Cleveland Indians: 3 affordable trade targets that could improve the outfield
Cleveland Indians Trade Target #2: Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies
The writing was on the wall for Colorado before the 2021 season ever began that a massive rebuild was about to take place, signaled by the bizarre saga that was former Rockies General Manager Jeff Bridich trading Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for what appeared to be scraps. Colorado is flooded with strong trade candidates this season as we approach the deadline featuring the likes of Trevor Story, Jon Gray and Charlie Blackmon, but outfielder Raimel Tapia may be flying under the radar.
Tapia, 27, owns a career slash line of .286/.328/.408 across parts of six seasons with Colorado, including a .292 batting average with 19 doubles through 77 games in 2021. He’s currently on a $1.95M deal, a very cheap rental for Cleveland’s purposes, and still has two years of arbitration left. Tapia has dealt with some injuries over the course of his career, but nowhere near the extent of former teammate David Dahl, while showcasing an impressively consistent bat in his young career.
Tapia owns near identical batting averages against left (.285) and right-handed pitchers (.287), allowing for batting order and defensive lineup flexibility. He also has a career slash line of .311/.365/.467 with runners in scoring position, something Cleveland could certainly use to bolster their 5.6 runs per game in the month of June as we move into July.
Having played roughly 78% of his career in left field, transitioning to center field with Cleveland makes some sense for Tapia, given the ball won’t carry nearly as much along the shores of Lake Erie as it does in Denver. His bat would be a significant improvement over Bradley Zimmer’s while giving up some defense in exchange, but knowing how the Indians operate, a platoon of Zimmer, Harold Ramirez and Tapia would be the most likely outcome.
As for what Colorado might want in exchange, the organization is at a crossroads. They have yet to hire a new General Manager since Bridich’s resignation, meaning the team may not have a plan as to how far down to the studs they want this rebuild to go. If that’s the case, then take a swing and try and package Jon Gray in this deal to help the starting rotation, otherwise a one-for-one swap for Ernie Clement might get the job done as the Rockies will likely need an immediate replacement for Trevor Story.