Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tribe Talk 7.21.16: Indians Trade Deadline Preview #Indians #TradeDeadline

By Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

For the Cleveland Indians, the time has arrived for them to decide whether or not the Indians need to go, “all-in” for the 2016 season.  While the Indians have had a lot of bright spots and no really big concerns going into the Trade Deadline.  But there is no such thing as a perfect team.  The Indians can always find ways to improve and it’s time to take a look at what the Indians could look to do in the next week.  

Now before I jump into this, let me be clear on my stance, there is a such thing as an untouchable prospect.  In no way shape or form should the Indians move OFs Clint Frazier or Bradley Zimmer.  The only time you move one of them is for a bonafide superstar player that are locked up (ex. Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton), so the fact everyone wants to just trade these prospects is ludicrous and simply uneducated as a fan.  So for the record none of my proposed deals for my Top 5 targets will involve either Bradley Zimmer or Clint Frazier because of the fact that there is no bonafide superstar to trade them for.

So with that said, let’s jump into what positions the Indians should be targeting come the Trade Deadline.

Indians 3 Biggest Needs (in descending order)

3. Third Base- While I love the spark that Jose Ramirez has given to the Indians offense this year.  Also, Juan Uribe has provided solid defense and leadership in the clubhouse, but his offense isn’t what it used to be.  While it probably isn’t ideal to target a 3B, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to look into.  The Indians don’t really have a 3B for the future and looking beyond this year, unless the Indians permanently move Ramirez to 3B, they will need to find an option there.  They do have Giovany Urshela and Yandy Diaz at AAA, but Urshela has taken a step back this year offensive and Diaz is completely unproven.  If the Indians can find an option for the present and future, they need to at the very least explore it.

Potential Targets- Rays: Evan Longoria, Athletics: Danny Valencia, Padres: Yangervis Solarte

2. Catcher- The struggles of Yan Gomes have been sad and disappointing and leave a major question with Yan going forward as the Indians Catcher.  After injuring his shoulder in Minnesota and projected to be out 1-2 months, the Indians will probably have to look at options on the market.  While I believe Roberto Perez can do the job and Chris Jimenez can be a solid backup, the Indians do have plenty of options on the market surprisingly and the Indians could find an upgrade for the present and future.  I personally would test the waters myself to see if I can find a solid deal I feel comfortable with, but the Indians must be aware of the side effect it could have with the pitching staff.

Potential Target- Brewers: Jonathan Lucroy, Padres: Derek Norris, Athletics: Stephen Vogt, Twins: Kurt Suzuki

1. Setup Man/Closer- We all know if there was one glaring need for the Indians is help in the bullpen.  While the Indians have a solid duo of Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen, outside of them they don’t have much else.  They really need to look at potential shut down options on the market and there are quite a few available.  While some are only rentals, there are a few options out there that are young and under control for a few years.  The Indians will probably look more at lefty relievers, but I expect them to look at righty relievers as well to see maybe if there’s a cheap reliever worth grabbing.

Potential Targets- Braves: Aroydis Vizcaino, Brewers: Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith, Athletics: Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, Yankees: Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.

My Top 5 Indians Targets

5. Aroldis Chapman, Yankees- I think a lot like the Indians in the manner of for a Franchise like Cleveland, we can’t really afford “rental” players.  I think Chapman could be a big exception to the rule.  Supposedly the Yankees don’t have as high of a price tag on him for the reason of he’s most likely a “rental” for a team.  Chapman would give the Indians one of the best closers in baseball and if they wanted to, they could move Cody Allen into the 8th and Shaw into the 7th.  Whether Chapman would set up or close is irrelevant, he brings a major intimidating presence against lefties and righties.  I think the cost for Chapman would be a decent pitching prospect (Clevinger, Sheffield, Hillman) plus a solid position prospect as well.  Steep price for about 10 weeks of Chapman, but it gives the Indians a real top end closer.

