Cleveland Indians – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Tue, 22 Jan 2019 14:14:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 MLBTR Poll: The State Of The Indians Bullpen https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/mlbtr-poll-the-state-of-the-indians-bullpen.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/mlbtr-poll-the-state-of-the-indians-bullpen.html#comments Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:14:38 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=145222 Cody Allen will be closing games for the Los Angeles Angels next season, but the long-time fixture of the Cleveland bullpen may still add some value to the Indians’ 2019 bullpen: as a scout. It was Allen who first brought Jon Edwards to the attention of the Cleveland front office after working out at the same facility as the right-hander, per the Athletic’s Zack Meisel. Edwards, 30, made 9 appearances for the Indians last season after making his way back to the game, missing all of 2017 and almost leaving baseball altogether. Now Edwards is one of the arms that manager Tito Francona will turn to as the Indians’ bullpen tries to make up for the loss of both Allen and Andrew Miller in free agency.

The glass half-full approach might look at the 2.9 WAR totaled by the Indians bullpen in 2018 and say there’s not all that much room to make up. Still, the bullpen unit earned 6.9 WAR in 2017 after fueling the Indians’ World Series run in 2016, and they’ve helped spark an evolution of the bullpen league-wide. It’s an uncertain unit this time around, with Edwards, Adam Cimber, Nick Goody, Dan Otero, Neil Ramirez and Tyler Olson the most established arms set to pitch in front of closer Brad Hand. Former starters Danny Salazar and Cody Anderson may get the Collin McHugh treatment if they can get healthy this season and contribute as McHugh did for the Astros last year. Salazar is a particularly interesting wrinkle as his career 10.51 K/9 could move even higher in shorter stints out of the pen. He was a top-3 pitcher in their rotation before getting injured. Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber may have usurped his spot in the rotation, but Salazar has the opportunity to be an impact arm where Cleveland needs the help most. 

Newly-acquired youngsters Jefry Rodriguez and Chih-Wei Hu have added to the organization’s overall depth, and they’ll compete with veteran castoffs like James Hoyt, Justin Grimm, and A.J. Cole to claim the open spots in Cleveland’s pen. It’s a long season, and just as often as a veteran bullpener falls apart, a new stud develops out of nowhere. There’s a case to be made that the Indians collection of arms is more than enough to put together a dominant bullpen, it’s just unclear which 7-10 names are most likely to be a part of it. The Indians may feel that the risk of paying significant money to tired, veteran arms isn’t any more risky than relying on a large group of high-end hopefuls to develop confidence and dependability in the nine months from when pitchers and catchers report in February to the playoffs in October. There’s high-end potential in the names above, and they have another reason to be optimistic as well: top prospect Triston McKenzie has risen steadily through the system, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the 21-year-old could be ready for an Adam Wainwright/David Price style call up if he continues to succeed in Triple A. 

Francona may cull together a functional group from the arms already in-house, but no matter how you slice it, it’s a far cry from the back-end dependability the AL Central champs have leaned on throughout this current run atop the division. There are other issues at hand for the Indians as well, who are facing a significant amount of roster churn. There’s a leadership void to fill around Francisco Lindor, and it’s unclear at this time who will step up, per Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes. Lindor certainly has the talent to be “the guy” in the clubhouse, but it’s tough for the best on-field producer to also shoulder the load of managing the clubhouse as a lone sheriff. Allen has been a big-time leader in the bullpen, and Rajai Davis a vocal veteran leader who will no longer be with the club as well. They may have more of a fight on their hands for the AL Central crown too, as the Twins added a ton of right-handed power as they look to rebound, and the White Sox rebuild is nearing a crescendo.

Even if they capture their fourth straight division title, the Indians will have a tough time surviving the playoff gauntlet in a top-heavy American League if they don’t get some reliability and shutdown firepower from their bullpen. The Yankees have not been shy about investing heavily in their bullpen for a couple of seasons, and the rest of the league is starting to follow suit, but as of right now, the Indians, as well as some other contenders like the Red Sox and Cubs, are holding steady with the arms they’ve got in-house. In the past it’s been unwise to invest in the bullpen, an area of notoriously fickle year-to-year performance, but the tide has turned and the Indians run the risk of seeming painfully out-of-step. The rotation remains stacked, but given that it only took one year, $8.5MM for LA to lock down Allen, it’s fair to wonder if the Indians are playing a little too fast and loose with their bullpen.

