The Cleveland Indians are rumored to be looking at trade to bolster the outfield ahead of Spring Training, as the position group remains a big question mark.
The Cleveland Indians are rumored to be searching for an outfielder, and if it happens, it’s likely to come via trade.
Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto recently wrote that the Tribe wasn’t all that invested in bringing back Yasiel Puig, who’s still available on the free agent market. Puig brought some energy to the team after being acquired before the trade deadline, but he left his power in Cincinnati.
He was basically slightly better than average at the plate, and the Tribe knows it. There’s an argument to bring Puig back though, simply because he seems better than the conglomeration of fourth outfielders the Tribe is ready to send out onto the grass on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
The Tribe’s already made its big splash on the free-agent market, signing Cesar Hernandez to a $6 million contract, so finding a trade partner is much more likely.
Pluto added that trading for an outfield doesn’t necessarily mean the Tribe is searching for a mega-deal. Never say never, but it looks like the Indians won’t trade Francisco Lindor before the start of the season, but a lower-level move to bring in someone is on the table.
The outfield continues to be a list of “What ifs” heading into 2020. What if Franmil Reyes can play right? Having cost the Padres 12 runs a season ago, according to the DRS stat, that seems unlikely. What if it turns out Jordan Luplow can hit pitchers from both sides. These aren’t things you want to bank your season on, especially with Minnesota and the White Sox ramping up.
Unless the Tribe does something, they’ll head into 2020 with a WAR projection that ranks 25th in the big leagues. Teams projected to be worse than the Tribe include the Rockies, Royals, Marlins and Tigers. Collectively, those clubs lost 498 games, so yeah–not company you’d like to keep.
We’ll see if the front office can salvage something, because for the second straight season, outfield continues to be one of the biggest question marks in terms of position groups.