The Indians are 5.5 games back in the division and their first series after the All-Star Break could determine if they buy or sell at the deadline.
Earlier this season it seemed inevitable that the Cleveland Indians were going to trade one of their pitchers. The pitchers being Trevor Bauer and Brad Hand. Now that their once double-digit deficit in the division is now down to 5.5 games things are no longer clear. Cleveland is in a position where they have to figure out whether they are buyers or sellers at the deadline. If the team continues to win after the break and make the deficit smaller or even take over the division lead, the decision is easy, buy. If things do not go so well it is time to sell.
Brad Hand will be of interest to any team looking for a reliever, especially a lefty. Hand has been one of the best closers in baseball and is under team control. This combination theoretically could net the Indians quite the haul on the trade market if Cleveland does sell. Although if the team keeps winning it will be best to keep Hand for this season and revisit the trade talks in the offseason.
One player that could be moved either way is Trevor Bauer. Of course this is dependent on a few factors. Whether or not Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber are even remotely close to returning and the performance of their other pitchers (Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac) continues to be at this high of a level. Cleveland could hypothetically move Bauer and receive players who could impact the playoff push if they play their cards right.
According to the Baseball Tonight podcast with Buster Olney, some feel that Bauer’s value will plummet if the team looks to move him after the season rather than during. This is due to Bauer all but guaranteed to have a high salary in arbitration and the potential for two playoff runs. There is also the uncertainty of whether Bauer will re-sign with whatever team he is with after 2020. All of this factors in to what a team will give up for Bauer.
The Indians will not have a lot of time to make these decisions in regards to their roster, but it is important that they make the right decision. The outcome of each individual game will have a tremendous impact on how the front office will handle the trade deadline.