In Cleveland Indians, Jay Bruce trade talk, “baseball people” argue that the Tribe needs Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce the most before the MLB trade deadline.
The MLB trade deadline is right around the corner, and lots of Indians fans are wondering if the team will make that final push to win the franchise its first World Series championship since 1948.
The Tribe’s outfield entered the season with questions, but somehow, the group has managed to play well enough to give Cleveland a spot a top of the AL Central heading into the All-Star break.
With Jose Ramirez, Tyler Naquin, Rajai Davis and Lonnie Chisenhall, the outfield has actually played beyond expectations up to this point–and that’s all without Michael Brantley, who’s expected to return to big-league action soon.
Despite the decent play the Tribe’s receiving from its outfielders, “baseball people” contend the Indians need Jay Bruce the most, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
“I asked a few baseball people which team could use Bruce the most. It was virtually unanimous, the Indians. They need offense, but few are expecting the Tribe to get him,” Cafardo wrote.
Bruce is an All-Star, who’s having a great season with the Reds, but Cincinnati is sure to ask for a haul in return. That organization is desperate to rebuild after having to trade key pieces last season, and into the last offseason.
Would Bruce look good as the gatekeeper to Beer Pyrmaid in right field? Absolutely. He’s got 18 bombs. Fans love the long ball.
But Cafardo’s commentary makes it seem like the Indians are hapless in the outfield.
Here’s why Bruce shouldn’t be the Indians top trade target…
– The Indians are fifth in the AL with 429 runs scored. That’s a lot better than most fans expected, and with the starting pitching hurling its tail off, the Tribe’s bats are good enough to win.
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– Chisenhall is batting .312 against righties, and just .242 against lefties in 33 at-bats. Bruce is batting .262 against righties and .270 against lefties this season (in 89 at-bats). In limited work, hes doing OK against lefties, but he’s still a .229 hitter against southpaws in his career.
Chisenhall’s OPS is .829, while Bruce’s is .851. Bruce has more home runs (18 to 6), but by now you should get the point. These two players are very similar, and would be disappointing to see the Indians give up major prospects for a player they basically already have.
– Jose Ramirez is often the overlooked man on the Indians.
You could argue that Ramirez could go to third, but know this: his batting numbers takes a significant hit when he’s asked to play the hot corer.
Ramirez is slashing .350/.406/.521 in 41 games as a left fielder, and .231/.268/.325 in 49 games a third base.
With Brantley coming back, Terry Francona will have the option of using different combinations in the outfield.
Ramirez, Brantley and Davis can play left. Naquin and Davis can play center. Chisenhall, Naquin and Davis can play right.
You’d rather have your every day right fielder, but it shouldn’t come at the cost it’s going to take to acquire Bruce, who can be a free agent after next season.
The Indians have prospects to get a deal done, but the Tribe would be better off targeting a player such as Evan Longoria as it amps up for run at the postseason.