Cleveland Indians fail during one of the most exciting trade deadlines ever
This year the MLB Trade Deadline was one of the most entertaining in recent memory. Big name after big name was moved, including Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo, Javier Baez and so many more. The Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals tore down to the studs while the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their rosters to set up a potential slugfest World Series. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians fell flat on their face.
Now to be fair, we didn’t expect the Tribe to blow anyone away. In fact, standing pat and not making a deal would have made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, the team didn’t do that and this is one of those rare cases where doing nothing would have been better than what transpired.
We’ll start where the front office did. Cesar Hernandez. Going into the trade deadline it was assumed that Hernandez was the club’s best trade chip. He has a club option on the books next year and his contract was very affordable. Not to mention he brings a power source to any lineup.
The only problem with the Hernandez deal is what transpired after it. Trading a rental within the division hurts, but if it’s just a rental then it shouldn’t change too much. While it was initially a rental move, the White Sox then moved Nick Madrigal for Craig Kimbrel, making it seem like they could pick up Hernandez’s option for next year.
Not only did Cleveland send Hernandez to a division rival in a one-for-one deal, but it allowed Chicago to acquire one of the top players on the trade market in Kimbrel. In defense of the front office, there was little to no way of knowing that would happen, but it’s just salt in the wound.
On to the next deal, Eddie Rosario. This is where the deadline went south for Cleveland. Antarctica, not able to come back from it, south. Like Hernandez, Rosario was a very moveable piece. He was on a one-year deal, was playing below expectations and wasn’t too missed from the lineup during his injury. However, he still should have been able to net something in return.
The only thing that Cleveland will see in return is maybe Pablo Sandoval. In reality, the only thing Cleveland will get is a few extra bucks in their pocket. The odds of Sandoval actually playing in Cleveland are slim and while the deal will save a little bit of money, it won’t save a ton.
Those two moves combined will save the Cleveland Indians around $4 million total. That could make a difference down the road, but right now it just stings to lose those two players with very little to show for it.
Before it was all said and done, the Tribe front office did make a couple solid moves for the future, first dealing Phil Maton and Yainer Diaz for Myles Straw. With a bullpen that was overflowing with talent, moving Maton doesn’t hurt a lot. However, adding Straw could be a big addition, especially since he has multiple years of team control left on his deal.
Straw is widely regarded as one of the fastest players in Major League Baseball right now and for a Cleveland outfield that has been coming along, he’s a huge addition. Starting in center for Houston, Straw was slashing a steady .262/.339/.326 with 13 doubles, a triple, two home runs and 34 RBI. What is his best stat that will go a long way in Cleveland is his 17 stolen bases. Currently, Jose Ramirez leads the team in stolen bases with 10, so that addition of speed is huge.
After that the Tribe made another change to the outfield situation, sending Jordan Luplow and D.J. Johnson to Tampa Bay for Peyton Battenfield. A minor league reliever who hasn’t pitched above Double-A, Battenfield has potential with a career ERA of 1.94 in the minors. Luplow and Johnson weren’t panning out to help much, so this is just cashing in a couple average assets for one better one.
Cleveland Indians Trade Deadline Grade: D
Unfortunately, the last two deals weren’t enough to pull the grade up for the Cleveland Indians. While Shaw is an awesome addition and Battenfield is an improvement over Luplow and Johnson, they still doesn’t make up for everything that was lost. It ends the deadline on a positive note, but the overall feel is still negative. The move gets the grade above an F, but this still isn’t passing in most books.