Cleveland Indians: Will the Indians pay for a top non-tendered outfielder?

Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

There are a few names on the non-tendered list of outfielders that could help the Cleveland Indians, but will the club pay up to get them?

It has already been well documented that the Cleveland Indians have few to no plans to spend money this offseason, transforming the roster for the future while moving more expensive assets. Even so, there will still always be a drive to keep the team as competitive as possible. While there are intriguing players at every position, there are multiple outfielders available.

One thing that has held the Indians back from continued success each year has been the below average play of the outfield. Whether it be players from trades, the minors or free agents, Cleveland hasn’t had luck finding players to fit the holes in the outfield. This hasn’t been a one-year issue either.

This offseason the Indians will have the opportunity to sign an outfielder that could fill one of the holes at a cheap rate. The players that were non-tendered were let go earlier than expected and might be looking for a prove-it type deal, especially during an offseason where teams will be hurting financially. There’s more of a draw to becoming a free agent in a year or two when the market resets, meaning more short term deals. It might be a band-aid fix, but these players could be of interest to the Indians if the price is right.

1. Kyle Schwarber

This isn’t exactly a name that fans might want to see in a Cleveland Indians uniform with the wounds from the 2016 World Series still fresh enough. Even so, Kyle Schwarber could solve a few issues that need addressed this offseason. He can play the outfield while also bringing a much needed left-handed power bat to the lineup.

Schwarber’s average dipped in 2020, but in a full season he has the ability to be a threat in the lineup. During the 2019 season, Schwarber slashed .250/.339/.531 while clubbing 38 home runs and logging 92 RBI. Additionally, he drew 70 walks and also had 29 doubles.

The knock against Schwarber and the Indians agreeing to a deal is that Schwarber is best fit as a designated hitter or left fielder. The DH spot is locked up by Franmil Reyes and left field is presumably Josh Naylor, but maybe this would push Naylor to first base.

The salary will also be a deciding factor. In 2020, Schwarber was set to make $7.01 million after making $3.39 million in 2019. With the 2020 season being a bit down for him, Schwarber’s price might fall into the range that the Indians would be willing to pay.

2. David Dahl

The 10th overall pick in 2012, David Dahl will be just 27-years old next season and had an All-Star season just a year ago in 2019. Like Schwarber, Dahl would bring a left-handed bat to the lineup and is also strong in the field as well.

The 2020 season saw Dahl bat below .200, but his larger sample size in 2019 is what could draw interest from a team like the Indians who will be in search of a deal. On his way to an All-Star selection, Dahl slashed .302/.353/.524 for the Rockies adding 15 home runs and 28 doubles.

Dahl was consistent at the plate but didn’t always provide a threat. He could be a stable bat in the lineup to count on for hits, but not necessary a difference-maker with one swing.

As for his contract, Dahl could be much more affordable. Even after being an All-Star, Dahl only made $2.475 during the 2020 season. That number could increase a bit on the open market, but given the potential he showed in 2019, it could be very worth it.

3. Eddie Rosario

A bit older at 29-years old, Eddie Rosario is one of the more consistent players available of those non-tendered. His glove is slightly less reliable than the others listed so far, but what he can do at the plate is the best of the bunch.

The 2020 season served as Rosario’s “worst” season in the majors, batting an average of .257, the lowest mark of his six-year career. However, his best stat is his ability to drive in runs. During the 2019 season he tallied 109 RBI with 32 home runs and 28 doubles.

Being older, Rosario might be more interested in a ring than a contract. That doesn’t necessarily rule out the Cleveland Indians, but it does make it a bit harder of a sell. He also is coming off a $7.75 million contract and had a solid year that doesn’t show any sign of a discount from that number.

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