The other day, we discussed the “slump” that the Cleveland Indians’ front office has been in since the end of last season.
We have all realized the Tribe’s roster is top heavy, and it needs more depth. We also assume the Indians will be really be a player for a guy like Manny Machado, because they will not be interested in giving up a high ranking prospect for a player who would be with Cleveland for basically two months.
That said, here is a list of players the Indians should be looking at replacing, if only to get incrementally better.
Rajai Davis. We understand he’s a great teammate, great locker room presence, etc…, but Davis was never a great hitter, and this year, he’s worse.
He’s a lifetime 693 OPS and a .312 on base average, and this year, those figures have dropped to 587 and .297, respectively. He has been terrible vs. lefties (491 OPS), and his lone skill remaining is the ability to steal bases, which of course, is meaningless unless he is used as a pinch runner.
Getting someone else who can at least contribute offensively would benefit the bench. The pit of misery that is centerfield this season is a reason why getting a player like Adam Jones from Baltimore would be an upgrade.
Brandon Guyer. Guyer was tremendous when he came over from Tampa Bay in 2016, hitting .333 (907 OPS), and had an OPS over 1000 vs. southpaws. He has battled injuries since then, and he’s not the same lethal bat against left-handers.
Guyer still has a very good 853 OPS against lefties, but his batting average vs. southpaws is just .250. And while he was passable vs. RHP, he is 2 for 44 this season.
Could Guyer finish strong? Of course, but his offensive numbers have been in decline since 2016, and that’s not a good trend. Getting the ’16 Guyer to replace him would be optimal.
Zach McAllister/Dan Otero. Both right-handers have been mainstays in the Cleveland bullpen over the past few years, but let’s face it, relievers are relievers for a reason, and it may be their usefulness with the Tribe is at an end.
Since moving to the pen, McAllister has always been a strikeout per inning guy and allowed about a hit per inning, but to this point, his whiffs are down (29 in 36-1/3 IP) and his hits allowed are up (42 hits). He has been prone to the gopher ball, and that number has increased too.
Otero was great in his first year with the Indians in 2016, with an ERA of 1.53, and last year that figure did go up, but was a very respectable 2.85.
This year, his ERA has virtually doubled at 5.60. The biggest stat that stands out is he is allowing home runs at the highest rate of his career. He had a similar year with Oakland in 2015, but if the Indians get a couple of bullpen arms at the deadline, both of these guys could be moved elsewhere.
We didn’t address Roberto Perez because he the Indians value his defense more than they dislike his offense. And Greg Allen was omitted from the list because he need probably can use more time in the minors.
Again, even if you don’t add a star, upgrading the roster incrementally can make a difference. Remember what the Guyer acquisition meant in ’16. He had a big hit in Game 2 of the ALDS vs. David Price and Boston.
Coco Crisp was picked up on August 31st that year and hit two post-season homers and went 4 for 12 in the World Series.
Sometimes, small subtle moves can prove important. Getting more production at these four spots could make a big difference in October.