The Cleveland Indians have internal options to fix the OF. Hopefully that’s not their move, because it won’t help win the 2019 World Series.
With a $14.7 million salary on the table for 2019, Jason Kipnis will likely be your left fielder next season.
I know, you’re yelling, “Trade him!”
The Indians will try, according to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto. But ask yourself: If you’re the GM of a Major League Baseball team, would you trade for player over 30 who just struggled to hit .220?
Perhaps you value Kipnis’ ability to play second base and the outfield and you have an unlimited check book. Sure, you’ll take his salary on.
Otherwise, a swift “No thanks” would be more logical answer to any proposal involving the two-time All-Star.
Michael Brantley could always accept the one-year, $18 million qualifying offer, but it’s unlikely he will. He’s coming off an All-Star year in which he hit .306. It’s time to cash in, especially for a player who’s had his share of injury scares.
Martin is a solid pro. Allen and Zimmer are superb defensively, but both possess questionable bats. Naquin has shown a propensity to hit a little, but he and Zimmer are injury prone.
The point is the Indians have to make some sort of trade, otherwise the Tribe will probably coast to the Division title on the strength of its pitching staff only to be quickly snuffed out in the postseason.
The Tribe has a shot to win as long as Fransisco Lindor is on the roster and the rotation continues to be top-notch. Now’s not the time to patch everything together. The Indians must make a move this offseason.