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Cleveland Indians: Does a deal for Jacob deGrom make sense?

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(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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As the trade deadline approaches, the Mets’ Jacob deGrom is becoming a popular name for teams to pursue. Should the Indians look to get in on the deGrom sweepstakes?

The next month figures to be one of the most exciting and most nuanced times in baseball. The trade deadline is approaching as rumors circle and teams get attached to names that they may have nothing to do with. The Cleveland Indians are no different in that sense.

This morning on MLB Central, host Mark DeRosa pitched the idea of the Indians making a move for coveted Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom.

They bring up some excellent points. But does this trade make sense? The Indians do have one of the best rotations in baseball, and they’re getting younger. Do they have more pressing needs? Obviously the bullpen has been the stand-out issue this year. But it’s gotten better in the last few weeks.

All of these points make the trade intriguing and worth mentioning. So let’s break down some of the main points and entertain the idea of this potential trade.

Who would the Indians have to give up?

The Indians have some players that they can move. Obviously with a trade of this caliber, the first player a team will ask about is the Indians’ top prospect: Francisco Mejia. For the New York media, Mejia may not be enough. There is a chance they would also ask for the Indians young stud Triston McKenzie. They may even have to look at Bradley Zimmer.

These are some huge assets for the Tribe, but I wouldn’t say they are unmovable. If the Indians see this as their window, nobody in their farm system is unmovable. Mejia may be the Indians top prospect, but the current catchers Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez aren’t going anywhere soon. Losing Mejia wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Tribe, especially after getting a catcher early in the draft this year.

It’s unlikely the Tribe would give up anybody in their starting lineup. Jason Kipnis was discussed as a piece the team would move this offseason, but it wouldn’t make sense for the Indians to give him up without a plan at second base. Yes, Jose Ramirez can move to 2B but would the Indians be that confident with Erik Gonzalez as their everyday 3B?

How would the Indians use deGrom?

Anyone would love to have Jacob deGrom in their rotation. But the Cleveland Indians currently have the 2nd ranked starting rotation according to ESPN. Their starter ERA is 3.29, second only to the Astros.

The Indians would have to find a place to put him. Once Carlos Carrasco comes back; Adam Plutko or Shane Bieber will either sent down to Triple-A or moved to the bullpen in Plutko’s case. That’s not to say it’s not worth it to bring in deGrom, just to send to young pitchers with multiple options realigning down to the minors: but it would involve a lot of moving parts.

But if the Indians look at that starter ERA; and it really bugs them that they sit behind the Astros, they can make that move. A rotation of Corey Kluber, Jacob deGrom, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco will scare any team; and that’s without mentioning Mike Clevinger.

The Indians have a busy rotation as it is, moving some of those arms to the bullpen wouldn’t kill them, but if Danny Salazar returns, they’ll likely have a playoff bullpen featuring Salazar, Clevinger, and Josh Tomlin: three guys who are normally starters.

The verdict

Sure, it’s a nice idea to fantasize about adding Jacob deGrom, but it doesn’t seem like the most logical move for the Tribe. They have a crowded rotation that already dominates their opposition. They don’t look like they need much help on offense either.  But Chris Antoinetti has said the team will improve at the deadline, with the bullpen as the team’s top priority.

Next: Indians make a big leap on the ESPN power rankings

The bottom line is that while it may be improbable for the team to pursue Jacob deGrom; it’s not impossible. It comes down to if the front office sees this year as the team’s last chance to win a World Series for the foreseeable future. If that is the case, why not go all in?

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