Cleveland Indians: 2 players the Tribe shouldn’t have let walk in free agency
Tyler Naquin, Cleveland Indians, OF (2016-2020)
Letting go of Michael Brantley had a somewhat understandable reason given the stance of the club when it comes to big deals. That wasn’t the case in the situation with Tyler Naquin. Naquin left Cleveland for the other team in Ohio, the Cincinnati Reds, on a deal that makes those around the Tribe scratch their heads for why he was let go.
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A first round pick by Cleveland in the 2012 MLB Draft, Naquin is still just 30-years old. Instead of reaching an arbitration deal with the Tribe, Naquin was granted free agency on Dec. 2 before signing with the Reds on Feb. 18. The deal with Cincy was for a whopping $1.5 million this year and with a year of arbitration remaining for next year as well.
That seems like a very reasonable price for an outfielder and one that the Tribe would gladly take right now. After all the injuries and trades, Naquin would have been a great piece to have retained, but hindsight is 20/20.
He’s not exactly hitting the cover off the ball this season, slashing .241/310/.417 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 57 RBI. However, those stats are a bit better than what Eddie Rosario offered the club for more than $5 million more before being traded to Atlanta for nothing more than a salary dump.