2020-21 Offseason Discussion

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CDAV45

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None of us are against Johnson taking over RF, but he needs to earn it from by taking it away from Naquin. If Johnson is better than Naquin, he will take the position. In the best 25 out of camp scenario, if Johnson is better than he will get it. Naquin will be on the roster in 21, his price tag isn't high enough vs potential production to let him go. In my mind you are underrating Naquin and overvaluing Johnson at this current moment.

Also the ops predicting of .740 for Johnson is below the .760 for Naquins career. I am actually thinking a predict around .780 for OPS for Naquin next season as well. I really feel the numbers he put up in 19, will be his normal numbers if healthy.



Clement is Rule 5 Eligible in 2021, so in my mind he needs to be protected otherwise we lose him. Plus we are transitioning to the younger guys, so why not give him a shot at making this roster. Idk I just have a hunch he will stay in the bigs once he is given a shot.

Also I think Mathias will be an OF in Milwaukee. They barely played him in the INF last season.
First off, my argument wasn't that Johnson should have taken Naquin's place this season even though I believe Johnson's potential is greater. My preference would have been to give Johnson a real opportunity to play CF because of his offensive ceiling. If they feel Johnson is ready(they were on the brink of it this season) then Naquin may be looking for a job because the financial situation appears to be very ugly in Cleveland right now, and Naquin isn't a difference maker. The same can be said for DeShields. I mean if it's as bad as CA says, then even the smallest contracts will be scrutinized and both are in arbitration years.

Naquin's OPS is skewed by the first half of 2016. That's his largest sample size in 5 yrs and he hasn't come close to that production since. You're predicting a 740 OPS for a player with a minor league career OPS of over 800. It was damn near 900 in both stops in 2019(872 & 867). In fact, the only time his OPS was under 800 was his initial promotion to Akron as a 22 yr old. Daniel Johnson has more power and speed than Tyler Naquin therefore if Johnson hits at all then his OPS will surpass Naquin's IMO.

I'm not even concerned with Clement discussions. I feel that he is below all of Chang, Miller, and both Freemans in the pecking order. He could be a good replacement for M. Freeman, but Tito loves him some M. Freeman too. He's been a good little utility player for this team and I have no problem with him in that role. If Clement can do it better then fine, but Clement is not and should not be a starter. I also have no regrets with them moving from Mathias. It's not even worth discussing.
 

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The Numbers in general are a little skewed in AAA to be honest. The parks are very hitter friendly plus the balls jumped (almost too much) off of players bats. AA is pitcher friendly so I lean a little more towards AA in the sense of what they will do in the pros at the current moment. He has matured and gotten better, but you have to take the AAA with a grain of salt.

Now when it comes to the defense, I am going purely by numbers which side with him being below average in CF. Frankin Guitterez was a top CF (before he got really sick), even with average speed, so often times players with good speed that don't have good range in the OF, either lack a good first step and/or lack good routes to the ball. So to me it sounds like he doesn't pick up the ball off the bat as well as he should in CF. He has had enough innings in CF to say one way or the other and it says to me, he isnt bad in CF, just isn't meant to be an everyday CF. From a personal stand point, I could flat out fly, but I was a better INF because I didn't run good OF routes to the ball, but I had quick feet, soft hands and a good arm. So its not always running speed that makes a player an OF, its how they react to the ball of the bat, read the ball and run to the ball.

I havent watch a ton of film on Johnson in CF, stats say he is a legit RF and AAAA CF.
 

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The Numbers in general are a little skewed in AAA to be honest. The parks are very hitter friendly plus the balls jumped (almost too much) off of players bats. AA is pitcher friendly so I lean a little more towards AA in the sense of what they will do in the pros at the current moment. He has matured and gotten better, but you have to take the AAA with a grain of salt.

Now when it comes to the defense, I am going purely by numbers which side with him being below average in CF. Frankin Guitterez was a top CF (before he got really sick), even with average speed, so often times players with good speed that don't have good range in the OF, either lack a good first step and/or lack good routes to the ball. So to me it sounds like he doesn't pick up the ball off the bat as well as he should in CF. He has had enough innings in CF to say one way or the other and it says to me, he isnt bad in CF, just isn't meant to be an everyday CF. From a personal stand point, I could flat out fly, but I was a better INF because I didn't run good OF routes to the ball, but I had quick feet, soft hands and a good arm. So its not always running speed that makes a player an OF, its how they react to the ball of the bat, read the ball and run to the ball.

