With the trade deadline rapidly approaching and the Cleveland Baseball Club pretty far out from contention, how should they handle the next few days?
At this current moment in time the Cleveland Baseball Club is nearly 10 games back of the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox and there are three teams in between ahead of them in the race for the second Wild Card. Considering their current spot in the standings and the fact they are still missing the majority of their pitching staff, it is time to consider selling at the trade deadline. Cleveland needs to reset their roster, get some answers on their younger players, and get ready for next season.
As far as trade candidates go, anyone not named Shane Bieber should be discussed. That does mean that exploring a trade involving Jose Ramirez should be on the table, but considering the high price they will be asking for it is unlikely to happen. However, if a team is desperate enough and offers a king’s ransom for Ramirez, those expirations better turn into serious considerations.
Another player that should fall into this category is James Karinchak. Cleveland has no reason to trade Karinchak, but if a team is looking to solidify their bullpen and offers a worthwhile package, they would be fools not to consider. Add in the fact of the volatility with relievers in general and the fact the team add more talent into their system, it is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Players that could/should be moved
Finally, the section everyone has been waiting for. Who could the team actually move? For starters Cesar Hernandez seems like a no-brainer. Hernandez has a team-option for next season and currently has a career-high 17 home runs on the year. Any contender would love to add someone who can hit from both sides of the plate and extend their lineup just a bit more.
If any team actually comes to the table and offers anything for Eddie Rosario they should take it. Rosario has been a disappointment in Cleveland this season and if they can flip him or anything they should take advantage of that opportunity.
Bryan Shaw is another name that could be on the move. Contenders are always looking for relief help and Shaw is in the middle of a renaissance season after three unsuccessful seasons elsewhere. Shaw’s 2021 ERA of 2.84 is the best since the 2014 season while his 1.331 WHIP has not been bested since his last season in Cleveland (1.213 in 2017).
Bargain options for contenders
Much like what their approach to Eddie Rosario should be, they should apply that same logic to Bradley Zimmer. If a team is looking for someone to be a pinch runner late in games, Zimmer is their guy. From Cleveland’s perspective they need to clear some room in the outfield to get better looks at other options in their system.
Blake Parker is another relief arm that could be on the move. Parker has been steady in his limited role this season (2.70 ERA and 1.260 WHIP in 16.2 innings). Even if Parker is a moderate upgrade over lower end relievers, teams should be interested in some capacity.
Cleveland should explore trading one of their catchers. Roberto Perez is making $5.5 million this season with a team option worth $7 million for next year while Austin Hedges is making just under $3.3 million and is entering his final year of arbitration next season. Considering the offensive limitations of both players and the dollar figures the team is spending in this area, moving one of these salaries prior to the deadline should be considered. Hedges has four home runs and 14 RBI in 49 games with a .159/.204/.245 slash line while Perez has six home runs and 15 RBI in 30 games with an uninspiring .153/.272/.357 slash line. To be blunt, the catcher position has been a black hole this season and that is being nice. Moving on and trying to find someone else to man the position beyond this season should be an option for the front office.