Inbox: How will Tribe pursue more power hitters?
Beat reporter Jordan Bastian answers fans' questions
Will the Indians trade a starting pitcher for a shot at a middle-of-the-order bat?
-- @geoffway (via Twitter)
That will be one of the most interesting things to follow this offseason. Cleveland has a relatively young and talented starting rotation, led by Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. Right now, the fifth spot is between Cody Anderson and Josh Tomlin.
Kluber and Carrasco have very club-friendly contracts, while Salazar and Bauer have youth and contractual control helping their value. Anderson is coming off a solid rookie debut and Tomlin returned strong after a shoulder issue. The front four would be the most enticing chips from opposing clubs.
The Indians entertained trade offers for Carrasco at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Cleveland was not motivated to move him -- only to test the market. Hanging up the phone isn't a way to find out how much a rival club values your player. That could mean some groundwork has been laid for continuing talks this offfseason.
It sounds so simple: trade from a position of strength to add a power bat, thus addressing a weakness. One problem, however, is that the Tribe's Major League-ready options behind Anderson and Tomlin are sparse right now. The Indians would need to know -- if they dealt one of their big arms -- that they would have a way to address the damaged rotation depth.
So, will the Indians trade a starting pitcher for a middle-of-the-order bat? We'll see. What we know right now is that Cleveland will be open to such a scenario, considering that it is not expected to be a player for the big-money free-agent hitters.
I understand the downside of such a move, but why wouldn't the front office try and trade some of our top young prospects to get a solid power hitter or two, to try and take advantage of one of the best rotations we've ever had?
-- Rex H., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
This is obviously the other way to go. I would be willing to bet that opposing teams will begin by asking for Cleveland's top Major League arms. That said, the Indians do have a much deeper farm system than they did a couple years ago. There is a larger pool to draw from and Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, has shown a willingness to deal prospects. Remember when he dealt pitchers Alex White and Drew Pomeranz in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade? If you recall, everyone thought White and Pomeranz were untouchable at the time. So, yes, this is also another avenue Cleveland will explore.
Is the team seriously looking to acquire a slugger in the offseason?
--@EdKore (via Twitter)
I sure hope so. Power has been a consistent problem for a few seasons now and, even after adding slugger Brandon Moss for part of this past season, it remained an issue. A big reason that Cleveland ended in the bottom third of the league in runs scored was due to ranking 11th in the American League in slugging percentage (.401), 12th in isolated power (.144) and 13th in home runs (141). This is (once again) the Tribe's biggest area of need this winter.
What current Major League player would you compare Francisco Lindor to right now?
-- Matt B., Indiana
Given his age, service time and performance this season, it's really hard to draw a firm conclusion on what kind of player Lindor will become as he continues to develop. He was kind of in a class of his own, in terms of all-around offensive production and above-average defense at shortstop. Defensively, he reminds me of Omar Vizquel. Offensively, there are touches of a young Derek Jeter or Jimmy Rollins. Roberto Alomar (Lindor's favorite player as a kid) also comes to mind. Lindor's blend of on-base ability, power and speed were special this summer.
Will Lonnie Chisenhall be given a chance to win the everyday job in right, or is a platoon set in stone?
-- @fmjosh (via Twitter)
I think you'll see something similar to the initial plan when the Indians brought in veteran David Murphy. Chisenhall would start against right-handed pitching, making him the regular right fielder. Then, Indians manager Terry Francona would pick his spots for giving Chisenhall playing time against lefty pitching. Francona didn't think of it as a strict platoon, and that showed late in the year, when Chisenhall's strong defense eliminated pinch-hitting for him late in games when a lefty reliever entered the game.
Will the Indians close in on a deal for a minority investor to help add more cash to the payroll?
-- @dsurbigapp (via Twitter)
Indians owner and chairman Paul Dolan continues to look for a minority partner, and we learned recently that his list of potential investors has indeed been narrowed. What we don't know yet is how much this might actually influence player payroll. A recent report indicated that the aim might be more to help overcome yearly financial losses, rather than significantly increasing the payroll.
What do you see the Indians doing with Abraham Almonte and Chris Johnson?
-- @ChristianMZ24 (via Twitter)
Almonte played well down the stretch, but in a perfect world, I think he'd be best utilized as a fourth outfielder. Johnson plans on doing work this winter and, in the spring, to add corner outfield to the mix as a more realistic option for the Tribe. That way, he could be worked in as a first baseman, designated hitter or corner outfielder, especially against lefty pitching.
Not a question, just a thought I will throw out there: Should I start a GoFundMe campaign so the Indians can sign Yoenis Cespedes? I'll hang up and listen.
-- @JCUStreaks10 (via Twitter)