CLEVELAND – The MLB trade deadline is now less than a week away, and for the Indians and their fans they are still relishing in the fact they filled a huge hole in their bullpen with the deal last Thursday with the San Diego Padres for relief help Adam Cimber and Brad Hand.
While it was an aggressive move that needed to be done to try and put some fresh arms into what’s been the worst pen in baseball most of the season, there’s still a feeling that the team has another position to fill before the deadline.
Injuries and flat out underwhelming performances have led many to believe that the Indians can’t reach the promise land without a deal before next week for someone who can play the outfield, the emphasis being on centerfield where Tyler Naquin and Rajai Davis currently split time.
The team hasn’t been able to simply put a name in to play centerfield since the early part of the season when Bradley Zimmer was up with the club, but he struggled so badly he was sent to AAA Columbus, and then was injured and recently had surgery and will miss the rest of the season.
Naquin entered play on Wednesday .263 with three homers and 23 runs batted in. He failed to make what should have been a catch in center on Tuesday night that opened the door for runs for the Pirates as they chased starter Shane Bieber early in the 9-4 win.
Many think that Naquin is more suited to play right field, and that he’s simply out of position playing in center. At this point he’s one of the few options the Indians have.
Davis is hitting .270 with one homer, 3 RBI and 10 steals on the season. He made the team out of the spring and has stayed with them the entire season, and again he’s likely better suited to platoon than play daily in center.
The issue is when it comes to making a deal is that there’s not a ton of great options on the market right now.
The names like Billy Hamilton from the Reds and Adam Jones from the Orioles keep popping up, but in the end neither of these players are having huge seasons, and just adding a player to make a deal doesn’t mean there will be success.
It might be a season where the Indians might be better off waiting to go through the waiver wire in August to make a deal to wait for some more teams to drop out of the wild card races in both the American and National League to see if the market opens up a little.
While that wasn’t the plan in 2017, it worked as the team was able to acquire Jay Bruce from the Mets in a waiver deal after Michael Brantley was injured.
As things move along in the next six days, the rumors will heat up about deals being made, but as it stands, the wait and see even past the deadline might just be the key to success for the Indians to pickup a more impactful player for the stretch run of the regular season.