The Cleveland Indians have significantly improved their most glaring weakness. Now, it is time to fix the rest.
If the Cleveland Indians could only make one move prior to the trade deadline, then it would have to be upgrading the bullpen. Fortunately for them, they do not and should not have to sit still following their multi-player deal earlier today.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Cleveland has acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres. In return, the Tribe sent catcher Francisco Mejia out west. Although Mejia was the Indians’ top prospect, Cleveland still has another option if they need to bring up someone to player catcher: Eric Haase.
Given the uncertainty of Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, adding Hand and Cimber at the very least provides Cleveland more security. Hand was the top reliever on the trade market and getting him along with Cimber for Mejia is a steal. Yes, it in a way can be tough accepting the fact that Mejia is gone but his impact in the short-term was non-existent.
Cimber, a rookie who has a 0.5 WAR at the moment, can pitch multiple innings at a time and has thrown 48 1/3 innings so far. Hand has 24 saves so far this season and was originally a starter with the Marlins before excelling in San Diego.
By adding those two arms, a few points are evident. First, adding players with control was critical as Hand is under contract through 2021 and Cimber’s deal is until at least 2023.
Secondly, Cleveland can now shuffle the bullpen accordingly and put Hand as either the seventh inning pitcher or in the set-up or closer roles. Cleveland could put out a left-right-left at the end of games in the near future. Lastly, by giving up just Mejia, the Indians have more flexibility in terms of prospects they could give up in additional trades. This deal is a win-win for both teams.
Speaking of more trades, the bullpen issue is resolved. That is great. However, there is still the need for at least one more outfielder and an upgrade at second base. Cleveland could afford to give up shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang and pitcher Aaron Civale, among others.
As the days get closer to the deadline more rumors will pop up. Hopefully, like this trade, something comes to fruition soon and upgrades other parts of the roster. While improving the bullpen was necessary, so are the others spots. Unless a pick up in play occurs, something will need to happen to get back to the World Series.