Thursday, November 17, 2016

Krunch Time With Katelin: The Cleveland Indians Black Friday Shopping List

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

As we all know the Cleveland Indians don't have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball so at times they have to go bargain hunting. This past year it was signing Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis for a about 15 million between the two...and it worked out. Both had career years with the tribe and are due for a upgrade in their pay. So, who's going to be this year's Napoli or Davis?

*note There is a chance that the Indians re-sign both Davis and Napoli but with lack of free agent depth at first it seems like Napoli will get paid more than the Tribe are willing to offer. Also any "Major" move would likely happen in a trade.

Rajai Davis ($6-8 Million for one-year): Davis re-signing seems like a logical fit. Coming off of a year where he was the league leader in stolen bases with the age of 35. Davis became the oldest player to lead the league in stolen bases since Ricky Henderson did it in 1998 with 66 stolen bases at the age of 39. Davis is an excellent base runner, solid defender, and in the right position a good player to platoon with against lefties. Davis is another one of those players Terry Francona loves because he can play all three outfield positions (even though he only played one game in right field last year).

Steve Pearce ($5-6.5 Million per year for two years): Pearce seemed like the logical move for the Tribe this past trading deadline and fans were shocked to hear Guyer's name and not Pearce's. But Pearce is one of the best utility men in the game. He can play first, corner outfield, second base, and third. He's not a big power guy but given the right situations he can give the Indians between 12-15 home runs, and hit around the .260 mark.

James Loney ($7-9 Million for one-year): Yes, James Loney is still playing baseball...and still at a high level. Loney is known for solid defense at first, fairly high average, and not striking out. He also has 23 games of post-season experience majority of them dating back to his time with the Dodgers. This past year with the Mets Loney hit .265 in 100 games. A small sample size but going back to his three years with Tampa from 2013-2015...Loney did hit for averages of .299, .290 and .280 in 158, 155, and 104 games respectively. The down sides to Loney is his lack of power and he is prone to hit into double plays.

Javier Lopez ($2.5-4 Million for one-year): Lopez is a great match left-hander for the Tribe's bullpen. Lopez has four world series rings, three with the Giants and one with the Red Sox in 2007 with...Terry Francona as his manager. Adding Lopez with Shaw, Miller, and Allen makes the game even shorter. The one thing the bullpen lacked this season was a match up lefty. Miller did a great job but he has better numbers against right-handers and Miller might take over the closing duties full time in 2017.

Adam Lind ($8 Million for one-year): Lind might have the best chance to be this year's Mike Napoli. Someone who had an off-year and is looking of a one-year deal to help restart his career. Last year with Seattle, Lind only hit .239 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI. He doesn't have any post-season experience so that might hinder his chance of becoming an Indian. Another down for him is that he doesn't hit well against left handed pitching. He would likely be platooned with someone else, but with the Indians roster that shouldn't be a problem.

Jon Jay ($8-11 Million per yr, for two/four years): Jay is one of the better defensive outfielders in the league. Jay can play all three outfield positions but has spent most of this career in Center. Jay has a career average of .287 (and that includes an off 2015 season when he hit .210 in 79 games. This past year San Diego acquired him from the Cardinals for Jedd Gyorko. Jay hit .291 in 90 games with the Padres before suffering a broken forearm. He is a high strike out/low walk player so there is some risk in that but he keeps a high on-base-percentage because he is prone to getting hit by pitches. In 2014 he lead the league in that category with 20. Jay has been link to the Indians by a few different predicts him signing with the Indians.

It will be interesting to see what the Indians do this off-season. Coming off of an improbable World Series run without three of their top players, this off-season might be kind of quiet. Whether that's good or bad we will see. But what we do know is the Indians aren't going to break any piggy banks  this off-season.

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