The Cleveland Indians made a series of trades before the July 31st trade deadline, moving two left-handed bats in David Murphy and Brandon Moss, and they also moved lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski.
We have no problems with any of the moves, as the deals with open up the roster for some younger talent.
Our regret is they didn’t do more.
The first trade, which sent Murphy to the Angels, is simply a case of the outfielder having a club option at the end of this year, which the Indians weren’t willing to pick up. So, they moved him for a minor league SS in Eric Stamets.
Stamets is purported to be a good athlete, and excellent defender who cannot hit, batting under .250 each of his last two seasons in the minor leagues.
But really, there isn’t a huge demand for corner outfielders who don’t have a lot of pop. The only question is getting another shortstop with Jose Ramirez (who can play other spots) and Erik Gonzalez already trapped behind Francisco Lindor.
The Moss deal was a surprise, but the 1B/OF was an all or nothing hitter with Cleveland, and that Antonetti was able to get one of St. Louis’ top prospects made this transaction a no-brainer as well.
The southpaw Cleveland received in return, Rob Kaminsky, is 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA this year in high A, and we hope he goes to Akron. In his three years in the minors since being the Cardinals first round pick in 2013, he has a 2.15 ERA.
He is said to have a deceptive delivery and hitters have a hard time picking up the ball. He’s also a strike thrower with just 68 walks in 217 minor league innings.
The return for Rzepczynski was OF Abraham Almonte, who is a .233 hitter in over 300 big league at bats, of which he was struck out in about a third of them. So, he’s more like a guy who will spend a lot of time in Columbus.
We would have liked to seen the Tribe move OF/DH Ryan Raburn too, and that might still happen before the August 31st waiver deal deadline. Raburn got off to a hot start, but has been mediocre with the stick since the middle of May.
The front office also didn’t resolve their Michael Bourn problem, so the outfielder who had a mini-renaissance this week (his OPS is up to 600 folks!), is still here and we assume that Terry Francona will continue to write his name in the lineup.
There were rumors that Cleveland was dangling Carlos Carrasco in the deal which would have brought back the impact bat, the team desperately needs, but nothing happened.
At the very least, these moves give the Indians an opportunity to look at some young players, like Tyler Holt and Jerry Sands, just recalled, and lefty Michael Roth, who came up earlier this week.
It also gives Lonnie Chisenhall one last chance to prove he can be a big league hitter.
The reshaping of the Indians’ roster has started. It’s unfortunate that the weaknesses of this team, that were evident as early as the beginning of May, weren’t addressed sooner.