July 13, 2012

2012 Trade Deadline – Cleveland Indians

Fair warning, today’s article is going to get into more detail than some of you are used to and it doesn’t have much to do with Fantasy Baseball.  That said, I obviously follow the Indians closely and the general consensus from the fan base is that the Tribe needs to make a move (or two or three) prior to the July 31st MLB trade deadline.  The problem is, I’ve seen few (if any) people try to provide much detail on who would be a good fit and more importantly what the front office might be able to dangle in potential negotiations. 

So, first I will look at where the Indians as a whole rank among the other teams in Major League Baseball in terms of offensive production and overall pitching statistics.  Then I will try to identify some players who could be available that would help in those specific areas.  Finally, I’ll highlight some of the trade assets in the Cleveland farm system. 
What They Need
Let’s take a look at where the Tribe offense ranks (I’ll compare them to the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers since those are the teams that figure to battle for the AL Central). 
Runs – The Indians rank 11th in baseball with 385 (CWS 7th, DET 10th) 
Home Runs – Indians rank 21st with 78 (CWS 4th, DET 19th)
Stolen Bases – Indians rank 12th with 59 (CWS 15th, DET 29th)
Batting Average – Indians 15th with .258 mark (CWS 12th, DET 3rd)
OPS – Indians rank 12th at .735 (CWS 10th, DET 7th)
Everyone knows Cleveland has struggled mightily against left handed pitching so I looked at those splits, they were much more alarming;
They are ranked 29th in batting average and 24th in OPS vs. lefties as opposed to 2nd and 4th respectively when facing righties.  Also, while the Indians have the 8th most at bats vs. left handed pitching (a number I would expect to rise as teams should try to play match ups more in the second half) they are only 24th in HRs hit against left handers. 
Now let’s look at the pitching statistics over the first half of the season. 
Batting Average Against – Indians rank 20th as teams are batting .259 (CWS 4th, DET 24th)
ERA – Indians are 28th in baseball at 4.50 (CWS 11th, DET 17th)
WHIP (walks+hits/IP) – Indians are 23rd with 1.37 (CWS 2nd, DET 20th)
Strikeouts – Indians have 566 which ranks 28th in baseball (CWS 12th, DET 3rd)
Walks – Indians rank 24th with 289 (CWS 7th, DET 10th)
I know there has been mention of the Indians needed a starting pitcher as well as some help from the right side of the plate, but these numbers show that their pitching is by no means a strength.  Unless the organization feels that the current pitching staff is due for some major improvements they will definitely need some help here too if they hope to compete for a division title down the stretch. 

Who They Could Target 
I think everyone following the Indians situation probably already knew where help was needed, but hopefully the statistics give you some interesting insight as to why.  Now that we know where we need help, we have to try to find a place to get it.  I looked at some hitters that are performing well against left handing pitching that may be available due to their team’s struggles.  Below I highlight many players (both trade targets and assets) so I am only giving a couple key statistics – mostly Batting Average, OPS and number of at bats for hitters and ERA, Whip and innings pitched for pitchers.
Batting Stats vs. Left Handed Pitching
Chase Headley, SD, 3B; BA .270, OPS .804 in 100 at bats
Jason Kubel, ARI, OF; BA .289, OPS .809 in 97 at bats
Justin Upton, ARI, OF; BA .291, OPS .855 in 86 at bats
John Mayberry, PHI, OF; BA .258, OPS .769 w/5HR in 89 at bats
Reed Johnson, CHC, OF; BA .310, OPS .876 in 71 at bats
Martin Prado, ATL, 3B; BA .363, OPS .959 in 113 at bats (probably not available, would be a great fit)
Pitching Stats
Clayton Richard, SD; ERA 3.91, WHIP 1.21 in 119 IP
Cole Hamels, PHI; ERA 3.20, WHIP 1.10 in 118 IP
Wandy Rodriguez, HOU; ERA 3.37, WHIP 1.23 in 114 IP
Zack Grienke, MIL; ERA 3.32, WHIP 1.23 in 111 IP
Edinson Volquez, SD; ERA 3.52, WHIP 1.38 in 107 IP
Bartolo Colon, OAK; ERA 3.80, WHIP 1.25 in 104 IP
Matt Garza, CHC; ERA 4.32, WHIP 1.20 in 93 IP
Ryan Dempster, CHC; ERA 1.90, WHIP 1.01 in 86 IP
In addition, here is a list of players whose teams should be sellers and could be potential targets, but didn’t show up in my search; Justin Morneau (MIN, 1B), Francisco Liriano (MIN, SP), Ryan Doumit (MIN, C/1B/OF), Carl Pavano (MIN, SP), Josh Willingham (MIN, OF), Kevin Millwood (SEA, SP), Coco Crisp (OAK, OF), Seth Smith (OAK, OF), Alfonso Soriano (CHC, OF), Carlos Quentin (SD, OF) and Jason Giambi (COL, DH).  For a detailed list of players who could be made available by position, check out this MLB Trade Rumors post http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/07/potentially-available-players-2012-trade-market.html.