My offer- CLE acquires Aroldis Chapman in exchange NYY acquires SP Mike Clevinger and 3B Yandy Diaz

4. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers- As much as I don’t like making the Indians rotation get used to a new catcher, Lucroy looks to be an exception to the rule.  We all know that Lucroy can offer the Indians another good bat presence in the middle of the lineup, but what I think a lot of people don’t realize is how good of a catcher he really is.  He’s a good fielding catcher with a cannon for an arm behind the plate.  While Yan Gomes offensively has been…well…terrible, his defense and relationships with pitchers make him an asset going forward.  If the price is right though, I would strongly considering adding Lucroy as he has one more year of eligibility after this year.  Now if there was only a reliever we could add to the deal…

My offer- CLE acquires C Jonathan Lucroy and RP Will Smith in exchange MIL acquires SP Justus Sheffield, C Francisco Mejia, SP Mike Clevinger

3. Will Smith/Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers-  After my, “in a perfect world trade” I’ll admit I like the Brewers bullpen arms here.  Now I’m not asking for one or the other in this scenario…I’m asking for BOTH.  The Indians could use both guys to bolster the bullpen and both are very good relievers that give the Indians great depth for the playoff run.  While you probably could package one of them in a deal with Jonathan Lucroy, if you end up not going after Lucroy, the Indians should explore the cost for adding both.  Will Smith is an extremely effective and underrated lefty in the league and could really provide what the Indians need in the 8th.  Jeffress has been the Brewers closer and has shown with his powerful arm, he could be another power right arm that the Indians could use in the later part of the game and allow to take a lot of pressure off Bryan Shaw which would be a great luxury to have going forward.

My offer- CLE acquires RPs Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress in exchange MIL acquires SP Juan Hillman, SP Shawn Morrimando, RP Kyle Crockett

2. Danny Valencia, Athletics- Valencia is my top position player to get because of the fact that Oakland somehow is willing to give up Valencia for very little.  As much as you gotta love what Uribe has brought to the team in the clubhouse, he seems best as a guy who for his play is a great option off the bench.  While Valencia is a downgrade defensively, he provides a little bit more to the lineup that could use maybe one more presence in it.  Also, Valencia would potentially be a guy that although he’ll be a FA this offseason, you could resign him.

My offer- CLE acquires 3B Danny Valencia in exchange OAK acquires 1B Nellie Rodriguez

1. Andrew Miller, Yankees- Let me start off with this…NO SETUP MAN IS WORTH YOUR #1 PROSPECT.  The fact that any person or radio personality (shots fired!) would even vouch that a setup man is worth the top prospect is either on drugs or uneducated.  The closest trade the Indians could look at to compare in the Craig Kimbrel trade, but remember, Kimbrel was going to be the Red Sox’s closer, Miller won’t.  Besides, I think the Yankees are far more interested in getting pitching prospects back in any potential deal.  The cost would be pretty steep, but with Miller under contract for the next few years, it’s worth strongly considering.

My offer- CLE acquires RP Andrew Miller in exchange NYY acquires 1B Bobby Bradley, SP Shawn Morrimando, SP Juan Hillman

The MLB Trade Deadline is still a week a way and a lot of things can still change.  If the Yankees continue to win and climb back in this, the Indians options for lefty relievers could get thinner and the latest trade of Mariners LRP Mike Montgomery to the Cubs could be signaling that either the Yankees are asking too much, or they’re still going to try to win.  The Indians either the Yankees relievers are in or out shouldn’t be discouraged to make a deal.  There are plenty of options out there for them.  I’m fairly certain that the Indians will find a way to make some sort of move at the deadline, now whether it’s a blockbuster move or not, we’ll find out.  That’s what you gotta love at the Trade Deadline, unlike the NBA Trade Deadline, blockbuster moves can either happen or not happen at any moment.  I’m excited for what the next week brings us as an Indians fan because let’s think about it.  If I told you Michael Brantley would be out for most of the season, Tyler Naquin emerges as a potential star and not only would you be in 1st Place, but on the minds of many National media analysts a World Series contender, would you believe me?  Let’s be honest… no you wouldn’t.  Enjoy this ride and get out to the ballpark when the Indians come back home!

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