Step #1: Club Options
The first step of the Indians’ offseason will be figuring out what to do with their six free agents, but more importantly, what to do with the players with club options for the 2021 season.
Of the players that had an impact on the 2020 season, three have club options for the 2021 season, but the Indians could opt to let all of them go. If it was up to us, they would keep one of the trio.
Roberto Perez has a club option for 2021 set for $5.5 million, which is an affordable price when considering his ability in the field. Perez won the Gold Glove Award a year ago and is in line to win it again this year, being a finalist. Bringing Perez back on that deal is the first step of returning to the competitive level in 2021 that we’ve become accustomed to in Cleveland.
As I said, Perez would be the only option the Indians should bring back. That means letting go of both Carlos Santana and Brad Hand, who are both set to make a lot of money on a team that is looking to save money.
Starting with Santana, he is set to make $17.5 million in 2021 if the Tribe decide to pick up his option. After a down season in 2020, Santana’s price is much higher than his value, not to mention that the Indians have options to try at first base. Between Josh Naylor, Bobby Bradley, Jake Bauers and maybe even Nolan Jones, Cleveland will be able to find a player to slot in at first.
As for Hand, it’s a similar story. With a price of $10 million in 2021, the Indians can look for options other than Brad Hand in the closer role and should let Hand walk. He’s been serviceable in the role, but it might be time to move on to a more affordable option.