8. Sort through CF options
Center field is shaping up to be a disaster too, because Bradley Zimmer (shoulder) probably won’t be ready to start the season.
The Tribe has some bandages to put over the position in the short term. Jason Kipnis is still under contract and appears undtradeable. At the very least, he can cover center.
Greg Allen can also play the position and is the superior defender to Kipnis. Considering how poorly Kip’s been swinging the bat, why not just let Allen play there?
There’s also Leonys Martin. Acquired at the trade deadline, Martin was gone less than a week after he was acquired due to an infection that nearly cost him his life. All reports indicate he’ll be ready for Spring Training. If that’s he case, he’ll be the likely Opening Day center fielder.
Oscar Mercado is another name to watch. The Indians acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mercado’s 23 and just play this first full season at the Triple-A level.
The question surrounding Mercado is, will he hit? He batted .278 last year, well above his minors career mark of .252. He stole 37 bases last season, so he is a threat on the basepaths.
Defensively, Mercado cut most of his teeth in center field, but he did play every outfield position last season in the minors. Knowing the Indians, it wouldn’t bell all that surprising to see the Tribe throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks.