who was out by 2 ft safe at first? Nobody w a a history of brain farts should be umpiring a WS game. Same thing w Angel Hernandez being out there- worst missed HR call of the year A's vs Chris Perez, like Joyce 99.9% of the people who looked at the play saw it different. THese guys should go w Bud Selig to the "rest" home.
Roger
October 27, 2013 - 11:39 AM EDT
boston is gonna use bogarts at ss as stephen drew is a free agent this winter and you know boston wont get into a bidding war with bogarts in the wings and having very productive post season. they would prolly have to pay drew in excess of 8 million bucks and bogarts 500K which do you think henry would choose. and frankly middlebrooks does nothing for me i suspect chiz can match his numbers and suspect shap, chris, and tito agree. i am not certain i want to see much movement except maybe to acquire a DH. The tribe offensively is streaky but that comes with some young talent and they still have quite a few youngsters in their everyday lineup.
Walter
October 27, 2013 - 10:48 AM EDT
Maybe a change of scenery of 3B between the Indians and Blue Jays. Both Chisenhall and Lawrie have been disappointments. A new start on new teams might get there careers on the right track. I also would like to pursue Reyes.

bill w.
October 26, 2013 - 7:39 AM EDT
Will Middlebrooks, Should rebound next year after usual second
year slump.....Red Sox so caught up in Bogarts I could see
them moving Will who plays decent 3b with a lot of pop in his
bat....

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