How do you feel about the current state of the Indians pen? (Link for app users).

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Indians Do Not Expect To Trade Jason Kipnis https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/market-notes-machado-white-sox-mystery-team-kipnis-marwin.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/market-notes-machado-white-sox-mystery-team-kipnis-marwin.html#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2019 06:39:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144499
  • The Indians are still dabbling in trade talks, but it doesn’t sound as if the team has much hope of moving Jason Kipnis. According to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer, there was an effort to do so previously. But while an improved second half helped the Cleveland cause, the crowded second base market made it hard to find any traction. The 31-year-old has turned in below-average offensive seasons for two years running, but he’s still a useful player and has a significant established ceiling. The recent showing isn’t enough to justify his $14.5MM salary, particularly with another $2.5MM promised as a buyout on a 2020 option, but the Indians surely feel they can make good use of Kipnis in the season to come. For now, he’s penciled in at second base but his ability to play the outfield could give the Indians some added flexibility as they seek a means of improving their lineup.
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    Padres, Reds, Indians Have Discussed 3-Team Scenario Involving Corey Kluber https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/padres-reds-indians-have-discussed-3-team-scenario-involving-corey-kluber.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/padres-reds-indians-have-discussed-3-team-scenario-involving-corey-kluber.html#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2019 02:11:04 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144621 The Padres, Reds, and Indians have engaged in discussions regarding a possible three-team trade scenario, according to Dennis Lin and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links).

    Precise permutations aren’t known, but the concept at play appears to be one that would send Cleveland ace Corey Kluber to Cincinnati via San Diego. Neither is it clear how serious talks are; Lin does emphasize, though, that no deal is close at present.

    It seems the driving force here is the Friars’ search for a third baseman — and their ongoing attempt to structure a significant deal that improves the MLB roster now without denting the future outlook. Having failed to line up in direct talks to this point, Lin suggests, GM A.J. Preller is attempting to piece together more complicated, three-team arrangements.

    While the Padres have long been said to be seeking quality MLB starting pitching, in addition to a hot corner upgrade, the report makes clear that they aren’t interested in acquiring Kluber for their own purposes. Though the outstanding righty certainly would be the ace the club would like to pick up, his relatively advanced age (33 in April) is a turnoff. And though his contract rights — $52.5MM over the next three years, the latter two via club option — remain quite appealing, it’s still a hefty payroll commitment for a traditionally low-budget org.

    Of course, that same essential description holds also for the Reds, another team that’s hoping to boost its immediate performance while maintaining its long-term vision for a young, sustainable core. The Cincy ballclub has long been said to have interest in Kluber, and may have a slightly different tolerance for the age risk that comes with him.

    Still, it’s no surprise to hear Lin reiterate that the club still isn’t terribly inclined to deal top prospect Nick Senzel to facilitate a deal. Senzel will not be parted with lightly, but indications are that he may ultimately be the object of the Padres’ fascination here. He’d more or less step right in at third base in San Diego and deliver a prized combination of youthful upside and affordable team control.

    That leads to the element of this concept that’s most curious of all. The budget-conscious Indians only embarked upon talks involving Kluber as part of an effort to trim some payroll and better situate their roster for the future — all without sacrificing a still-clear path to another AL Central crown. That entire undertaking makes the most sense if the club adds a player of Senzel’s ilk.

    Senzel would fit perfectly in Cleveland, where he could line up in the infield or outfield. (The Reds, of course, have considered utilizing him on the grass due to their own bumper crop of quality infielders.) Presumably, the Reds and Indians have already explored a Senzel-for-Kluber deal directly and failed to find common ground. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why the intermediary would be needed at all.

    If not Senzel, then what would the Indians want out of all this? There’d surely be some level of interest in some of the Padres’ young MLB assets, with outfielder Manuel Margot and catcher Austin Hedges looking to be hypothetical fits from an outside perspective. (Interestingly, those teams lined up last summer on a deal that sent Francisco Mejia — another theoretical match — to San Diego.) But it stands to reason that the Indians would no doubt also demand some top-end young talent to drive the deal. The San Diego farm is loaded, but its very best pieces (Fernando Tatis Jr., especially) may not be on offer.

