MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians pulled off one trade to help their current roster on Tuesday afternoon and then swung another with the future in mind.After acquiring center fielder Leonys Martin from the Tigers to address the Major League's need for outfield help, Cleveland landed outfield prospect Oscar Mercado from the
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians pulled off one trade to help their current roster on Tuesday afternoon and then swung another with the future in mind.
After acquiring center fielder Leonys Martin from the Tigers to address the Major League's need for outfield help, Cleveland landed outfield prospect Oscar Mercado from the Cardinals. The Tribe sent outfield prospects Conner Capel and Jhon Torres to St. Louis to reel in Mercado, who will be added to the 40-man roster and report to Triple-A Columbus.
"He's a very athletic player," said Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations. "He transitioned from shortstop to center field a couple of years ago and has really made that transition well. We think he's an above-average defender with above-average speed that adds a very good option for us in the near-term at the Major League level in the outfield."
In order to add the 23-year-old Mercado to the roster, the Indians designated outfielder Johnny Field for assignment.
Mercado was ranked as the Cardinals' 10th-best prospect on their Top 30 list, per MLB Pipeline. Through 100 games for Triple-A Memphis this season, the young outfielder posted a .285/.351/.408 slash line with eight home runs, 21 doubles, 31 steals, 73 runs and 64 strikeouts vs. 36 walks.
Mercado has improved both his walk rate (8.4 percent at Triple-A in 2017, compared to 6.1 percent at Double-A in '17), and his strikeout rate (15 percent in '18 vs. 21.4 percent in '17) this season with the Redbirds. He was selected in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Cardinals as a shortstop, but he transitioned to center field in '16 and has played outfield full time over the past two years.
Including Capel (No. 14), the Indians have dealt away three of their Top 30 prospects (per MLB Pipeline) this month. Earlier on Tuesday, Cleveland shipped shortstop prospect Willi Castro (No. 8) to the Tigers to net Martin and Minor League pitcher Kyle Dowdy. On July 19, the Indians traded their former No.1 prospect, catcher Francisco Mejia, to the Padres to obtain All-Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber.
Indians manager Terry Francona said the Mercado deal -- one with the future in mind -- was an exciting one.
"Supposedly, he's an unbelievable kid to start with," Francona said. "He can run and he's a shortstop that moved to the outfield. He's athletic as all get-out. I think a little bit like Greg [Allen], he's still developing as far as hitting goes. But just because he's not here doesn't mean we're not excited. When we got him, I was excited just about as much as anybody else."
• Tribe relief ace Andrew Miller (60-day DL, right knee) worked one shutout inning in a rehab outing for Triple-A Columbus on Monday night. Miller logged 10 pitches (eight strikes) against three batters and ended with one strikeout. Francona noted that the lefty would pitch again for Columbus on Tuesday, marking his first back-to-back outings since going on the DL.
"When we get back home," Francona said, "we'll reconvene and see what the next step is."
• Right-hander Josh Tomlin (10-day DL, right hamstring) threw two simulated innings (15 pitches each) prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins at Target Field. Francona said Tomlin will now embark on a Minor League rehab assignment, beginning with an outing with Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
• In light of the recent trades, Francona said he plans on meeting with his team on Wednesday morning. Said Francona: "We've got some new guys here. It kind of looks like it's going to be our team the rest of the way. We might actually visit for a few minutes."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.