Should the Cleveland Indians Be Buyers or Sellers at MLB Trade Deadline?
About a week ago, the conversation about whether the Indians would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline was a laughable one. Nearly 10 games over .500 and just a small handful of games behind the White Sox in the AL Central, the Tribe looked to be in a clear position to add talent for their playoff push.
But as many of us know already, baseball is a cruel game. Now Cleveland, who is stuck in a seven-game losing streak and has just one win over their past 10 games, sits at a mediocre 42-40, six games behind the Sox in the division.
Now, as MLB heads into the All-Star break at week’s end, the Indians will have a tough decision to make. Should they continue to fight for a division title and buy at the deadline, or sell some of their players in an effort to better prepare for the future?
Reasons to Buy
The Indians have spent the last couple of years shipping off the likes of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and most recently, Francisco Lindor. What these deals did was replenish Cleveland’s farm system, giving them potential pieces to then flip in a deal for a proven player ready to help immediately.
Cleveland is in their worst stretch of the season, and yet they’re still within striking distance of the White Sox. They’re also just five games back of the A’s for the second Wild Card spot, who they play immediately following the All-Star break.
Finally, adding to a subpar lineup or a pitching rotation ravaged by injuries would be a sign of good faith to fans. As a team that has struggled with attendance over the years, adding at the deadline rather than deadline shows the Cleveland faithful that this organization is still committed to winning.
Reasons to Sell
Ultimately, teams who are thinking of buying need to ask themselves if they are World Series contenders with the addition of a piece or two. Although Cleveland has been steadily above .500 this season, they have probably never looked at themselves in the same realm as the White Sox, Astros, or Rays.
So rather than adding, what does subtracting do for Cleveland? They can look to trade a guy like Eddie Rosario, who is having a decent season on an expiring contract and can net a decent return from a team looking for an outfielder. The same goes for veterans Cesar Hernandez and Roberto Perez, each of whom has club options after this season and could return some nice value.
The Indians also have a brutal stretch coming out of the break, starting with a road trip to Oakland and Houston before returning home to play Tampa Bay and St. Louis. Then to put the cherry on top, a three-game series in Chicago against the first-place White Sox the weekend of the trade deadline.
What Should Cleveland Do?
Given a choice between buying or selling, selling appears to be the most logical option for the Tribe. However, there is always the possibility of doing nothing while injured players get healthy. Particularly, the rotation, as last year’s Cy Young winner Shane Bieber has been out since June 13th, while Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac have also been on the IL.
Maybe the best answer for the Indians is to utilize a couple of their players down in AAA to jump-start the offense while waiting for their top three starting pitchers to get healthy. But if their timetable to return takes much longer, general manager Mike Chernoff should start fielding calls for some of his veterans.
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