There are still holes within the Cleveland Indians roster that needs to be fixed ASAP.
That said, there are still three needs that pops out immediately and needs addressed. Those needs are more outfield depth, another reliever, and a utilityman.
There are internal options that could fill those roles, but that is far from a guarantee. Minor leaguers Yandy Diaz and Bradley Zimmer could help the Tribe this upcoming season. Personally, it seems like Diaz has not yet received as many chances to show what he can do.
As far as the outfield goes, a veteran needs to be signed because trading a pitcher, likely a starter does not seem to be in the cards in hopes for an upgrade. Even if it a minor league deal, it is better than nothing. Still, it seems like it is time for Diaz, Zimmer, or someone else to help with Cleveland’s outfield depth.
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The Indians have one of the best collections of pitchers in MLB, especially with their starters. Still, they lack lefties and veteran reliever Bryan Shaw is too inconsistent and ineffective for my taste. I don’t envision anyone being added prior to Spring Training, but it should not be too long after before Cleveland actually does.
Names they could go after even now is tough to say, because which route would they take to acquire that type of player and how much would they really want to invest? If via trade, Cleveland will have to trade a minor leaguer or two. If through waivers, your guess is as good as mine.
Veteran utilityman Mike Aviles did not come back last season to the Indians. Instead, manager Terry Francona used a number of players in different spots, before finishing up with Michael Martinez in the versatile role.
Martinez could very well be in that role in 2017, this time doing it full-time. He is not Aviles, but Martinez does do a solid job.
With or without Martinez, veterans Emilio Bonifacio and Skip Schumaker could be intriguing options as the season gets closer. Of course neither played and produced much last season, but their contributions over the years should not be ignored.
Cleveland is in great shape heading into the 2017 season. However, if they fill even one of those previously mentioned roles, the Tribe will be even better, both on paper and in real life.