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Any chance Lonnie Chisenhall returns in 2019?

Cleveland Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has been a fixture on the roster since 2011, but it is unlikely he returns in 2019.

Lonnie Chisenhall made his Cleveland Indians debut back in 2011. He was projected to be the future at third base but settled into an outfield role the past few years.

The problem is that he hasn’t received regular playing time due to constant injuries. Chisenhall only appeared in 29 games last season after appearing in 82 games in 2017.

He is now a free agent and after earning over $5.5 million in 2018, it doesn’t appear as if the Indians would offer him anything close to that because of his injury concerns.

That was reflected in a recent mailbag article by Jordan Bastian of Indians.com. He touched on Chisenhall in response to a question asked by our own Matt Bretz:

Here is what Bastian had to say:

I think the odds of Lonnie Chisenhall being re-signed by the Indians are slim to none. Tyler Naquin offers a similar skill-set and does so at a much lower pricetag for now. Naquin has played center field, but profiles better as a right fielder and — last season’s struggles and health issues aside — has a decent career track record against righty pitching.

It doesn’t make much financial sense to keep Chisenhall if he seemingly can’t stay healthy. Bradley Zimmer, Greg Allen and Tyler Naquin serve as cheap outfield options, as does Leonys Martin if he is cleared to play in 2019.

Chisenhall is a player who would likely end up on another team right away. The Indians just can’t afford to take a chance on him at a time when the payroll will be tight.

If Michael Brantley is going to be allowed to walk then the Indians will likely seek upgrades via a trade. It just may take a top prospect being moved to get someone valuable in return.

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