What players could they target in the merchant market as the Cleveland Indians prepare for the postseason?
CLEVELAND – Editor’s Note: The video in the player above is from an earlier story.
The Cleveland Indians are entering the three-game series this weekend, with the Seattle Mariners claiming a 32-27 record and currently 4.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox in American League Central and 1.5 games behind the Houston Astros for second place in the AL lie wildcard spot.
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With that in mind, let’s take a look at five players the Indians could target in the trade market to boost their push for the playoffs.
Joey Gallo, OF, Texas Rangers
Cleveland has long needed field help and 2021 was no exception. Up to this point, free agent signatory Eddie Rosario wasn’t exactly overwhelming, while Josh Naylor’s best long-term position is possibly the best.
While there are likely to be many attractive outfielders in the trading market, the realities of the Indian payroll is likely to limit their options. Joey Gallo made $ 6.2 million that season and could prove to be affordable (.210 batting average, .774 OPS, 11 homers, 27 RBIs) while his one year remaining arbitration could give Cleveland a potential advantage in the to be turned around next off-season.
Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle Mariners
Like Gallo, Mitch Haniger is a former all-star currently earning an affordable salary ($ 3.01 million) with only one year of arbitration remaining on a team that appears to have emerged from the playoffs. After the right-hander Haniger missed the entire 2020 season due to injury, he appeared in 61 games this season, which corresponds to an average of 0.258 (0.830 OPS), 16 home runs and 40 RBIs.
Adam Frazier, 2B / OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Cesar Hernandez has started second base this season with the exception of one game for Cleveland, but his production on the record has declined from an average of 0.283 in 2020 to 0.220 in 2021. Adam Frazier currently hits 0.329 (.862 OPS) and leads the majors in doubles (22) and hits (79).
The left-handed hitting Frazier could either spell or contract with Hernandez, or help strengthen the outfield of these Indians. His $ 4.3 million salary should prove affordable this season, with his remaining year as an arbitrator giving Cleveland flexibility in the off-season.
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Miami Marlins
The era of Jake Bauer in Cleveland is over and while Bobby Bradley is off to a strong start, the Indians could improve their left-handed pitching options. 30-year-old Jesús Aguilar is one of the older names on this list, but his performance on the record – hitting 0.269 (0.814 OPS) with 12 home runs and the top 47 RBIs in the National League this season – would be a welcome addition Cleveland lineup.
CJ Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies
While the other four players on this list each have a year left in arbitration, CJ Cron would be a strict loaner since he signed a minor league deal with Colorado before the start of the 2021 season. Like Aguilar, 31-year-old Cron – who beats .255 (0.774 OPS) with five homers and 14 RBIs this season – is a seasoned right-hander who currently lacks the ability to make the Indian lineup dynamic.