    All said, it’s possible to imagine some permutations that might make sense for all involved, depending upon how the teams value the various potential pieces. But it’s an awfully tricky match. All three clubs are quite payroll sensitive. Of them, the Indians are clearly in the best position to win now, yet they’d be giving up the win-now piece. If there’s real substance to these discussions, or better still an eventual transaction, it’ll certainly represent a fascinating potential case study for understanding contemporary baseball decisionmaking.

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    Latest On Bradley Zimmer https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/central-notes-machado-cardinals-reds-zimmer.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/central-notes-machado-cardinals-reds-zimmer.html#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2019 01:52:44 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144331
  • Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer is hoping to beat his recovery timetable as he rehabs from shoulder surgery, telling MLB.com’s Mandy Bell and other reporters that “I feel like I’ll be ready for Spring Training.”  Zimmer was slated for an eight-to-twelve month absence from baseball activities after undergoing labrum surgery last July, so he feels he is making good progress, while acknowledging that “the timetable is not really in my hands, as far as my progression.”  Still, it seems to be a good sign that the former top prospect is looking to hit the field sooner rather than later, especially since the Tribe is sore need of outfield help.  Zimmer has just a .237/.300/.370 slash line over 446 PA in the big leagues, though he has already displayed some quality baserunning and slick glovework in his brief time at the MLB level.
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    NL Notes: Kluber, Padres, Dodgers, Harper, Nats, Cubs, Boras/Phils https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/nl-notes-kluber-padres-dodgers-harper-nats-cubs-borasphils.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/nl-notes-kluber-padres-dodgers-harper-nats-cubs-borasphils.html#comments Sat, 12 Jan 2019 21:24:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144239 The Padres persist in their dogged pursuit of Indians ace Corey Kluber, per MLB.com’s JP Morosi, who notes that the club would prefer to hold on to each of its top five prospects. The Tribe reportedly “have interest” in lefty Adrian Morejon, who, despite his status as a consensus top 50-75 prospect, wouldn’t fall into the aforementioned category in a loaded Padre farm. Still, it’s tough to see a deal consummated without one of those players; Cleveland, after all, has been widely reported to be seeking a Chris Sale-esque return for Kluber, and wouldn’t likely settle for even high-grade chaff. If the club is still interested in dealing the 32-year-old ace, the Padres would be seem a perfect fit: the club is loaded not only with blue-chip prospects, but also sport a glut of young, if underperforming, outfielders at every position. Morosi lists Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe as options, though the Tribe may also have its eyes on Franmil Reyes and Franchy Cordero, in addition to the richly-paid Wil Myers.

    More from the Senior Circuit …

    • In the same article, Morosi reports that the Dodgers still “remain involved” in discussions for Kluber. The club certainly boasts its share of high-level farm talent – though it can’t match the San Diego riches – but thus far, under the tenure of Baseball Ops President Andrew Friedman, has been altogether opposed to dealing from the top of its farm. Multiple high-level departures would be an unequivocal sea change for the boys in blue, who may be feeling the pressure from a desperate fanbase after so many near-misses in the recent past. Adding Kluber to the top of the team’s rotation without a 25-man prune has to be tempting for even the most measured of front offices, but the slotted five (Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, and Rich Hill) already rival any in the game.
    • Though many executives questioned the veracity of the Nationals’ reported 10-year, $300MM offer to Bryce Harper on the last day of the season, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the offer was “indeed real,” and that the two sides continue to negotiate. Harper, it seems, would very much like to surpass the $325MM guaranteed to Giancarlo Stanton, though doesn’t appear to have the wind-ranging market he once envisioned. Some interested teams continue to disguise their intentions, but not the Cubs, who Rosenthal notes “would love” a shot at Harper, if only the front office could get the “unlikely” go-ahead from ownership.
    • Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia details the Fightins’ unique relationship with agent Scott Boras over the years, which reached a tipping point over 1997’s bitter dispute with number two overall pick J.D. Drew. The Phillies, of course, are set to meet with Harper today in Las Vegas, and have long been considered the near-favorite for his services. Per Salisbury, the club plans to address recent reports that the 26-year-old star is not fond of Philadelphia, which would seem to strike a death knell to the team’s chances. Among all potential suitors with near-term competitive ambitions, the Phils have the greatest need – and, perhaps, the most available cash – for Harper, and perhaps the team’s recent amenability with Boras could tip the scales in its direction.
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    Unresolved 2019 Arbitration Cases https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/unresolved-2019-arbtration-cases.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/unresolved-2019-arbtration-cases.html#comments Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:15:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144177 Yesterday’s arbitration deadline wasn’t a firm date for agreeing to terms. Rather, it was the end of the period to negotiate before submitting numbers for possible hearings. Negotiations can continue thereafter, but teams and players will now have to defend their submission numbers if they can’t bridge the gap before a hearing. Baseball arb panels simply pick one side’s number; that aspect of the process is designed to force the parties to the bargaining table.

