The Cleveland Indians could buy or sell at the trade deadline
The non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching, and it has caught the Cleveland Indians in its grasp. Will they buy? Will they sell? Will they do a little jig to appear as buyers while trading their starting shortstop?
This year’s Tribe certainly lacks the expiring contract that will help another team make the Post Season, but it also has an intriguing collection of starting pitchers. Just the other day, Jeff Passan reported that the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays were engaged in talks over Carlos Carrasco (Twitter links). While these talks eventually fell apart, it was certainly a wake-up call for many fans.
As Merritt Rohlfing noted in the latest edition of Wahoo’s on the Mic, the Cleveland Indians could also move Brandon Moss. Moss, whom the Indians added in the off-season, hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season, but he could still bring some return. The 31-year-old has another season of team control and has slugged 15 home runs this season, although his wRC+ of 98 portrays a different picture. Surprisingly, Moss has played with above average defense this season, as rated by ultimate zone rating.
His low batting average, which has in turn led to a low on-base percentage, may be due to luck. Moss has a batting average on balls in play of just .258 despite hitting the ball hard. Even further, my own expected batting average formula from my baseball sandbox projects a .254 batting average on the season, which is much higher than his current average of .218.
Whether or not the Cleveland Indians decide to sell will be a very difficult decision to make. As of the time of this writing, the team is well on its way to sitting five games under .500, and FanGraphs rates the Tribe with a 21.2% chance of making the Post Season. Not selling and deciding to instead rely on underperforming players to begin playing to levels suggested by their peripherals could make Chris Antonetti seem like a genius, or it could very well backfire and keep an already depleted farm system from refilling.
More from around the AL Central:
Cleveland Indians: The Question that Must Not Be Asked – Wahoo’s on First
Cleveland Indians Podcast: Wahoo’s on the Mic Trade Deadline Madness – Wahoo’s on First
Kansas City Royals Could Benefit from Scott Kazmir Trade – Kings of Kauffman
Detroit Tigers: Top 10 Hall of Famers in Franchise History – Motor City Bengals