LAS VEGAS — Maybe the Indians’ outfield will be saved by whatever return the Indians get if they trade Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. But one thing is certain, the outfield needs work — lots and lots of work.
First let’s review what they’ve lost. Michael Brantley is a free agent. So is Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, Melky Cabrera and Brandon Barnes. Lonnie Chisenhall, another free agent, has already signed a one-year deal with the Pirates.
All of them played outfield for the Tribe last season.
Bradley Zimmer, the opening day center fielder, is still recovering from surgery on his right shoulder. Tyler Naquin, who played 61 games in the outfield last season, had surgery on his right hip, but is expected to be ready for spring training. Leonys Martin recently received a clean bill of health. But he was hit with a life-threatening bacterial infection in August after playing just six games with the Indians.
So far the Indians have added one outfielder to the 40-man roster since the end of the season — Jordan Luplow from Pittsburgh. Oscar Mercado, an outfielder acquired from St. Louis in July, will be in spring training for the first time as well. Trayce Thompson, who been in the big leagues with the White Sox, Dodgers and Oakland, will be in Goodyear, Ariz. as a spring training invitee.
There is still a lot of winter left and it would appear the front office has bigger fish to fry at the moment. They always could re-sign Barnes or Cabrera, or someone just like them, if Kluber or Bauer aren’t traded.
But one way or the other an outfield whose core is Greg Allen, Martin, Naquin and Luplow is going to need some reinforcements.