Cleveland Indians Have Several Left-Handed Relief Options To Consider

Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

The Free Agents

There are a few free agents out there that would appear to be great fits for the Cleveland Indians. Boone Logan was, of course, touched on last week and remains one of the best fits though a similar pitcher could also be had in Jerry Blevins. Blevins spent 2016 with the Mets and had an outstanding season. He posted a solid 2.79 ERA and 3.05 FIP in 42 innings and 73 appearances. He struck out an outstanding 11.1 per nine innings while walking just 3.2 per nine. Somewhat similar to Logan, Blevins numbers look even better versus left-handed hitting.

In 2016 alone, Blevins struck out over 12 per nine innings against left-handed hitters while he struck out 9.6 against righties (still a very good mark). Things weren’t all cozy in 2016 though as he did post a weak 1.31 WHIP against lefties; however, that can almost all be attributed to his insanely high .368 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). He was very unlucky in 2016 against lefties and his career mark is a more outstanding 1.00.

Blevins also bounced back nicely in 2016 after missing nearly all of 2015 after breaking his arm early in the year on a ball hit back to the mound. He threw only five innings at the big league level for the Mets in 2015, yet still managed a 0.2 fWAR in those seven outings. He showed no ill-effects from the injury in 2016 and it’s a bit of a surprise he’s still on the market at this point.  He’ll be entering his age 33-season in 2017 and could still be looking for a multi-year deal for decent money.

A bit of an under-the-radar signing could be Craig Breslow. The Indians are said to be very intrigued in Breslow who actually pitched for the Indians back in 2008, making seven appearances. Unfortunately for the Indians that was all he pitched, and he broke out upon moving on to the Minnesota Twins that season.

After a few good seasons, he really struggled in both 2014 and 2015 with the Boston Red Sox posting negative fWARs in each season (-0.8 and -0.6). He bounced back a bit in 2016 though with the Miami Marlins.

Breslow split 2016 between Triple-A and the major leagues, throwing just 14 innings with the Marlins in 15 outings. Never a huge strikeout guy, he posted a mere 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Equally as troubling, he posted a measly 29 percent groundball rate. His splits didn’t do him any favors either as he struggled versus both righties and lefties.

The only thing Breslow has going for him is he should be very cheap. Unlike the two guys above, Breslow won’t take a multi-year deal and likely could be had on a minor league deal. He does seem to have a number of suitors, though, including the Toronto Blue Jays, so perhaps someone bites on a major league deal.

A few other free agents the Indians could turn too are Javier Lopez, Travis Wood, J.P. Howell, and Charlie Furbush. Lopez has been with the San Francisco Giants recently and enjoyed a ton of success; however, a down 2016 season has hurt him. Wood had a solid year for the World Champion Cubs, working exclusively out of the pen for the first time in his career. Furbush had shoulder surgery in August so probably isn’t a guy for Opening Day though may be a buy-low candidate the Tribe could add.