Cleveland Guardians News

Cleveland Indians: A discussion on the Tribe’s farm system

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(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

A deep farm system equals leverage on the trade market

For a team with Cleveland’s perpetual financial disadvantages, selling the farm in short-sighted, win-now deals isn’t always the most prudent course of action. But if the Indians find themselves in a position to truly shoot for the stars, perhaps as soon as the 2020 trade deadline, they could pull off a blockbuster-style deal thanks to the depth of their minor league prospect pool.

There are some players around the league who immediately come to mind when pondering a potential deal such as this, and the conversation simply can’t be had without bringing up the name Mookie Betts.

The Red Sox could easily rebound in 2020 and look poised for the playoffs deep into the summer, rendering this whole hypothetical scenario null and void. But say they don’t trade Betts this winter, and say the same things that plagued them in 2019 (specifically inconsistent starting pitching) hold them back next year.

If the Indians look like a true World Series contender next July, don’t they owe it to themselves to at least consider the possibility of acquiring an MVP-caliber player at the deadline? Yes, Betts would be an incredibly expensive (both in terms of prospect haul and salary) two-month rental. But who is going to care if it nets the Indians their first World Series since before the Korean War?

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Betts is just one admittedly idealistic dream scenario, but the point remains: The Indians are rapidly beginning to build up the prospect depth to pull off landscape-altering trades, should they ever be so inclined.

Cleveland has displayed a willingness to push the envelope on this front in the appropriate situations in recent years, most notably in their acquisitions of Andrew Miller and Brad Hand. Highly regarded prospects departed the Tribe’s system in both deals, though a push for a player like Betts exists in a different stratosphere than even those relatively high-profile trades.

If the mission is to try as hard as is organizationally possible to win a World Series before Lindor hits free agency after the 2021 season, these knuckle-biting prospect trade scenarios at least need to be entertained.

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