The Indians are still engaged in trade talks to add to their outfield mix, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While a deal is ultimately seen as unlikely, Cleveland appears to be exploring all possible means to upgrade a unit that still has many questions as the season approaches.
As MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote in reviewing the club’s offseason, it was surprising that the organization did not do more to address the outfield — especially after losing Abraham Almonte for eighty games due to suspension. Since that piece was published, of course, the club did pick up Marlon Byrd on a minor league deal and has received positive signs on Michael Brantley’s injury rehab, but it seems that the overall mix remains a concern.
As before, the Indians are weighing the idea of moving pitching for the right player. But Rosenthal says that the club’s top three starters are no longer seriously being discussed. Instead, per the report, rotation options such as Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, Cody Anderson, Michael Clevinger, and just-optioned southpaw T.J. House could be “in play” in trade dialogue.
It isn’t clear precisely what kind of player might be pursued at this point, but Cleveland does have some options on hand. Brantley will be expected to play everyday in left once he’s ready, of course. Rajai Davis, Will Venable, and Shane Robinson all have experience in center, while Byrd, Joey Butler, and Lonnie Chisenhall are also available to man right field. While a relatively minor addition could certainly make sense to improve the platoon mix at those two spots, the club might be more inclined to part with pitching depth to acquire a more-or-less full-time piece — particularly, someone capable of playing up the middle.