The Indians are in need of some stability in center field. So far Jordan Luplow, Ben Gamel and Amed Rosario have all split time there. None of the three men have had much consistency at the plate either, in part due to how often they’re in and out of the lineup. Clearly this was an issue the team knew about, and yet here we are. This situation is being made worse each and every day due to the fact the Indians let Tyler Naquin walk to close out 2020.
Generally speaking, I’m fine with the organization not wanting to pay Trevor Bauer or Francisco Lindor $30+ million a year. No one baseball player, especially two streaky ones like Bauer and Lindor, is worth that kind of money. We’re a small-market team and that means we need to make big decesions about money. This has been the case for decades.
I’m honestly fine with it but Naquin wasn’t let go because he cost to much. Naquin was never valued by the organization like he should’ve been. Despite being a career .275 hitter, and having 36% of his hits being for extra bases, the Indians and Terry Francona never valued Naquin properly.
In his rookie season he hit .296, with 14 home runs and 43 RBI’s while finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He played just 19 games in 2017 with the major league club, despite spending most of his year in Triple A hitting .298.
For whatever reason, as great as a manger as Terry Francona is, he never valued Naquin as an every day player.
So for pennies on the dollar, Naquin has decided to turn it up for the Cinncinnati Reds. He’s currently among the leaders in the Majors in batting average, home runs and RBI’s. Now, the odds that Naquin finishes the season at the rate he’s at is a big ask for the guy. He’s probably 20-25 home run guy, and he’s on pace to hit over 100. So we’re keeping things in prospective.
Yet, even with that said, Naquin would’ve filled a hole in center, and allowed the Indians to not spend money on Gamel. Keep that in mind, the Indians let Naquin walk, and signed Gamel to the *very same contract*.
It cannot be expressed enough that the Indians didn’t let Naquin go for salary reasons, they simply thought there were better options.
A decesion that could have lasting consqeuences.