What They Have to Offer 
The last thing I wanted to do was look at who the Indians have that may interest other clubs looking toward the future.  Many people throw out what teams need, few mention what it might take to get said player(s).  Sure it sounds good if you say the Indians should go out and get Justin Upton and Zack Greinke to win before their window of opportunity closes, but 1.) Would you be willing to give up what it would take and 2.) More importantly in this example, do you have what it would take to get them?  Here is a list of potential Indians trade chips. 
Though I like to believe I know more about prospects than most, I am by no means an expert on the subject.  Therefore, this is not an all-inclusive list.  I may have missed a couple players other teams might be interested in, or added someone that nobody would want, etc.  However; overall this shows that even though the Indians don’t have a top 5-10 farm system, there is definitely some talent in the lower levels of the system. 
Played at least some at ML level
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B; .278 AVG, .756 OPS in 72 ML abs & .324, .893 in 111 AAA abs
Carlos Santana, C; .211 AVG, .675 OPS in 244 ML abs (I still like Santana and think he’ll be ok)
Zach McAllister, P; 3.40 ERA, 1.28 WHIP in 42 ML IP & 2.98 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 63 AAA IP
Jeanmar Gomez, P; 5.18 ERA, 1.38 WHIP in 73 ML IP
Any Young Relievers; J Smith, C Perez, R Perez, S Barnes, T Sipp, V Pestano
Matt LaPorta (27 yo), 1B; .182 AVG, .364 OPS in 11 ML abs & .303 AVG, .963 OPS w/17HR in 254 AAA abs
Juan Diaz (23 yo), SS; .267 AVG, .620 OPS in 15 ML abs & .256 AVG, .701 OPS w/7HR in 270 AA abs
Played at least some at AAA
Tim Fedroff (25yo), OF; .321 AVG, .902 OPS in 81 AAA abs & .305 AVG, .839 OPS in 203 AA abs
Jared Goedert (27yo); .288 AVG, .825 OPS in 170 AAA abs & .395 AVG, 1.089 OPS in 124 AA abs
Ruzz Canzler (26yo), OF/CI; .273 AVG, .806 OPS in 315 AAA abs w/12 HR
Ezequiel Carerra (25yo), OF; .263 AVG, .675 OPS in 312 AAA abs w/4HR and 21 SB
Corey Kluber (26yo), P; 3.80 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 113 Ks in 104 AAA IP  
Chris Seddon (28yo), P; 3.52 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 90K in 102 AAA IP
Played at least some at AA
Chun Chen (23yo), 1B; .321 AVG, .857 OPS in 315 AA abs
Thomas Neal (24yo), OF; .305 AVG, .850 OPS in 246 AA abs
Nick Weglarz (24yo), OF; .251 AVG, .815 OPS w/12 HR in 239 AA abs (check out my in depth write up on Weglarz before the 2012 season - http://www.clubhousegm.com/2012/01/deep-sleeper-nick-weglarz.html)
Giovanni Soto (21yo), P; 4.09 ERA, 1.35 WHIP with 81ks in 92 AA IP
TJ House (22yo), P; 4.07 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in 79 AA IP & 1.44 ERA w 26ks in 25 A IP
Paulo Espino (25yo), P; 3.41 ERA, 1.37 WHIP w/ 50k in 60 AA IP
Rob Bryson (24yo), P; 2.43 ERA, 1.33 WHIP w/49k in 40 AA IP
Bryce Stowell (25yo), P; 4.12 ERA, 1.22 WHIP w/32k in 19 AA IP
Tyler Sturdevent (26yo), P; 3.72 ERA, 1.34 WHIP in 9 AA IP
Have not played above A Ball
Francisco Lindor (18yo), SS; .262 AVG, .713 OPS w/4HR, 19SB in 317 A abs
Jesus Aguilar (22yo), 1B; .304 AVG, .904 OPS w/11HR in 276 highA abs
Tony Wolters (20yo), 2B; .248 AVG, .671 OPS in 306 A abs
Jake Sisco (20yo), P; 2.52 ERA, 1.36 WHIP in 25 low A IP
Luigi Rodriguez (19yo), CF; .271 AVG, .735 OPS w/6HR and 15 sb in 317 A abs
Ronny Rodriguez (20yo), SS; .272 AVG, .728 OPS w/9HR and 4sb in 305 A abs
Elvis Araujo (20yo), P; 4.86 ERA, 1.55 WHIP w/68k in 83 A IP
Levon Washington – Solid prospect but has not played much in 2012
Dillon Howard – Solid prospect but has not played much in 2012

So there you have it.  We’ve outlined what the Cleveland Indian's needs are, which players may be targets as the trade deadline approaches and what assets the Tribe organization has that could be in play.  Enjoy!

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