A father and son's view on the Indians at the trade deadline
With the trade deadline approaching, there are many opinions and thoughts about what the Indians should do, or not do. Presented below are just two opinions of many, that of my Dad and I, on several topics facing the team right now.
Should the Indians be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline?
Dad: I think that the Indians have to be buyers. They’re just four games out right now, a deficit that they overcame last year. They’ve invested some money in this team, particularly last year, so I don’t think you can give up on being this close to the playoffs. This doesn’t mean they can’t sell. You don’t want to sell young talent or core players, but if they can improve the team by trading pieces like Justin Masterson, Asdrubal Cabrera, or even guys like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, they should do it.
Me: I’d buy and sell. That might be cheating on my own topic, but let me explain. Looking forward, I see the Indians having the same two holes next year that they have right now. They need another reliable starter and they need a right-handed bat with power. Without giving up a guy like Francisco Lindor, if the Indians can find those players who are under control through at least 2015, I think they should be aggressive in making that move. At the same time, I’d like to trade Asdrubal Cabrera and get some value from him. I’d consider trading Masterson as well, though if the team isn’t able to acquire a starter they’ll probably need to hang on to him as I don’t think his value in a trade would be much more than the value of hanging on to him in the hope he can be an asset down the stretch, or even be kept next year on a greatly discounted make-good deal.
If Cabrera and/or Masterson are trade bait, what should we target in return?
Dad: I would take anything that improves the team this year or next year. Masterson has been terrible, and judging by his Triple A performance, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be any better when they bring him back. I feel they need hitting as much as they need pitching, especially right-handed bats. You can’t have things like Corey Kluberpitching a perfect game and the team still loses, especially in a playoff race. This was the same problem last year; the Indians’ offense isn’t consistent enough. If we’re selling these types of players, I’d like to see a right-handed hitting outfielder in return.
Me: I agree completely with the points above. The numbers, would tell you the Indians offense isn’t the problem. If you look deeper and really sift through some of the games they’ve lost, you can see there are underlying issues with the lineup. That’s really the problem when we talk about being buyers or sellers. This team needs a lot. If we’re trading Cabrera and Masterson, I think the return needs to be outfield or starting pitching help, and I doubt either player gets the Indians what they need on the pitching front. The type of guys I would target might not need to be established major leaguers, but players who are at least ready for the majors are preferred. I think back to the under the radar acquisition of Marc Rzepczynski last year at the deadline and hope they might be able to find an outfielder rotting away on someone’s Triple A team that could take Raburn’s role and run with it, even if that’s not necessarily tied to a Cabrera or Masterson trade.
Dad: If I had to pick one today, it would be T.J. House. I know that might make you cringe Michael, but I just have no confidence in Masterson. You can’t have success with the control issues he has. I worry about McAllister’s ability to get deep in games, and he’s been struggling for awhile. House has had a few bad starts lately, but I think he’s performed better all year and he’d be my pick.
Me: I think I’d have to go with Masterson. It’s hard for me to get past ‘talent’ and ‘stuff,’ even when Masterson can’t throw strikes in Columbus. In a given start, I still think it’s more likely that he’s able to navigate through his issues than House and McAllister are able to avoid getting hit hard because of their average stuff. The real issue here is that today, setting free agency aside, one of McAllister or House would seem to be slotted into the 2015 starting rotation. That’s why the need for starting pitching goes deeper than just trying for a playoff spot this season.
What is one idea you have to help the team without a trade?
Dad: I’d entertain stretching out Carlos Carrasco and inserting him back into the rotation if no trades are made. They do need him in the bullpen as he’s been pretty valuable there, so it could hurt in that aspect. Still, there could be some upside there as a starter and I think he could be better than some of the guys they’re pitching now.
Me: I also think it’d be interesting to see if Carrasco could translate his bullpen success and confidence back to the rotation. I didn’t think he was as bad as he was made out to be early in the season. Still, I wouldn’t mind the team starting to give some young players an opportunity. There is quite a bit of talent in Columbus that could have some use. Tyler Holt could be useful in a platoon with Michael Bourn. I think Jesus Aguilar would help against left-handers, with Swisher sliding to right field in place of Raburn. At some point I’d also like to get a look atGiovanny Urshela, who down the road could really impact the team with his defense at third base and right-handed bat. Other than that, try to convince Corey Kluber to start every day. That would help.
Predictions for the Indians at the Trade Deadline
Dad: I don’t see the bat they need out there. The pitchers that are out there, I don’t see them making that big of a trade. If they do anything, I could see it just being some low-level trades to improve starting pitching depth or finding someone cheap to replace Raburn. I do see them trading away Cabrera, which would give Jose Ramireza chance to play, and I’d be fine with that. They may just take a prospect in return for him.
Me: I think they’re going to end up standing pat, or mostly standing pat. As mentioned, I think they should be exploring trades with a long-term focus right now and I’d really like to see that type of move. I just don’t think the market is suitable for a trade right now. Reports are that the market is so barren on pitchers that the Astros have reportedly put Dallas Keuchel (controlled through 2018) and others on the market, just to try to maximize a return with so few others available. There just might not be value in making a trade right now.
As for Masterson, I don't think our return would be very high on damaged player and should let him finish out season in bull pen. Just don't think of trading Chiz now that he is showing his offense and can play first base. If we were able to get Gonzalez and Milone, our line-up become very good. I like having both of our catchers in the line-up since Gomez is become a very good player and Perez can catch pretty well and hit. Replace Swisher in right field with Gonzalez and the line-up start taking shape. Bring up Tyler Naquin as reserve with Michael Aviles there also. Jose has prove to be the speed, bunting man who can play the infield that we have needed