In Cleveland Indians trade talk, one Tribe beat writer is suggesting the team needs to make a deal to acquire an outfielder after Marlon Byrd was suspended for PED use.
Well, reality caught up with Byrd June 1, when the outfielder was suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs.
This has Cleveland.com beat writer Paul Hoynes writing the Indians need to pull the trigger on a trade that brings in outfield help.
“With the exception of a healthy [Michae] Brantley, the guys who are already here have received considerable exposure through the first 50 games of the season. It’s time for a move,” Hoynes wrote.
The Indians shuffled their roster after the Byrd news broke, promoting Tyler Naquin from Class AAA Columbus. Naquin had success in his first stint with the Tribe this season, but got sent down because he wasn’t getting consistent playing time.
A lot of Tribe fans are happy with his promotion, but the outfield is still in a heap of trouble.
No one knows when Michael Brantley is going to return from his shoulder injury. I fear that this might be an ailment that bogs down Brantley all season.
If Brantley misses extended time, the Indians outfield looks like this: Naquin, Rajai Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jose Ramirez and Michael Martinez. The latter two of this group are utility players, and for a team trying to contend, it’d be a reach for the Tribe to think they can plug either one of these guys into the outfield as their every day left fielder, even though the team likes the idea of Ramirez in center field.
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Tribe president Chris Antonetti said the team will give opportunities to the players already in the organization, so I could see Ramirez getting more looks in the outfield. He’s exceeding expectations at the plate, and with Juan Uribe turning in a nice May at the dish, the Tribe would love to find another spot for Ramirez. Unfortunately, defense has to be a concern just because of his inexperience in the outfield.
Chisenhall and Naquin both bat left handed. You’d like some versatility in the outfield because Chisenhall is hits so poorly against lefties, while Naquin is still unproven. Perhaps with this promotion, Naquin shows he can be an every day player and makes it impossible or the Indians to option him back to Class AAA.
I don’t know how you’d do it, but I’d love to get Carlos Gonzalez away from the hapless Rockies. Car-Go is batting .312 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs. Yes, he’s left handed, but I’d love to see that production in this lineup.
I’m also a realist. He’s making $17 million this season, and $20 million next. That’s an expense the Dolan Family probably has no interest in. Teams with bigger payrolls, such as the Nationals, Red Sox and division rival White Sox have all been tied to the Colorado star.
But if the Cleveland front office is serious about winning, they must consider something dramatic. The Indians went 16-13 in may, and briefly sat atop first place in the AL Central. It’s not a time for the Tribe to get complacent. This team is good enough to compete, and the front office needs to make sure it gives manager Terry Francona the weapons to do get it done.