I havent watch a ton of film on Johnson in CF, stats say he is a legit RF and AAAA CF.
Solid argument right there and I don't disagree with what you're saying. At no point have I ever said that Johnson would win a GG in CF. I think that his defense in CF is currently serviceable and likely to improve with experience due to his athleticism. Tito thinks he can stick in CF too, and I believe him. Ultimately, his offensive potential and arm strength could make him a rare find as a CF. Should his defense in CF improve as I suspect then not only have they solidified CF with a tremendous talent, but it opens up RF for another big bat. That's my line of thought and I'd be the first to tell you that several things have to come to fruition.
 

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Also minor league numbers aren't always factors of success either. Johnson SO rate is a bit higher than I would like it and its going to climb in the pros and his walk rate isn't as good as i would like it (better in 19, but still wasn't a good ratio). Luplow also has better minor league numbers than Johnson as well so if you went only by them, Luplow is starting before Johnson.

Solid argument right there and I don't disagree with what you're saying. At no point have I ever said that Johnson would win a GG in CF. I think that his defense in CF is currently serviceable and likely to improve with experience due to his athleticism. Tito thinks he can stick in CF too, and I believe him. Ultimately, his offensive potential and arm strength could make him a rare find as a CF. Should his defense in CF improve as I suspect then not only have they solidified CF with a tremendous talent, but it opens up RF for another big bat. That's my line of thought and I'd be the first to tell you that several things have to come to fruition.
In my mind, CF has to be more defense than offensive minded. If you put out Naylor, Reyes and Johnson in the OF, with all three considered below average range, you are setting up your pitching for a nightmare out there. You will give up more runs than produce runs with something like that.

Also about Clement, its just more of the hunch/eye test, but I think he will succeed in the pros. When it comes to the INF, by projection, it will be straight young guys, and I think he will step up and earn a spot. He is liked by Tito and it sounds like he would be a good person for the organization going forward. I am just going with my gut on him.
 
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MLBTR's arbitration projections are up.... Arbitration will be rather complicated this year with the 60 game season.

1st Number = Applies model directly with actual statistics from this 60-game season
2nd Number = Extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals. One home run becomes 2.7 home runs.
3rd Number = For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise

Austin Hedges-- $3M / $3.1M / $3M
Adam Cimber-- $800K / $1M / $800K
Delino DeShields-- $2M / $2.4M / $2.1M
Francisco Lindor-- $17.5M / $21.5M / $19M
Phil Maton-- $700K / $1M / $700K
Tyler Naquin-- $1.8M / $2.4M / $1.8M
Nick Wittgren-- $1.4M / $2.2M / $1.5M
 

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MLBTR's arbitration projections are up.... Arbitration will be rather complicated this year with the 60 game season.

1st Number = Applies model directly with actual statistics from this 60-game season
2nd Number = Extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals. One home run becomes 2.7 home runs.
3rd Number = For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise

Austin Hedges-- $3M / $3.1M / $3M
Adam Cimber-- $800K / $1M / $800K
Delino DeShields-- $2M / $2.4M / $2.1M
Francisco Lindor-- $17.5M / $21.5M / $19M
Phil Maton-- $700K / $1M / $700K
Tyler Naquin-- $1.8M / $2.4M / $1.8M
Nick Wittgren-- $1.4M / $2.2M / $1.5M
I got middle, left, middle, middle, eh middle, left, middle. 19M for Lindor would be a nice number.
 

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MLBTR's arbitration projections are up.... Arbitration will be rather complicated this year with the 60 game season.

1st Number = Applies model directly with actual statistics from this 60-game season
2nd Number = Extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals. One home run becomes 2.7 home runs.
3rd Number = For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise

Austin Hedges-- $3M / $3.1M / $3M
Adam Cimber-- $800K / $1M / $800K
Delino DeShields-- $2M / $2.4M / $2.1M
Francisco Lindor-- $17.5M / $21.5M / $19M
Phil Maton-- $700K / $1M / $700K
Tyler Naquin-- $1.8M / $2.4M / $1.8M
Nick Wittgren-- $1.4M / $2.2M / $1.5M
I have a hunch Cimber is on the way out/outrighted to the minors with incentives if he makes the team in 21. DeShields is the only other borderline one in my opinion of being back in 21
 

CDAV45

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MLBTR's arbitration projections are up.... Arbitration will be rather complicated this year with the 60 game season.

1st Number = Applies model directly with actual statistics from this 60-game season
2nd Number = Extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals. One home run becomes 2.7 home runs.
3rd Number = For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise

Austin Hedges-- $3M / $3.1M / $3M
Adam Cimber-- $800K / $1M / $800K
Delino DeShields-- $2M / $2.4M / $2.1M
Francisco Lindor-- $17.5M / $21.5M / $19M
Phil Maton-- $700K / $1M / $700K
Tyler Naquin-- $1.8M / $2.4M / $1.8M
Nick Wittgren-- $1.4M / $2.2M / $1.5M
It will be interesting to see what happens. I'd guess any contract, regardless of size, better have value or it will not be retained. Any of those players going into arbitration or with options that have prospects waiting should be worried IMO.

