Cleveland Indians Trade Target #1: David Dahl, Texas Rangers
There was a point in time this past offseason that David Dahl, an oft-injured former Colorado Rockies upstart might have been the best value outfielder in free agency. Dahl, an All-Star in 2019, was coming off an injury plagued 2020 that saw him slash just .183/.222/.247 in 24 games for Colorado before signing with the Texas Rangers for $2.7M. For the record, Cleveland’s highest paid outfielder this season is Eddie Rosario, commanding $8M in cap space in his age 29 season.
Dahl, who is only 27, is currently on the Rangers’ injured list and has slashed .208/.242/.340 in 42 games so far in 2021. Those numbers aren’t necessarily an improvement over any one player on the Tribe’s current 40-man, but Dahl still possesses his 2019 All-Star potential, where he slashed .302/.353/.582 over the course of 100 games with Colorado.
And for those of you who drone on about the advantages of being a hitter at Coors Field, Dahl’s 2019 splits showed similar power at home and on the road, hitting 16 doubles and nine home runs at home versus 12 doubles and six home runs on the road.
The Rangers took a flier on Dahl, weighing the risk-reward of his injury history and his past production, much the same way the Indians have taken fliers on players like Carlos Gonzalez or Domingo Santana. So, how does an injury prone outfielder help Cleveland and how do they get him without breaking the bank?
Let’s say, rather optimistically, that Mercado is able to regain some fraction of his 2019 superpowers. Platooning Dahl and Mercado in a corner outfield spot could be highly beneficial to the Indians, given that Dahl may just need a combination of new scenery, extra off days/rest and to be apart of a competitive team making a playoff push. If by doing so Dahl and Mercado are able to come close to their career averages of .275 and .246 respectively, then the Tribe is on to something.
Dahl backfired for the Rangers, a team in the midst of a rather lengthy rebuild, where they hoped he might stay healthy and draw a hefty prospect package at the deadline. Given how the season has played out, the cost for Dahl should be somewhat reduced, meaning a pair of prospects along the likes of second basemen Andruw Monasterio and catcher Bryan Lavastida might be enough to seal the deal.