Cleveland Indians Trade Targets
The Cleveland Cavaliers won a world title, and the Cleveland Indians are title contenders this season. The Indians have posted a 41–30, record, without their star hitter Michael Brantley, and their Cy Young winner having some rough starts. After a report today saying that the Indians are telling other teams that they are willing to spend some money, it’s interesting to wonder what the Indians are going to look for.
The first question worth asking is what are the Indians willing to part with. The Indians have an above average farm system, highlighted by two outfielders in Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer. Frazier and Zimmer are likely untouchable unless someone like McCutchen becomes available in which chase the Indians may be willing to part with one of the two. The Indians will also likely be very wary about trading away high end pitching talent, which likely takes off pitchers Rob Kaminsky, Brady Aiken, and Justus Sheffield. Outside of those five prospects, anyone in the Indians farm system is likely available. This may even include major league outfielder Tyler Naquin, who has a very good batting average at .317, but an absolutely insane BABIP of .452, which is not something that is likely to continue. While parting with Naquin would probably upset a lot of Tribe fans, his BABIP, combined with his over 30% K rate would likely make the Indians willing to trade him away.
The Indians first concern will likely be an outfielder. A corner outfielder would allow Jose Ramirez to platoon as a fourth outfielder, and play his more natural position, third base. While the Indians do have money to spend, it’s probably safe to say that they will avoid a contract like Ryan Braun’s, for more than a couple reasons. But there are plenty of outfielders that will be available.
Josh Reddick will likely be available, and probably for pretty cheap too. With Reddick being a free agent after this offseason, probably a midlevel pitching prospect would do the job of getting him. Juan Hillman, and Luigi Rodriguez may be the type of deal that could get this done. Wil Myers, an outfielder for the Padres, and Jay Bruce an outfielder for the Reds may be available at a similar price. Kole Calhoun is another potential outfielder the Indians to target, however he may be a bit more pricey than the previous two. Calhoun would likely cost the Indians someone like pitcher Mike Clevinger, and shortstop Erick Gonzalez, and potentially even someone like Naquin. However, with the Angels having such a barren farm system, they may be willing to let Kalhoun go for just the first two, plus a low level pitching prospect.
The Indians will also look for a relief pitcher to help out Bryan Shaw in the setup role, and sure up the middle relief staff who have struggled this year. As always, there will be plenty of relief talent available this season. While Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman headline the list of relief pitchers that will likely be available, the Indians aren’t likely to pay the steep price that those two players will command. The Athletics, the Braves and the Padres in particular will be the main teams of interest to the Indians.
The main pitchers that the Indians will likely look to sign would include Fernando Rodney, Sean Doolitle and Arodys Vizcaino. All three pitch on teams who are struggling, depressing the value of their relief staff. All three will likely be available to the Indians for a mid level prospect. The Athletics and Padres would likely target a hitting prospect, while the Braves would likely target a pitching prospect. Mike Papi, a first base prospect, or James Ramsey, an outfield prospect may be enough to get one of these relievers.
While it’s pretty hard to say exactly how much the Indians are willing to spend, or if they are willing to part with any of their top five prospects is very hard to say. The Indians have however made it clear that they will be looking to make a move this deadline. It’s going to be an exciting July for Indians fans.