    [RELATED: MLBTR Arbitration Projections; MLBTR Arbitration Tracker]

    Here’s what we know thus far about the still-unresolved cases:

    Today’s Updates

    • The Yankees have yet to come to a deal with ace starter Luis Severino, and they may be heading to arbitration. The Yanks have submitted their bid at $4.4MM, while Severino has asked for $5.25MM, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Tommy Pham and the Rays have submitted their numbers for arbitration, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). Pham filed at $4.1MM while the Rays submitted a bid of $3.5MM. Pham has had no problem expressing his honest opinion about the Rays fanbase of late, and it will be interesting to see if he gets an equal portion of honest feedback in return in his arbitration hearing.
    • The Oakland A’s and their closer Blake Treinen have both submitted their numbers, with the team coming in at $5.6MM while Treinen files for $6.4MM, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). It’s not a shock to see these sides far apart, given Treinen’s remarkable 2018 and how far above his usual standard of production last season’s numbers fell.
    • Washington Nationals filed at $1.725MM for newcomer Kyle Barraclough, who counters at $2MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). The former Marlin was acquired in an uncommonly early offseason trade that sent international bonus pool money the Marlins’ way.
    • The Diamondbacks have only one player they did not reach an agreement with, lefty reliever T.J. McFarland. The Dbacks submitted a bid of $1.275MM, while McFarland is asking for $1.675MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Alex Wood submitted $9.65MM for his 2019 salary, while his new club the Cincinnati Reds countered at $8.7MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Wood will be a free agent at season’s end.
    • The Detroit Tigers reached agreements with all of their arbitration eligible players except for right-handed starter Michael Fulmer. Fulmer comes in at $3.4MM with the team countering at $2.8MM, the difference being 600K, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
    • Ryan Tepera has filed for $1.8MM while the Blue Jays submitted their bid at $1.525MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Tepera has been a reliable bullpen arm for the Jays through his first four seasons. He has two more seasons of arbitration remaining, set to reach free agency in advance of the 2022 season.
    • Reserve outfielder Michael A. Taylor and the Washington Nationals are a 250K apart, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Seems like a rather small sum to quibble over in the grand scheme of things, but every cent counts right now in Washington, it seems. Taylor submitted a bid of $3.5MM, with the Nats countering at $3.25MM.

