Cleveland Indians: Is Trading One of Their Coveted Arms a Necessary Evil?

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Will the Indians deal one of their top pitchers this winter for more offense?


Talk around baseball was that the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays had damn near a done deal for Carlos Carrasco at the trade deadline. Whatever happened, it fell through and Carrasco continued to shine for the Tribe down the stretch. After “cleaning house”, the Indians played better baseball, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome a poor start. For a team that was predicted by some to be World Series contenders, there is clearly much more work to be done.

We’ve hammered out how important the youth movement was this season for the Indians. For Terry Francona–a manager who always likes his veterans–he did a great job with the kids and had the Tribe trending up as the season closed out. They were “in” the playoff race till the end, although I think many of us would agree it never really felt they were that close.

Several players stepped up, guys like Abraham Almonte–and Lonnie Chisenhall on his second go-round this season. But can either be counted on as a sure thing in 2016?

The Indians recent history with signing free agents hasn’t gone well, and they spent his year’s trade deadline cleaning out those bad business decisions. So entering this offseason, I wouldn’t expect a splash in free agency. The best chance to improve the team will be through trade, and pitching is where the Indians hold the most value.

The catch-22 is you eventually will need pitching to win. But it was clear that an inconsistent offense took its toll on the Indians staff, as they at times had to be near perfect to earn a victory. Just ask Corey Kluber. But the fact is the Indians had three pitchers hit double-digits in wins (Carrasco and Danny Salazar, 14 – Trevor Bauer, 11). Kluber had nine but certainly deserved more, while Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson each had seven is solid, albeit shorter seasons due to injury and rookie status.

Kluber still appears to have dominant stuff, and in theory, would attract the best package. Carrasco and Salazar are young, but that may be the reason they should be off the board. Bauer was trending up to start the year, but now, for such an intelligent guy, there seems to be a bit too much going on in his cranium right now.

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Tomlin, now healthy, would be one of the pitchers that could become vital if the tribe did deal away a Kluber, Carrasco, or Salazar. He’s arbitration eligible in 2016, but won’t break the bank for the Tribe. If he can stay healthy will be the question, but if so he could help offset some of the loss.

Right now, it still would appear that Carrasco could be the man on the move if the Indians decide to do so. He established himself this season with a 14-14 record, throwing 183 2/3 innings and at times looking absolutely unhittable. His value may be as high as it is going to get–at least for this offseason–and the time to make the deal would be this winter.

There are more talented bats in the Indians system, but none should be expected to make their debut soon. And, of course, none are guaranteed to have success at the Major League level. The decisions that will face new GM Mike Chernoff will set the tone for his time in the position. He must choose wisely, as the Indians’ fans don’t really have the patience for another subpar team on the field.

Next: Don't count out Raburn just yet

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