Is Drew Stubbs on the Trading Block?


Drew Stubbs Could be on the Move

Yesterday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Drew Stubbs is drawing the interest of several teams. Per Olney, the Indians “have been approached by multiple teams about possible deals for Stubbs.” This makes some sense. Stubbs is an above average defender at all three outfield spots, but his less than spectacular season offensively may have made him expendable. With the emergence of Ryan Raburn and the ability of Nick Swisher to also play right field, the Indians could probably find an extra outfielder for far less than the cost to retain Stubbs.

That’s the other factor playing into all of this – money. Drew Stubbs is arbitration eligible and will get a raise from his $2.8-million salary in 2013. Olney state that with Stubbs production and previous salary, he could be looking at making anywhere from $3.5-4$million. MLB Trade Rumors supports this, pegging Stubbs for $3.8-million in 2014. Again, does it make sound financial sense for the Indians to pay almost $4-million for a fourth or fifth outfielder and pinch runner? Not at all.

Jul 11, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians pinch runner Drew Stubbs (11) scores a run in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

However, that’s not to say Stubbs doesn’t have value. He is still a good player with a great amount of potential and under team control until after the 2015 season. He is also only entering his age 30 season so there is still time for a breakout season or two. However, one has to worry that Stubbs’ primary asset, his speed, may not age well as he enters deeper into his 30’s.

However, that hasn’t deterred other teams from investigating a potential trade for the Indians’ opening day right fielder from a year ago. Two of the teams that could be inquiring about Stubbs are the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets. Both teams are in serious need of help in center with limited options available to them internally. For that reason, Drew Stubbs certainly makes sense for them.

As for additional teams that may have inquired about Stubbs, narrowing that down is a bit more difficult. No other teams jump out as needing immediate help in the outfield. And one has to wonder if the market for Stubbs goes any further than the Mariners or Mets. However, stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, if the Indians decide to trade away Drew Stubbs they won’t be losing much. In 2013, Stubbs turned in a mediocre .233/.305/.360 slash line with 10 home runs and 45 RBI. His 0.6 WAR speak to just how average he was in 2013. Much like Micahel Bourn, who was also brought in for his speed and ability to help the running game, Stubbs came up far short of expectations in the stolen base department. He stole only 17 bases in 19 chances. However, his defense was top-notch and every bit as good as advertised.

Should the Indians decide to make a deal involving Stubbs, it most certainly will involve pitching coming back in return. The Indians could use help in the starting rotation, especially if they lose Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir. As for the bullpen, the Indians would also welcome in an additional arm or two. With the release of Chris Perez and possible departure of Joe Smith via free agency, roles will be shifting in 2014. Vertical depth will be a necessity as they try to determine who fits into the best possible rolls.

However this plays out, it will be interesting to see what the Indians do with Drew Stubbs, how they value his services, and how the rest of baseball values him. As a player who still carries a tremendous amount of potential, the Indians could get a considerable amount in return. Knowing this, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Drew Stubbs is on the Cleveland Indians Opening Day roster in 2014.