Evidently, discussing why key free agents make sense for the Cleveland Indians doesn’t work. So here’s a different approach to making a case for Brock Holt.
Months ago, I wrote about how Brock Holt makes a ton of sense for the Cleveland Indians in 2020. I wrote that story before the Indians signed Cesar Hernandez to play second base, but Holt’s positional versatility is such that he wouldn’t need to exclusively play there.
I also wrote extensively on how Mike Moustakas and Travis Shaw would have been good fits in Cleveland. I discussed how well Corey Dickerson would’ve aligned with the Tribe’s roster needs. I even went ahead and toyed with the notion of a blockbuster Josh Donaldson signing, against my better judgement. And most recently, I took the time to advocate on behalf of Nicholas Castellanos in an Indians uniform.
Some of these ideas were admittedly more realistic than others, but a more motivated Indians team could have pulled off at least one of them. As it turned out, Cleveland wasn’t even so much as linked to most of these players.
So with the exception of a few mentions of Hernandez prior to his signing, I’m batting well under .200 for the offseason. Holt is still out there, however, so I could be hitting a fresh .286 with a little batted-ball luck in my next plate appearance. But instead of reiterating why the Indians should sign him, which will inevitably turn out to be a waste of time when he winds up with the Orioles for no apparent reason, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to make the most sarcastic case possible for why the Indians should want nothing to do with Holt.
Holt is a left-handed hitter. With sure things like Jake Bauers and Bradley Zimmer competing for playing time in spring training, I see no reason why the Indians would want another left-handed hitter in their regular lineup. Especially one with a career 119 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.
The Indians outfield is comprised almost entirely of question marks and unknown quantities. The argument could be made that even Oscar Mercado is far from a safe bet to be one of the team’s top position players. The idea of a veteran like Holt providing the Indians with some measure of consistency in the outfield reaches a level of absurdity I can’t even put into words.
In addition to second base and both corner outfield spots, the longtime Boston utility man can also play third base if need be. This is an immediate no-go for the Indians. Imagine the burden of having a guy on your roster who can spell any of four regular starters on any given day. What a detriment it would be to give Jose Ramirez the occasional maintenance day, or to let him DH for the second tilt of a doubleheader. It honestly borders on preposterous.
And don’t even get me started on the possibility of injuries. Last year, the Indians lost Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis, Tyler Naquin, and Jordan Luplow to IL stints of varying length. Having a versatile player like Holt around to fill in during those stretches would have been an absolute catastrophe. It’s difficult to fathom how negative an impact he would have if the Indians suffer the same bad injury luck in 2020.
Without ever having met him, Holt seems to be a well-liked player who had a positive influence on the Red Sox clubhouse during his time there. I mean, I can’t even begin to comprehend how woefully damaging his presence would be in the Indians clubhouse once his personality clashed with that of consummate professionals like Lindor, or Ramirez, or Carlos Santana. The entire culture of the team would be at risk of descending into madness and anarchy.
Signing Holt to what would probably be a two-year deal (at most) for something in the neighborhood of $10 million (at most) would be an unmitigated disaster for the Indians – an ungovernable wildfire, the ripple effects of which would be felt for generations to come.
It is well that the Indians haven’t been so much as rumored as a potential landing spot for Holt, an inexpensive left-handed hitter with the ability to play the outfield, as there is absolutely no set of circumstances under which a player with his skill set could possibly help the Indians win this season.