It is more apparent than ever that the Cleveland Indians need to do something about this roster as they head into the July 31st trading deadline at the end of the week.
The Tribe needed a good start to the second half, as they had nine games against the weaker squads in Major League Baseball (Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and the White Sox) and to this point are 3-5 against them.
Cleveland has demonstrated nothing to hang your hat on in the second half. The offense has been deplorable, the starting pitching has collapsed, and while the defense is better than the horrific first two months of the year, it still makes key mistakes at the most inopportune times, and the pitching staff cannot pitch around them.
The front office is asleep at the switch, seemingly refusing to address any of the problems this team has, and make no mistake, they have been around since day one of the season. And we have to take Terry Francona to task as well, as he hasn’t made any adjustments to what he has either.
This is a team with little home run power, yet he still sits back and plays for the three run bomb.
Look, the Indians’ hitters don’t strike out a lot, so why not send runners every once in a while. And SS Francisco Lindor, who stole nine bases in AAA, has attempted just one with the Indians, and that was in his first big league start.
So, perhaps the front office can improve the current roster by trading some of the veterans on the roster.
The obvious duo is the platoon tandem at DH in David Murphy and Ryan Raburn. Now, before you say these are two of the team’s better hitters, let’s look inside the numbers.
Over the last 28 days, Murphy has hit just .184 with a home run and seven RBI (569 OPS). In the same time period, Raburn has batted just 22 times, hitting .182 with three runs batted in.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped Francona from continuing to hit them both in the clean up spot on a regular basis.
Moving those two players and removing Michael Bourn from the roster would give GM Chris Antonetti three roster spots to work with.
That would enable the organization to find out if Jesus Aguilar and/or Jerry Sands can contribute to the team going forward, and also give Tyler Holt and/or Tyler Naquin some big league experience.
Naquin would be the most intriguing because he is the best prospect of the group, but Sands knocked in six runs in his 24 at bats here, which is three less than Mike Aviles for the entire season.
We are tired of hearing the argument that Bourn has to stay because of the amount of money he is owed by Cleveland. It’s a ridiculous argument. No player, repeat, no player should get at bats because of what they are making. YOU HAVE TO PAY HIM ANYWAY! There is no need to have him decrease the team’s chances of winning.
Why aren’t we hammering Nick Swisher for the same reason? One, he’s not on the roster right now. Two, he’s only had 101 at bats this year. If he is reactivated and he still is not doing anything, then he will draw the same ire as the centerfielder.
Of course, Antonetti said earlier this week that he is still confident in the team he opened the season with. Either he is dumb or a liar, because if you watch the games, you couldn’t possibly come to that conclusion.
This team’s only chance, and it gets slimmer by the day, is to make these chance and hope the younger players come through.
And if they don’t, then at least the front office knows who can contribute in ’16 and who cannot.