Cleveland Indians: The Cubs Potential as a Trade Partner


There’s potential business between these two teams that could end their long-time championship droughts

No one likes to talk about it, the possibility of the Cleveland Indians trading any of their young starters. Those who speak of it know nothing about baseball (or so Indians’ discussion groups will say). Pitching wins championships. Period. Well, yes, to an extent. Teams that have won with good pitching had a formidable offense as well. The Indians, right now, don’t necessarily have that. They also don’t have the money to go and get that offense. So you either trade prospects for MLB-ready hitters or you trade pitchers to teams that have a need for an MLB-ready player. The Cubs on many levels are the ideal trade partner, and the Tribe needs to consider it.

The Cubs as of now are fully stocked with positional talent but are weak in pitching in their farm system and on the big league starting staff. They’ve shown an ability to draft the right players, develop them and get them to the Majors. In working a trade with Chicago, the chances of getting burned are slim to none. They seem to be pushing all the right buttons.

The other part of this discussion that makes the Cubs a viable partner is money. They have it, Cleveland doesn’t. The two could not only work out a deal for a player that benefits both clubs–but also ask for cash as well. Don’t want to gamble on a prospect as a PTBNL? This is the way to go.

Oddly, the Cubs are searching for outfield help as well as the Indians are. The issue with the Cubs is they are rich with corner outfield options, but no reliable guys to play center field. Talks of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez manning centerfield have even come up. These are all options because of the talent in the system.

The Indians are in need of outfield talent anyway–and that was before Michael Brantley went out after shoulder surgery. Even though he’ll be back not long after the season starts if things go as planned, the Indians aren’t going to press him hard early. So having another quality outfielder could be of vital importance.

The two options that seem to get the most lip service are Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco. Both would be an upgrade in the Cubs rotation, and both could draw a solid return. The Indians aren’t in a situation that they HAVE to make a deal, which puts them in the ideal position. But they need to be wary of this team. The next few seasons might be their window to win, and they can’t simply hope the offense comes together while the pitching gets wasted.

Most Cubs’ fans are going to want Carrasco while the Indians’ fans are going to want Schwarber. The chances of a deal like that happening are small. A more realistic deal would be Salazar for Jorge Soler and possibly another player and/or cash.

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Soler played his first full season, although he missed some time to injury. He’s a guy that many forecast to be a 30 home run/80 RBI guy, but you might only see about a .260 average at the plate. His plate discipline upon arrival last year in Chicago was impressive, but this year that seem to change. Last season he held a swinging strike % of 12.5. This year that jumped to 15.4.

But what he does do consistently is make hard contact. His contact type in 2015 was rarely soft. 15.2 soft, 48.8 medium and 35.9 hard. Add to that his line drive rate was 27.8 percent and you can start to see why many believe he can be a 30 home run guy. He just has to learn how to get under and elevate the ball and those home runs will come.

The Indians aren’t pressed to make a deal, and they can take their time in finding a suitor for one of their pitchers–if there are any. But Soler could fit in as a right fielder of DH. He’s got a cannon for an arm, but his routes to balls isn’t always the best. But he’s still young at just 23 years old, making him younger than Carrasco (28) and Salazar (25).

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The Cubs will be looking to build on a team that made an unexpected run to the NLCS this season, and may be willing to pay for help. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are savvy front office guys, but they realize the window for the Cubs has just opened and they need to seize the chance. The Indians could very well take advantage of that.