Cleveland Indians Pitcher Danny Salazar Will Be a Major Target This Winter


Cleveland Indians Should Be Open to Trade Offers For Danny Salazar

The Cleveland Indians didn’t think Danny Salazar belonged in the rotation out of Spring Training, but it wasn’t long before he made it to the big leagues anyway. After arriving, all he did was post a 14-10 record in 30 games, culminating in a 3.45 ERA over 185 innings.

Salazar is bound to garner a lot of interest this winter. While he doesn’t have the guaranteed contract of Carlos Carrasco, he won’t be a free agent until 2021, and he isn’t arbitration eligible until next season – leaving plenty of time for a team to strike a deal much like the one the Indians gave to Carrasco last winter. Those factors combined with Salazar’s recent success mean that a teams with a lack of pitching are bound to target Salazar. Someone like the Toronto Blue Jays or Chicago Cubs will likely offer up some of their offensive talent in exchange for the rotation help.

In 2015, Salazar has the seventh highest strikeout total in the league, with 195 punch outs. He also was ranked eight in adjusted ERA+, at 123, and WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) at 1.130. For a pitcher who didn’t even break camp with the team, those are some very impressive numbers.

Salazar’s strikeout rate was 25.8  percent last season – on par with his past results, and well-above league average. His walk rate decreased slightly to seven percent, which and his extra-base hit rate was just 7.7 percent. Salazar does give up a few more home runs than the average pitcher, but overall, he would make an excellent addition to any pitching staff.

So should the Indians be willing to trade Salazar? In short, only for the right price.

The important thing in a contending team is to maintain balance between offense and a good rotation. If the Indians were to trade Salazar, they would still have Corey Kluber and Carlos Carasco to lead their rotation, and a combination of  Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, Cody Anderson and T.J. House to fill the other vacant spots. That’s not by any means a bad rotation, but it is a risky one. The Tribe would be counting on Tomlin and Anderson to perform at the same level as last season, and they would need career-best years from Bauer and House.

However, the Indians aren’t going to contend without at least one more big bat in their lineup. With only about $15 million estimated to be available for use this off-season, their only chance of acquiring a legitimate power bat is if they trade for one – and Salazar is one of their best options for getting a team-friendly contract in return for some offensive help.

The Tribe shouldn’t give Salazar away, but for the right price, the front office should definitely be open to dealing him this off-season in the name of improving their lineup.

Next: Kyle Crockett Can Rebound in 2016

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our 2015 season reviews, as the Cleveland Indians prepare for next season. Will the Tribe be able to field a contending team in 2016?