In 2 deals, Indians trade Eddie, get Straw

July 31st, 2021

CHICAGO -- After sending second baseman Cesar Hernandez to the division rival White Sox on Thursday afternoon, the Indians stayed busy on Friday, making three more moves before the 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

First, the club announced that outfielder was traded to the Braves (along with cash considerations) in exchange for infielder (who was immediately released). A few hours later, Cleveland then traded reliever Phil Maton and Low-A catcher Yainer Diaz to the Astros in exchange for outfielder .

Indians get
: INF Pablo Sandoval (later released)
Braves get: OF Eddie Rosario, cash considerations

Indians get
: RHP Peyton Battenfield
Rays get: OF Jordan Luplow, RHP DJ Johnson

Indians get
: OF Myles Straw
Astros get: RHP Phil Maton, C Yainer Diaz

And just minutes before the Deadline, Cleveland made one more move, sending outfielder Jordan Luplow and reliever DJ Johnson to the Rays in exchange for Double-A righty Peyton Battenfield.

“We executed a number of trades, but there were probably at least another dozen other ones that we contemplated seriously at different points in time and exchanged different ideas,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “Some of them we felt we were really close to the finish line on.”

Before Rosario got hurt, he was one of the most likely trade candidates for Cleveland. Because he'll need a few more weeks before he's back in game action, his trade value dropped. At the time of the trade, Sandoval was added to the Indians' active roster, but the move ended up being one to just clear a space on the 40-man roster and to remove a guy from an overcrowded outfield that needs to give more opportunities to younger players.

Sandoval hit .178 with a .645 OPS in 69 games with Atlanta this season. The Indians already have Yu Chang, Ernie Clement and will soon add Owen Miller to the infield mix, along with Franmil Reyes in the DH spot.

On the other hand, Straw will be expected to take over the everyday center field job. The 26-year-old isn't eligible for free agency until 2026 and has hit .262 with a .665 OPS (87 OPS+) in 98 games for Houston this year. The center fielder has logged 13 doubles, one triple, two homers and tallied 34 RBIs with 17 stolen bases.

"Myles is actually a guy we tried to acquire a number of different times in the past,” Antonetti said. “We view him as a premium defender in center field and an elite baserunner. He controls the strike zone really well and he does a good job of getting on base and utilizing his speed, so we’re looking forward to him coming over and playing center field for us, and helping us stabilize that position.”

Battenfield will report to Double-A Akron. In 14 appearances (12 starts) between the Rays’ High-A and Double-A clubs, the 23-year-old logged a 2.14 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 12 walks in 67 1/3 innings. He also held opponents to a .171 average with a 0.800 WHIP.

“He’s got a good mix of pitches: Fastball, curveball, slider, changeup,” Antonetti said. “We see him as another quality starting pitching option for us moving forward at the upper levels of our system. We’ve said before, one of our goals heading into the Deadline was two-fold, which was to create opportunities for young players and also to improve our Minor League pitching. Importantly, he’s not eligible to be selected for the Rule 5 Draft."

The Indians are losing their big offseason signing in Rosario and a solid reliever in Maton, who has been one of Cleveland's favorite arms to watch simply because of his exceptional spin rate. In his time with the Tribe since being acquired at the 2019 Trade Deadline, Maton posted a 4.30 ERA in 70 appearances with 106 strikeouts and 32 walks in 75 1/3 frames.

Luplow played in 36 games with Cleveland this season before an ankle injury sidelined him for an extended period of time. He batted .173 with a .769 OPS in that span. And Johnson was only able to work his way into one game as a member of the Indians, allowing one run in 1 2/3 frames.

In 78 games, Rosario hit .254 with a .685 OPS. Cleveland inked him in the hopes that his powerful history at Progressive Field would continue. Instead, he hit just seven homers and knocked in 46 runs. Rosario landed on the injured list on July 7 with a right oblique strain.

“Eddie got off to a tough start,” Antonetti said. “I think we saw stretches prior to him getting inured where he started to heat up, but then unfortunately went on the injured list with the oblique. We just never did get to see the best of Eddie. I do think he's going to go over to Atlanta and be able to help them for the last month and a half of the season once he's ready to come off the injured list.”