The Indians are among the teams that have reached out to the Rays with interest in infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Cleveland is reportedly also considering Eduardo Nunez of the Twins, so it seems evident that the club has interest in a solid hitter with some defensive versatility.
From an outsider perspective, third base and the corner outfield appear to be two potential areas of concern for a high-performing Indians club. Either of these players could conceivably function in those spots, though they carry rather different profiles.
Pearce, 33, is a pending free agent and is owed just $4.75MM this year. He has had trouble staying healthy, but is putting up a ridiculous .313/.386/.530 batting line over his 223 plate appearances. Interestingly, Pearce has seen action at third this year, but only on two occasions — marking only the second season in his career in which he has spent any time at all on the hot corner. He moved into the eighth spot on MLBTR’s latest listing of the top trade candidates, based on his hot bat and expiring contract.
There’s no question whether Nunez can handle third, as he plays primarily there and at shortstop. He has been a solidly above-average hitter since the beginning of 2015, though certainly doesn’t possess the kind of upside that Pearce does at the plate. Nunez is also a threat to steal — he owns a career-high 26 swipes this year — though he doesn’t generate enormous value on the bases overall per Fangraphs’ BsR rating. Additionally, he’s cheaper and can be controlled for another season via arbitration.
The Indians, it would seem, are exploring a number of targets in advance of Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. They’ve been linked to the likes of Jay Bruce in recent weeks and earlier tonight were once again connected to Jonathan Lucroy (and lefty reliever Will Smith) of the Brewers. It shouldn’t come as a great surprise to see Cleveland linked to a wide array of bats, as the team boasts one of the best rotations in all of baseball but has seen dismal production at both catcher and third base this season. The club’s outfield unit has been surprisingly productive despite the fact that Michael Brantley, arguably Cleveland’s best overall player, has appeared in just 11 games in 2016 as he battles a troublesome shoulder injury. However, acquiring a corner outfielder would allow Cleveland to shift the versatile Jose Ramirez to third base, giving president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and GM Mike Chernoff plenty of flexibility when attempting to bolster the offense.
The Indians should look to trade for both Pearce and Xavier Cedeno together. He would take care of their LHRP need and has 3.5 years of control remaining. His numbers have been very similar to Will Smith the last two seasons and would probably be cheaper to acquire and he hasn’t started arbitration yet either.. Below are their numbers since the start of 2015.
Cedeno: 2.91 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 3.22 xFIP and 51.6% GB%
W. Smith: 2.94 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 3.15 xFIP and 42.3% GB%
I agree with this. A few other Indians fans in another forum have brought this up as well. I would like to think that Cedeno will be cheaper than Smith, but with the demand for RP’s, I wonder if that is really the case. Are there reasonable Rays fans here that want to chime with what they believe they would be looking for in a deal involving both Cedeno and Pearce?
I’ll take Kluber….:D
It’s a little tough to predict trade value for pitchers right now with how highly valued they’ve been in the market over the past year. I would think something like Pearce and Cedeno for McKenzie, Gonzalez, Allen and Heller could get it done. Maybe have the Indians throw in another prospect in the back half of their top 30. I would be asking for Mejia and McKenzie as the headliners to see how far the Indians would go though.
I don’t know how apt that Rays would be to deal away one of the few good bullpen arms they have when part of their issue this year is the bullpen.
Should happen tonight but what would Rays want back?
How about Nellie Rodriguez their number 18 prospect a right handed first baseman currently at AA.
Pearce straight up for Nellie? Thats probably fair, but I actually think the Rays could do better. Nellie is Jesus Aguilar 2.0 to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays tried to ask for someone like Greg Allen. Not sure I would pull the trigger on that though as an Indians fan.
I’d imagine theyd go after someone like Mejia or Allen + for Peace & Cedeno
It would take more than Allen or Rodriguez for Pearce. Allen profiles as a 4th OF and Rodriguez as a platoon RH first baseman and neither have much value. Pearce is a rental but he has a 148 OPS+ and positional flexibility. He would be the second best hitter on the team and is someone who will contribute down the stretch and in the playoffs this year. There is more value in that than a back up who is 2-3 seasons away. Think more like an org top 10 prospect as the main piece rather than one in the 20-30 range.
No way the Rays get an origination top 10 prospect for Pearse. You’d be lucky to get a guy in the 15-20 range and from the sounds if it, it will be a guy playing in A ball for Pearse.
Why is that? Pearce is hitting .312/.384/.528 with a 147 wRC+ and has MLB experience at 1B, 2B, 3B, RF and LF. For a comparison of a rental RH power bat, at last year’s deadline Cespedes, .293/.323/.506 with a 123 wRC+, returned a top 50 MLB ready pitching prospect and another pitcher ranked in an org 20-30 prospect.
I hardly think it’s outrageous to expect a contender to give up their 9th and 30th ranked prospects. Especially considering that their 9th ranked prospect is in low A and 3-4 years away from MLB and the 30th ranked prospect is a MiLB reliever.
Rays are pretty flush with 1B guys in Gillaspie, Shaffer, and Bauers. No need to add there. better off just holding onto Pearce and resigning him. I imagine the Rays are looking for arms in any trade including ones involving the bigger names.
Cedeno and Pearce for Sheffield, Mejia and Greg Allen.
Pearce would be a decent pickup, but I’m more interested (as an Indians fan) in Alex Colome. I’d probably be willing to offer as much as Bobby Bradley for Colome straight up.
Overall, I’d like the Indians to stay out of the Andrew Miller and Lucroy sweepstakes and do something like this:
Bradley –> TB for Colome
Erik Gonzalez –> OAK for Danny Valencia
Justus Sheffield and Yandy Diaz –> NYY for Beltran
Shawn Morimondo and Greg Allen –> COL for Boone Logan
Not sure if that last one is an underpay, but I think it’s a reasonable return for COL to depart with 2 months of Logan.
Problem with the suggestion of those 4 trades is 4 MLBers coming back so then you need to dump/waive 4 off the current roster. Who? And you still have a hole at C. I would really like to add Beltran, but those are 2 hot prospects for a rental – I think NYY would be all over that one.
Good points, but the 4 roster moves are easy calls IMO. The 4 new players would displace Almonte, Gonzalez, Crockett and Adams. I think all those guys have options left, and in my scenario Gonzalez is getting traded anyway.
I’m not too worried about the hole at C if I bolster the rest of my lineup. And I actually like Perez–good defensive catcher and puts in good AB’s. Plus Gomes could still come back before the playoffs.
The move for Beltran does feel like a lot to give up, but Sheffield and Diaz are guys I think we can afford to move. Would love to get Beltran for less though. I’m just guessing at the cost. Think Sheffield straight up gets it done?
Yes. I’d love to see them dump Almonte regardless off any trade.