Cleveland Indians team president Chris Antonetti’s recent words suggest the Tribe will not be making a big trade before the start of the season.
When Chris Antonetti, the president of the Cleveland Indians, talks, it’s easy to get lost in executive speak.
Antonetti is masterful in telling us a lot, but without actually saying anything.
That wasn’t the case 18 days before pitchers and catchers are set to report to begin Spring Training Feb. 12.
Antonetti had said on a conference call that it will be a priority of the Indians to provide young players with the opportunity to produce at the big-league level.
Translation: Jordan Luplow is your starting right fielder. Tyler Naquin and Greg Allen: You want a job? It’s there for the taking. Jake Bauers, forget the struggles of your first season in the big leagues with Tampa. You’ve got a job in 2019.
It’s been a slow process, but the Indians have trended in this direction since the season disappointingly ended in a three-game sweep to the Houston Astros in the ALDS.
We all knew they’d be seeking to trim payroll, and it happened without losing Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber. Edwin Encarnacion was dealt. Yan Gomes, too. No effort to retain free agents Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley was apparently made.
Antonetti was recently on MLB Network radio, talking about the roster make up, where he basically said trading one of their aces was no longer a need because the Tribe had cut enough salary.
With the Indians no longer feeling the need to pinch payroll anymore, it doesn’t appear a trade of Kluber or Bauer is likely.
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Perhaps that’s not a bad thing right now, and that’s not to sugarcoat things. This lineup is destined to lose in the ALDS again this fall, but at least they’ll be able to get there with a rotation fronted by Kluber, Bauer and Carlos Carrasco.
There’s still time left, though, and while it’s its unlikely the Tribe rocks the trade market, it’s not impossible. After all, there’s still a lot of hot stove action to play out with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still available.
• Which pitch led the Cleveland Indians in holds last year?
I wouldn’t have guessed it either.
It was Oliver Perez, who had 15 holds last year, helping to earn a one-year, $2.5 million contract for 2019. If he’s healthy at seasons’ end and makes at least 55 appearances, that option will vest, according to Cleveland .com.
This means Perez will be in the mix for 2020 at a cost of $2.75 million. It could be as worth as much as $3 million if he makes 60 appearances next season, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga.
Perez is 37, but he possessed the highest WAR (1.3) of any free-agent reliever resining on the market.