Cleveland Indians: Front Office Seems Confused Which Direction to Go
Buyer or sellers, but the Indians can’t simply stand pat
Many times, when a team starts calling up so many rookies at one time like the Cleveland Indians have, it’s a sign they’ve conceded the season and are looking to next year. While a front office will rarely use the actual words, it’s usually not hard to pick up on depending where the team sits in the standings. So the recent moves accompanied with the talk that they aren’t “motivated” to move pitching makes them seem indecisive at best. They’re listening to offers, but I think they need to listen closer.
If you’re still playing for this season, calling up three rookies in the span of a few week isn’t the general direction you go in. But considering the “veterans”–Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez–weren’t getting the job done, what do you have to lose? And free agent signings? Pfft. Whoever it is, the Tribe can overpay and get as little out of that player as possible.
Now they’ve called up Jose Aguilar, who isn’t without his pros as far as his call up. He had 13 home runs, as well as an International League leading 66 RBI at Columbus. His .255 average isn’t that exciting, but in a lineup full of low .200’s like the Indians have it doesn’t seem as bad.
So is this year a wash? Even though no one is going to say it, it seems so. The lofty expectations have led to major disappointment. The pitching has continued to be the strong suit of the Indians, and would also be the biggest draw of teams looking to trade. Every contender wants pitching. So should the Tribe consider trading one of their prized arms for prospects?
Yes. Yes. And Yes.
Now this isn’t saying to deal one of them just to do it. They need to get value–and quantity–in whatever deal they make. Somehow sending Brandon Moss, Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn along in the trade would be ideal. They need to drop that payroll–or as much of it as they can–and it will also free up roster spots.
Some of you believe the pitching is going to lead the team when that day comes. And it very well may. But this roster isn’t one or two pieces away. And the cupboard of the farm system isn’t stocked with top-tier prospects. It’s deep, but the marquee names aren’t there. The Chicago Cubs have stayed in contention with having rookies on the team because of how highly rated they were–with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell both being in the top five to start the season.
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Pitching is never “expendable”. But the Indians value to stock the system with prospects or somehow unload one of these bad contracts will have to be packaged with one of them. No one wants to see it. But if the Indians want to compete over an extended period of time it’s something to be pondered.
If the pitching stays the same, can we really expect the players left on this team to suddenly turn things around this season and into next year? There isn’t really money to add free agents, and that just hasn’t been Cleveland’s cup of tea anyhow.
With much of the staff under team control for several years, the Indians are in a position of power to not just ask for but demand worthy compensation. That would tilt a bit if they required a team to take on one of the bad free agent contracts, but that’s a balance they must decide on.
Yes, they could simply stand pat and not make any moves at the deadline as a buyer or a seller. But standing pat with a team that hasn’t been .500 since it was 2-2, and currently battling in this series with the White Sox not to fall back to the cellar doesn’t seem like the ideal move to me.
Complacency is a bad thing to have in life, in sports, and just in general. The Tribe needs to make moves to push things forwards. Not be complacent with what they are.