    Earlier Updates

    • Rockies star Nolan Arenado is headed for a record arb salary, unsurprisingly. The question is by how much. He has filed at a whopping $30MM, with the club countering at $24MM, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Even the lower figure would represent a record. It doesn’t seem as if the sides will go to a high-stakes hearing on this one; Jeff Passan of ESPN.com tweets that the odds are good they’ll find common ground. MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz projected Arenado to earn $26.1MM, though he also explained that it’s not hard to see that number swaying in either direction based upon a close examination of the (few relevant) comps.
    • Despite a monster 2018 season, Phillies righty Aaron Nola isn’t seeking to set a record first-year arb starter salary. (That belongs to Dallas Keuchel, at $7.25MM, when he was coming off of a Cy Young season.) Nola did file at a hefty $6.75MM, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (via Twitter), while the club entered just $4.5MM. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. The Keuchel salary represented a sea change for young starters, but few others have tested the process since. MLBTR’s projection system spit out a $6.6MM figure for Nola.
    • Righty Gerrit Cole filed at $13.5MM, while the Astros countered at $11.425MM, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Teammates Carlos Correa and Chris Devenski have also yet to agree to terms. MLBTR projected Cole to earn $13.1MM in his final arb season, Correa to check in at $5.1MM in his first arb year, and Devenski to take home $1.4MM his first time through the process.
    • Indians righty Trevor Bauer is seeking a $13MM payday, while the club will argue instead for $11MM, per Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter). The Cleveland org has long utilized a file-and-trial approach on a case-by-case basis. It’s not totally clear whether that’ll be the approach here, but as Hoynes notes, the sides did go to a hearing already last year. (Bauer won.) MLBTR projected a $11.6MM payday; Swartz also explained why he thought the model was likely in the right ballpark for Bauer in a detailed post.
    • Passan provides a list of other players who have yet to agree to terms and who could therefore still end up before a panel. There are fifteen in total, including those already noted above as well as Kyle Barraclough and Michael Taylor (Nationals), Michael Fulmer (Tigers), T.J. McFarland (Diamondbacks), Tommy Pham (Rays), Luis Severino (Yankees), Ryan Tepera (Blue Jays), Blake Treinen (Athletics), and Alex Wood (Reds).
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    Indians Claim A.J. Cole https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-claim-a-j-cole.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-claim-a-j-cole.html#comments Fri, 11 Jan 2019 22:49:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144152 The Indians have claimed righty A.J. Cole off waivers from the Yankees, per club announcements. Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage first tweeted the news.

    Cole, who recently turned 27, had failed to catch on with the Nationals before landing with the Yanks last year. He carved out a role in the New York bullpen, where he worked to a 4.26 ERA in 38 innings over 28 appearances. The out-of-options hurler could function as a long man for a Cleveland org that is looking for ways to improve on the cheap.

    There were certainly some positives last year, as Cole worked off of a mid-nineties fastball and logged 11.6 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 with the Yankees. He continued to struggle with the long ball, though, and has allowed nearly two per nine innings during his 148 career innings in the majors.

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    Indians Avoid Arbitration With Francisco Lindor https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-avoid-arbitration-with-francisco-lindor.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-avoid-arbitration-with-francisco-lindor.html#comments Fri, 11 Jan 2019 22:42:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=144150 The Indians have agreed to a 2019 salary with star shortstop Francisco Lindor, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports (Twitter links). It’s a $10.55MM deal, checking in just shy of the first-year arb-eligible record set last year by Kris Bryant at $10.85MM.

    Lindor had projected to earn $10.2MM after a stellar three-plus season run to open his career in Cleveland. He’ll remain controllable for two more campaigns before reaching free agent eligibility after the end of the 2021 season.

    The switch-hitting Lindor, who only just turned 25 years of age, just turned in his best season at the plate, leading the American League in plate appearances and runs while launching a career-high 38 long balls and 25 stolen bases. He slashed a robust .277/.352/.519 on the year while providing top-end glovework making him one of the most valuable players in all of baseball.

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    Latest On Indians' Remaining Offseason Plans https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/braves-trade-rumors-nicholas-castellanos-jt-realmuto-tigers-marlins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/braves-trade-rumors-nicholas-castellanos-jt-realmuto-tigers-marlins.html#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 03:15:16 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=143401
  • Another would-be blockbuster situation that may now be fizzling is the Indians’ oft-discussed negotiations on top starters Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer discusses the situation, suggesting it may be time for the Cleveland organization to ask for final offers and otherwise move on from the marketing process. Of course, it’s far from clear that the team is taking that stance. And as Hoynes goes on to discuss, it’s also still not apparent how (or even if) the Indians will go about improving a roster that looks quite a bit different than it did just a few months ago. It’s still possible that Cleveland could add an outfielder from the free-agent market, but there’s no indication that they’re in line to make a significant splash on that front.
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    Indians Avoid Arbitration With Kevin Plawecki https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-avoid-arbitration-with-kevin-plawecki.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-avoid-arbitration-with-kevin-plawecki.html#comments Wed, 09 Jan 2019 18:40:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=143398 The Indians have agreed to a $1,137,500 deal with recently acquired backstop Kevin Plawecki, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). He had been projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn $1.3MM.

