2 Cleveland Indians named on MLBTR top 60 trade deadline targets
With the trade deadline looming, MLB Trade Rumors released their top 60 trade deadline targets on Tuesday morning (July 27). While their top 40 list that released over a month ago didn’t have any Cleveland Indians listed, this one had two. Both Cesar Hernandez and Bryan Shaw appeared on the list and could be on their way out as the deadline nears. Luckily, both are on our list of players the team can trade and still remain competitive.
With the loss Tuesday night, the Tribe are back down to .500 and that brings the team’s record to 2-6 over their last eight. While the Wild Card is still within reach, the division seems to be far fetched at this point unless something shocks everyone around baseball. So as teams look to become buyers or sellers, it’s still unsure where the Tribe will land. Buying seems unlikely, but selling is still very well on the table. The club could also do nothing.
Should the team decide to sell, MLB Trade Rumors has it exactly right. Hernandez and Shaw are the club’s best options to strike a deal. Even with Shaw blowing the lead on Tuesday. They both have team-friendly contracts and come with veteran experience to boost both the on-field production and clubhouse focus.
For Hernandez, MLB Trade Rumors had this to say:
"Cleveland is nine games back in the division and five back from a Wild Card spot. They’re certainly not out of postseason contention, but with Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale sidelined, they’re sending out Zach Plesac and a collection of rookies in the rotation. Their odds don’t look great at the moment. Hernandez is on an affordable $5MM salary with a $6MM option for 2022. That option could mean he simply stays put, but Hernandez could appeal to clubs looking for affordable infield help."
This isn’t anything new for fans of the Cleveland Indians. While Hernandez clocks in at No. 20 on the list, and the fourth second baseman, his contract could be what actually keeps him in Cleveland. Sure, it’s an affordable deal, but the reality is that the Tribe should still be a solid team next year. Keeping your leadoff hitter and Gold Glove second baseman who’s having a career-year at the plate would be a big plus. Especially for just $6 million.
With that being said, the Tribe’s front office is always looking to bolster the future prospects. That’s why the team has been able to stay competitive while keeping the payroll decently low, or at least average across the league. If someone calls with a great offer the team can’t pass up, then Hernandez will be dealt. But if that offer doesn’t come through, he should remain with Cleveland.
Lower on the list at No. 30 was another player for the Tribe in Bryan Shaw. Unlike Hernandez, Shaw would just be a rental since he’s on a one-year, $1 million deal, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t interest.
"It’s been a nice rebound year for Shaw in many ways. He’s sporting a sub-3.00 ERA with a career-high 27.6 percent strikeout rate. He’s also walking more hitters than ever before, however, and his 48.6 percent grounder rate is down about six percent from his peak. Walking 15 percent of your opponents is going to give some teams pause, but Shaw is playing on a $1MM salary, so those with luxury concerns might overlook the spotty control and focus on the salary. Again, the Indians could just hold onto all their potential trade pieces, but they’re a long shot for the playoffs and Shaw will generate interest."
The biggest draw for Shaw is his price. It’s not often a team can find a reliever as effective as Shaw at the price of less than a million. Since it’s a one-year deal, it really doesn’t make sense for the Tribe to keep him. Even if they think they still have a shot at the postseason, Shaw’s role is replaceable. If a team comes calling with any decent prospect, it would probably make sense to make the move. If Shaw is part of the team’s plans for next year, then they can go get him again in free agency this winter.
While Hernandez and Shaw were the only ones to crack the top 60 on the list, the Cleveland Indians did have other players that received honorable mention looks. MLB Trade Rumors refers to them as “Others To Watch,” but it’s really all the same. For Cleveland, those “others” consisted of Eddie Rosario, Roberto Perez and Austin Hedges.
Rosario is probably the most likely of the trio to draw interest. He’s having a down season, but his one-year contract could still make him a desirable target for a contender in need of an outfielder. He’s currently still on the injured list, though, which makes trading him a bit harder to do. Unless he miraculously comes back from the injured list in the next 48 hours, he should remain with Cleveland the rest of the season.
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As for the catchers, both Perez and Hedges could draw interest from team’s that need a defensive catcher. If they want offense, these two aren’t it. However, when it comes to being solid backstops, there’s few in the game better.
Now, both players could return next season. Perez has a $7 million club option and Hedges still has a year of arbitration left. Between the two, Hedges’ contract is probably the more desirable one. Since he lacks offensive production his final year of arbitration should end up well cheaper than Perez’s $7 million tag and there isn’t too much of a dip defensively.
The barrier in moving one of them from Cleveland’s perspective is the depth at the position. We saw earlier this season that the veterans in the system aren’t what the team looks for from the catcher position. Unless Bo Naylor is closer to being ready than we think, odds are both Perez and Hedges stay.
When it’s all said and done the odds of the Cleveland Indians doing anything at the trade deadline seem very slim. The team has very few pieces they could trade and there isn’t much of a market for those few players. At least not one the Tribe front office would consider.