Of that list I think we all agree that Lindor is as good as gone and Cimber has no value.

Hedges' $3.1M or Perez's $5.5M. Again, I can't see the Indians paying 2 similar, non-offensive C almost $9M. Maybe they will, but if they don't then which one goes?

I think Wittgren and Maton are safe. I'd guess most would agree.

DeShields and Naquin are both projected to be reasonable for what they are, but I doubt both will be back. So much depends upon the readiness of guys Bauers, Johnson, and Jones. Will they give Luplow a chance to be a fulltime player? Will Reyes be playing a corner OF to allow Bradley to DH? What's coming back from the Lindor trade? Naquin's job is certainly in question due to all the possible options. Mercado, Zimmer, and Johnson could all make DeShields' $2M salary go away too.

Looking past the arbitration eligible and options, what if they decide to cut more? Would they be open to trading Carrasco and/or Ramirez? I doubt they would at this time, but if an offer was made that allowed this team to stay competitive while removing salary then they may do it. The return for either of those guys would have to be extraordinary. Having said that, Carrasco is owed $12M and Ramirez is owed $9M.
 

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It will be interesting to see what happens. I'd guess any contract, regardless of size, better have value or it will not be retained. Any of those players going into arbitration or with options that have prospects waiting should be worried IMO.

Of that list I think we all agree that Lindor is as good as gone and Cimber has no value.

Hedges' $3.1M or Perez's $5.5M. Again, I can't see the Indians paying 2 similar, non-offensive C almost $9M. Maybe they will, but if they don't then which one goes?

I think Wittgren and Maton are safe. I'd guess most would agree.

DeShields and Naquin are both projected to be reasonable for what they are, but I doubt both will be back. So much depends upon the readiness of guys Bauers, Johnson, and Jones. Will they give Luplow a chance to be a fulltime player? Will Reyes be playing a corner OF to allow Bradley to DH? What's coming back from the Lindor trade? Naquin's job is certainly in question due to all the possible options. Mercado, Zimmer, and Johnson could all make DeShields' $2M salary go away too.

Looking past the arbitration eligible and options, what if they decide to cut more? Would they be open to trading Carrasco and/or Ramirez? I doubt they would at this time, but if an offer was made that allowed this team to stay competitive while removing salary then they may do it. The return for either of those guys would have to be extraordinary. Having said that, Carrasco is owed $12M and Ramirez is owed $9M.
I do agree not all the OFs will be retained, but which one will go, that I dont know yet. My guess is Zimmer or DeShields, leaning towards Zimmer personally.

Carrasco they pretty much cannot trade right now, value is too low vs his contract to merit getting anything back, plus the PR hit they would take within the clubhouse itself. JRams value is very high, so his return should be greater than Lindors so of the two, only JRam would net us a worthy return.
 

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I do agree not all the OFs will be retained, but which one will go, that I dont know yet. My guess is Zimmer or DeShields, leaning towards Zimmer personally.

Carrasco they pretty much cannot trade right now, value is too low vs his contract to merit getting anything back, plus the PR hit they would take within the clubhouse itself. JRams value is very high, so his return should be greater than Lindors so of the two, only JRam would net us a worthy return.
Zimmer's ability far exceeds DeShields on both sides of the ball, but can he realize that ability again?

Carrasco's value it too low? I actually think he removed any doubts that he's healthy again. I know there were a few questions about his stamina early in the season but the last few games looked great. After all he finished the season with a 2.91 ERA and was holding his velocity late in his starts. $12M for a starter of his caliber is a pretty nice bargain these days.

Good Lord! This roster is a mess right now from a positional point of view. It's so bad to me that I'm ready to deal all of Lindor, Ramirez and Carrasco and load up with high ceiling prospects ready to prove themselves at the highest level. They've done that with the pitching staff, now they may need to do the same with the line up.
 

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Trades, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco and more trades: Meisel’s Mailbox

By Zack Meisel Oct 16, 2020 22

CLEVELAND — Before the October calm transitions into an offseason storm, let’s open the mailbox and answer some questions.

