Another outfielder being on the DL may force the hand of the Cleveland Indians front office on the waiver wire. Could the Mets make one of their pieces available?
Having Leonys Martin in the fold was nice while it lasted.
Like a well-placed piece of furniture in a living room, Martin tied the Cleveland Indians outfield together for all of a week since coming over from Detroit in a deadline deal last Tuesday. He was also off to a nice start rounding out the bottom of the batting order, collecting five hits in 15 at-bats, scoring three runs and driving in four.
Whatever long-term contributions he stands to make in 2018 have been put on hold, however, as Martin was placed on the disabled list as of Aug. 9 with an undisclosed illness. He joins fellow Tribe grass-roamers Bradley Zimmer, Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall on the shelf, and none appear set to return in the immediate future.
Whatever sort of black magic is at play in the Indians outfield has once again brought the need for an external solution to the forefront. In 2017, the August waiver process yielded a favorable addition in the form of Jay Bruce. In 2018, the Indians could add a different Mets outfielder.
New York’s junior varsity team doesn’t have a vast collection of valuable trade assets among position players, but the one who stands out the most is Brandon Nimmo.
Nimmo is just 25 years old and hasn’t even reached his arbitration years yet. He’s slashed .252/.378/.477 with 14 home runs, 35 RBIs and 57 runs scored in 2018. He’s also bounced among all three outfield positions, so he offers flexibility if any of the Tribe’s wounded are able to return down the stretch.
Those numbers aren’t too far off from Martin’s, and given the fact that both players bat from the left side of the plate, looking at a player like Nimmo may appear to be a peculiar decision. However, the mysterious nature of Martin’s DL designation is disconcerting at best. If he is indeed inactive for a long stretch, the Indians don’t have the luxury of turning away from similar players.
There are, of course, obstacles to any potential deal that the Tribe may make for Nimmo. The first of these is that Nimmo is under team control through the 2022 season. If he were to be placed on waivers, even a non-contending team could put in a claim and make a deal with the future in mind.
The second roadblock is that Mets ownership seems perfectly content to ride its sinking ship straight to the bottom of the Atlantic. After making no significant moves at the non-waiver deadline, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would turn around and deal a controllable outfielder in August.
Still, if Nimmo is made available before August 31, the Indians would be wise to claim him and see if a deal can be reached.