    Plawecki, 27, reached arb eligibility this year as a Super Two player. That means he’ll still be controllable for three more campaigns to come by the Cleveland organization.

    The recent swap that delivered Plawecki to the Indians was designed to fill the void created when the club shipped out Yan Gomes at the outset of the offseason. In the aggregate, the team will save just under $6MM in its catching unit, which also features Roberto Perez and Eric Haase.

    Plawecki is something of an offensive-oriented backstop, though he’s hardly a world-beating hitter. Since the start of the 2017 season, he has hit at a roughly league-average .225/.330/.379 rate. Defensively, he grades well at blocking pitches in the dirt but isn’t much loved by pitch-framing metrics.

    Despite his limitations on the field, the one-time top prospect seems to be a nice value at his current price tag, which explains why he was targeted by the budget-conscious Indians. His earning power over the following three seasons will be driven by his playing time and performance, of course, so the Cleveland club will enjoy ample flexibility in the years to come.

    As always, you can keep up to date with arbitration numbers with MLBTR’s Arbitration Database.

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    Indians Add Hector Hernandez On Minor League Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/minor-mlb-transactions-1819.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/minor-mlb-transactions-1819.html#comments Wed, 09 Jan 2019 01:35:20 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=143079
  • The Indians have added southpaw Hector Hernandez on a minors pact, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Soon to turn 28, Hernandez is another former tenth-round draft choice who hasn’t yet appeared at the MLB level. Indeed, he only briefly touched Triple-A before dropping out of affiliated ball following the 2016 season. Still, it seems he caught someone’s eye with his winter efforts in his native Puerto Rico.
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    Indians Notes: Kluber, Bauer, Antonetti, Plawecki https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-notes-kluber-bauer-antonetti-plawecki.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-notes-kluber-bauer-antonetti-plawecki.html#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2019 00:08:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142831 On this day in 1920, Indians pitching legend Early Wynn was born in Hartford, Alabama.  Wynn spent ten of his 23 Major League seasons with the Tribe, a stint that saw him rack up 164 of his 300 career wins in an Indians uniform and led to Wynn wearing a Cleveland hat on his Hall Of Fame plaque.

    The latest from the modern-day team…

    • The Indians haven’t dropped their asking price on either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi writes, as the Tribe is still looking for “Chris Sale-level return” for either starter.  As a refresher of Sale’s move from the White Sox to the Red Sox in December 2016, Chicago landed arguably baseball’s best prospect (Yoan Moncada), another blue-chip pitching prospect (Michael Kopech) and two other solid minor leaguers (outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and hard-throwing righty Victor Diaz).  Sale came with three years of team control, in the form of one guaranteed contract year and two option years that the Red Sox have since exercised at very reasonable prices, given Sale’s ace-level production.  Kluber’s contract is also only guaranteed through 2019 with two club option years, though Kluber is also five years older than Sale.  Bauer is only slightly older than Sale was at the time of the trade, though Bauer is only controlled via arbitration for two more years.  Despite the differences between Sale and Kluber/Bauer, Cleveland’s trade ask isn’t unreasonable, though it’s hefty enough that there hasn’t appeared to be much movement towards a deal (if the Tribe trades either pitcher at all).  “There are no signs of recent progress” between the Indians and the Dodgers, who have been often linked to Kluber and Bauer in trade rumblings this winter.
    • If Kluber or Bauer are moved, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes a trade could happen later in the offseason, after free agent arms like Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, and Derek Holland come off the board.  “I don’t believe the Indians will enter Spring Training without having made one more big move,” Pluto writes, arguing that the team still needs significant lineup help, particularly in the outfield.
    • The Tribe did check one notable item off its list today by acquiring catcher Kevin Plawecki from the Mets.  Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti discussed the trade with MLB.com’s Mandy Bell and other reporters, saying that the playing time split between Plawecki and Roberto Perez likely wouldn’t be determined until Spring Training, though Antonetti feels Perez would likely get the majority of at-bats and youngster Eric Haase will still be in the mix.  “We felt this was an opportunity to acquire another Major League catcher that could help absorb some of the burden in losing Yan [Gomes],” Antonetti said.  He also hinted at more potential deals in the coming weeks, noting “conversations throughout the league have intensified” since the start of January.
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    Indians Acquire Kevin Plawecki https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-acquire-kevin-plawecki.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-acquire-kevin-plawecki.html#comments Sun, 06 Jan 2019 19:49:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142812 The Indians have acquired catcher Kevin Plawecki from the Mets for right-hander Walker Lockett and infielder Sam Haggerty, Cleveland announced.

