Cleveland Guardians News

Cleveland Indians: Free agents to avoid this winter

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(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 29: Starlin Castro #13 of the Miami Marlins gestures as he rounds the basses after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 29: Starlin Castro #13 of the Miami Marlins gestures as he rounds the basses after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Starlin Castro – 2B, Miami Marlins

The Marlins are almost certain not to exercise Starlin Castro‘s $16-million club option for 2020, thus making him a free agent. I am admittedly on the fence regarding Castro’s potential value to the Indians based on his ability to play multiple infield positions.

If nothing else, he is not a significant downgrade from Jason Kipnis at second base, and he could fill in at third and short from time to time as needed.

Like Garcia, however, he is a right-handed hitter. As currently constructed, the Indians’ options from the left side of the plate are switch-hitters Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, and Greg Allen; and pure lefties Jake Bauers and Bradley Zimmer.

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If we include players without significant (or any) MLB experience, Bobby Bradley, Daniel Johnson, and Nolan Jones would figure to be the most likely left-handed hitters in the system to see any time with the big league club in 2020.

Mike Freeman played 2019 on a one-year deal, and isn’t a lock to return next season. Tyler Naquin will spend most of next year recovering from a torn ACL.

If the Indians are looking for a utility player or second baseman with limited upside, they’d be just as well-served to bring Kipnis back on a low-cost deal, or kick the tires on Brock Holt, a veteran lefty who can play the outfield.

I wouldn’t be inconsolably upset over Castro finding his way onto the Tribe’s 25-man roster to start next season, but if I’m getting a right-handed hitter, I’d prefer a game-changer or at least one with more upside than Castro.

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