Cleveland Indians Trade Talk: Sean Doolittle A Fit For The Bullpen?

In Cleveland Indians trade talk, ESPN Insider Jim Bowden wrote that Oakland A’s reliever Sean Doolittle would best fit with the Tribe.

With the 1/4 of the MLB season in the books, it’s becoming a more obvious to see which teams might be sellers before this summer’s trade deadline.

One of those clubs in the Oakland A’s, and they have some bodies who could help the Cleveland Indians contend in the AL Central.

The Indians are rumored to be searching for bullpen help, and A’s reliever Sean Doolittle would be the best fit for the Tribe, according to ESPN Insider and former MLB general manager Jim Boweden.

“[Doolittle] might not be all the way back from his injuries but 23 K’s in 19⅓ IP says he’ll only get better — and almost every contending team needs another lefty in the bullpen,” Bowden wrote.

Before the Indians make any trade, Tribe fans know they’ve got to follow the money. Before the season, Doolittle signed a five-year, $10.5 million contract, which puts his average annual salary around $2.1 million.

In the final two years of his contract, Doolittle is set to make over $6 million, but those years hold team options. So if Doolittle, 29, loses it, the Tribe wouldn’t be on the hook.

Doolittle is a former All-Star who averaged 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 2014, when he earned a nod to the mid-summer classic.

In 2015, Doolittle suffered through shoulder problems, and there were questions about whether his velocity would stay in the mid 90s.

Well through two months, the answer to that question has been yes.

Doolittle loves his fastball–no surprise there–because he’s averaging 94.3 miles per hour on each heater he throws.  Doolittle also has a slider and a change up, but don’t kid yourself. He’s known for his heat, throwing it 86 percent of the time.

Doolittle’s name caught my attention because the Indians and A’s do have a history together. Chris Antonetti and Billy Beane pulled off that Joey Wendle for trade two offseasons back, so it’s not unreasonable to think the two sides won’t go at it again.

Bowden is right about the southpaw. Contending teams can never have enough lefties, which is why it was interesting to see a familiar face on Bowden’s “Best Fit” list: Joe Smith.

The former Tribe reliever is closing games with Houston Street on the DL. He has a 4.30 ERA filling in at closer, but any contender would love to have Smith in a set up role. Remember how good he was with the Tribe?

The problem with Smith is that he’s a little expensive–that’s why he’s no longer here. He’s in the final year of a three-year contract he signed with Angels, making just over $5 million this season.

The Tigers, with their apparent blank checkbook are the best fit for Smith, according to Bowden.