    This is the second trade of the day for the Mets, who previously acquired infielder/outfielder J.D. Davis in a five-player swap with the Astros. Plawecki became expendable to the Mets when they signed Wilson Ramos in free agency last month, and Sunday’s trade leaves them with three catchers – Ramos, Travis d’Arnaud and Tomas Nido – on their 40-man roster.

    The Indians entered Sunday in need of reinforcements behind the plate, as they traded Yan Gomes to the Nationals in November. The subtraction of Gomes left the Indians with Roberto Perez and Eric Haase as the only catchers on their 40-man roster. Perez was a dreadful offensive player in 2018, though, while Haase has totaled a meager 17 major league plate appearances.

    A former top-1o0 prospect, the 27-year-old Plawecki debuted in 2016. He has been a respectable hitter since 2017, having batted .225/.330/.379 (97 wRC+) with 10 home runs in 395 PAs. But Plawecki hasn’t been as useful on the defensive end, as Baseball Prospectus ranked him near the bottom of the majors in 2018, when he threw out 23 percent of would-be base stealers (28 percent was the league-average mark).

    The 24-year-old Lockett had a short stint with the Indians, who acquired him in a November trade with the Padres. A fourth-round pick of the Padres in 2012, Lockett debuted in the majors last year, though the results weren’t pretty. Lockett pitched to a 9.60 ERA in 15 innings in San Diego, but he has been better at the Triple-A level, where he has put up a 4.60 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 over 206 2/3 frames. Haggerty, also 24, joined the Indians as a 24th-round pick in 2015. He has since hit .244/.349/.373 in 1,341 minor league PAs.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Latest On Salazar, Goody https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/al-central-notes-salazar-goody-avisail-castro.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/al-central-notes-salazar-goody-avisail-castro.html#comments Sat, 05 Jan 2019 00:33:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142598
  • Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters (including Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga) that Danny Salazar is “not going to be on pace where…we know when he comes to Spring Training, he’s not going to be competing to make our club.”  Salazar missed all of 2018 dealing with shoulder problems, and underwent arthroscopic surgery to address the issue in early July.  Francona didn’t entirely rule out the possibility of Salazar returning to the Tribe’s roster relatively early in the season, though the team certainly won’t rush the right-hander: “To force it with somebody doesn’t make a lot of sense.”  Salazar and the Tribe agreed to an arbitration-avoiding $4.5MM salary for the 2019 season amidst some speculation that Cleveland could non-tender Salazar, though obviously the team still feels he is worth the risk as he continues to progress in his rehab.  Francona had better news about Nick Goody, saying the right-hander is “on target to be with everybody else” in camp following a 2018 season that saw Goody pitch only 11 2/3 innings while battling elbow problems.
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    Indians Sign Justin Grimm To Minor League Contract https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-sign-justin-grimm-minors.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/indians-sign-justin-grimm-minors.html#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2019 19:33:48 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=142389 The Indians announced Thursday that they’ve signed right-hander Justin Grimm to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Grimm is represented by the Bledsoe Agency.

    The 30-year-old Grimm split the 2018 season between the Royals and Mariners but struggled through the worst season of his career. The former Cubs reliever was clobbered for a combined 20 runs in 17 1/3 innings and walked more hitters (14) than he struck out (11).

    Grimm did improve upon landing in Seattle, allowing just one run in 4 2/3 innings as a Mariner. It’s been awhile since Grimm enjoyed success at the MLB level, but he was excellent back in 2015 when he tossed 49 2/3 innings of 1.99 ERA ball with 12.1 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9. Control has long been an issue for the righty, but he’s also consistently demonstrated an ability to miss bats both in the upper minors and at the Major League level.

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