Cleveland Indians: Intriguing plan for 2B in 2020

An intriguing plan for the Cleveland Indians, who have a major need to fill at second base for the 2020 season. Help may already be on the roster.

Rumors suggest Jason Kipnis won’t be back with the Cleveland Indians in 2020, so where will the front office go to find a second baseman. There had been hope the Indians would get Kipnis back on a cheap deal.

Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff may look no further than their current roster, which hides the forgotten former first-round pick, Christian Arroyo.

With the Winter Meetings in the rear-view mirror, The Athletic’s Eno Sarris wrote about the moves each team should make before Spring Training and he thinks Arroyo may be an answer at second base.

Sarris reasoned that Arroyo “Hit for the best combo of power and contact of his minor-league career” during the 2019 campaign, which Arroyo played at Triple A. He only played 33 games last y year, which is too small a sample size. He appeared in just 16 games with the Rays.

Arroyo was once a highly thought of prospect, who was the crown jewel in the trade that saw Tampa send Evan Longoria to the Giants.

He’s still just 25 years old, and if we know anything about the Indians, they love buying lottery tickets on penny-stock guys who still have potential.

Sarris thinks Arroyo could be a “league-average player” in 2020, but with that in mind, he believes the Indians will keep searching for someone else (The Athletic, subscription required).

“…Projections have [Arroyo] as the 29th-best starting second baseman going into the season, and so it’s likely the team is looking to figure something out at the position.”

It’s with this in mind that Sarris suggested a reunion Kipnis (not rumored to happen) or Eric Sogard.

Ultimately, Sarris believes the Indians should sign Cesar Hernandez, who hit .279 with a .741 ops in 2019.  With league average players being more affordable than ever, Sarris contends that if the Indians are going to shop the bargain bin, why not get the cream of the discounted crop?

Sarris would sign Hernandez to a one-year pact for $9 million, while also giving him a $9 million option with a $2 million buyout.

The Indians saved around $14 million after trading Corey Kluber to the Rangers and the Opening Day payroll will be the organization’s lowest in five years.

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The Dolans paid a $124 million bill last season, but their 2020 payroll is projected to $91 million, $33 million less.