In Cleveland Indians trade talk, one ESPN Insider believes the Tribe needs to trade for outfield help, and should move top prospects to do it.
Trade scenarios involving the Cleveland Indians have been posted on this site, and a lot of blogs throughout the inner workings of the inter-web.
And with the Indians reigning as the hottest team in MLB, even more fans are wondering what moves the front office could make to ensure the Tribe wins the AL Pennant.
ESPN Insider and former MLB general manager Jim Bowden believes the Tribe’s current spot atop the AL Central standings should finally force the front office’s move to make a bold trade.
“…Manager Terry Francona believes this team will win the AL Central with the league’s best starting rotation, and so does the front office. The Indians are on a roll right now but realize their offense could slow down and they could use another impact bat as well as another set-up type reliever. Historically, they’ve been reluctant to trade top prospects from their farm system, but this year will be different because of their legitimate shot at a World Series appearance,” Bowden wrote.
Bowden’s point is well taken. The Indians offense could slow down.
But what he fails to mention is that help in the outfield is on its way.
Abraham Almonte, who would’ve been the starting center fielder had he not got popped for PEDs, can rejoin the team July 3.
In five games with the Columbus Clippers this season, as he prepares to make his comeback, Almonte is slashing .421/.522/.789. The sample size is small, and he’s at Class AAA, but you’d rather have him tearing it up, instead of batting below the Mendoza Line.
Michael Brantley suffered setbacks in May and June trying to get back from a banged up shoulder. He’s finally hitting off a tee again, but he still may be three or four weeks away re-joining the club.
That timeline is interesting, because his return could coincide with the MLB trade deadline. As other teams scramble to make trades, the Tribe could be getting their All-Star left fielder back and it wouldn’t cost the organization a thing.
There’s also the Tyler Naquin factor. It’s still early, but the kid is making a case for Rookie of the Year.
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Most assuredly, teams will be asking the Tribe about outfield prospect Clint Frazier, as well as center fielder Bradley Zimmer. Both are at Class AA right now, and Frazier was just named to Team USA for the upcoming Future’s Game during the All-Star break.
At Class AAA, there’s starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Cody Anderson, and shortstop Erik Gonzalez. Clevinger and Anderson are top 10 prospects within the organization, while Gonzalez is No. 11, according to MLB Pipeline. Pitching is golden, and Clevinger and Anderson offer tons of promise. Gonzalez, meanwhile, is blocked by Francisco Lindor in the big leagues.
Recently, on ESPN, one talking head said that Matt Kemp could be had for nothing, and Ryan Braun could be had for little because of his lucrative contract. Braun would be a great addition right now, but he’s 30, and the Tribe would be on the hook, paying him about $20 million per season through 2020.
I know this team and this ownership…and I just don’t see it that kind of trade happening.
The Indians have a surplus of talent in the minor leagues, but before any major move is made, this front office is probably more likely to see how things play out with the players they already have, instead of trading away the meat of their minor league system.