Who is the most likely player to start Opening Day 2021 who did not start a game in 2020? — Douglas F.
The most likely candidate would be a position player who isn’t in the Indians organization at the moment, someone acquired in a trade for Francisco Lindor or a starting pitcher or a prospect.
If we restrict the answer to a current member of the organization, the top contenders would be Nolan Jones, Bobby Bradley, Jake Bauers and Owen Miller. Had there been a minor-league season in 2020, Tyler Freeman and Gabriel Arias might have received consideration, but neither middle-infield prospect has reached Double A.
The Indians might prefer Jones start the season at Triple-A Columbus after such an abnormal year (and so they can manipulate his service time). They haven’t seen much of Miller yet, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he headed to Columbus as well. Bradley and Bauers could vie for a vacant first base gig if Carlos Santana doesn’t return. Since Bauers can also play corner outfield, and there figures to be an opening there as well, he’s the choice for this exercise. But by no means should that suggest that the odds of him starting on April 1 are favorable.
What are the important offseason dates with regard to club/player options, Winter Meetings, when the hot stove might heat up, MLB TV network negotiations … basically anything related to the financial/roster situation of the team? — Cody T.
Following the conclusion of the World Series, teams have a few days to exercise or decline players’ 2021 club options. For the Indians, that includes Carlos Santana ($17.5 million; not happening), Brad Hand ($10 million; maybe if they think they can trade him, but otherwise doubtful), Roberto Pérez ($5.5 million; I’d think so, though the acquisition of Austin Hedges was so odd) and Domingo Santana ($5 million; they’re more likely to sign the league’s top seven free agents than exercise this).
The deadline for extending qualifying offers to potential free agents is five days after the end of the World Series. No, the Indians won’t be submitting one-year, $18.9 million proposals to Oliver Pérez or César Hernández or Sandy León.
Shane Bieber will claim his AL Cy Young Award on Nov. 11. José Ramírez will learn of his AL MVP Award fate on Nov. 12. The top rookies and managers in each league will be unveiled earlier that week.
After incessant debate and campaigning, the most significant voting results will be revealed on Nov. 3, of course: the Gold Glove winners.
Teams must set their 40-man rosters by Nov. 20 in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft, which will take place three weeks later. Teams have until Dec. 2 to tender a contract to arbitration-eligible players. Expectation across the league is that we’ll see a record number of non-tendered players, which will create an overflowing free-agent class.
The annual Winter Meetings are scheduled for Dec. 6-10 in Dallas, but, well, it’s hard to envision the league permitting several thousand people to pack a hotel lobby like a sardine can during a pandemic. That said, for years, Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff have been practicing social distancing during the meetings by converting their hotel suite into a rarely abandoned bunker stocked with granola bars and water bottles.
As for the hot stove, early on, there will likely be an overwhelming number of cuts and trade rumors involving high-priced commodities. Free agency could move at a Melky Cabrera-like pace, given the expected surge in supply and the lack of demand.
There will be no Tribe Fest in 2021, the team announced this week. The Indians’ first spring training game is slated for Feb. 27 against the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. The Indians and Tigers are scheduled to battle on Opening Day on April 1 at Comerica Park.
Who do you think is the best match for a Lindor trade this winter? I think it’s the Braves if they’ll make Christian Pache or Drew Waters available, especially if they don’t end up winning a World Series this year. — Michael J.
Sure, the Braves could make some sense. The Mets, Dodgers, Marlins, Angels, Phillies, Yankees, Reds or Blue Jays could be a match. There’s always room for a Mystery Team during hot stove season, too.
There’s a lot for teams to weigh. First, do they need a shortstop? Are they comfortable paying (an immensely gifted) one a salary north of $20 million? Are they comfortable parting with a skilled young player or two or three?
And the variable in all of this: Would acquiring Lindor this winter provide a head start for a team aiming to retain him for the long haul? Or is this strictly a one-year rental before Lindor sparks a free-agency bidding war?

Daniel Johnson, opening day right fielder? (Ken Blaze / USA Today)
Do you have any insight as to why Daniel Johnson got such limited exposure in 2020, especially considering the abysmal performance of everyone else out there? And will he get a fair shake in 2021? — Chip P.
That one never made much sense to me. At minimum, he should be in the mix for a platoon role in 2021. He and Jordan Luplow could form an effective pairing. Perhaps Johnson will prove he deserves daily at-bats regardless of the pitcher’s handedness.
Johnson received only 13 plate appearances in 2020. The year before, split between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, he posted a .290/.361/.507 slash line. He fared better against righties, but he still logged a .780 OPS against lefties. His splits were much more pronounced in 2018. If the Indians don’t feel inclined to pay Tyler Naquin around $1.5 million in arbitration, Johnson seems ready to contribute.
What are you going to do this offseason without all of the usual stash of Marriott points? — Matt W.
Daydream. And cry.
What are the Indians going to do with their Columbus, Akron, Lake County and Mahoning Valley franchises? — Robert B.
Antonetti said recently that the league has instructed the organization to plan to have four, full-season minor-league affiliates (Columbus, Akron, Lynchburg and Lake County). They will also maintain their daily baseball activities at their complexes in Arizona and in the Dominican Republic. For the last year, there has been plenty of talk about minor-league contraction and conversion. The agreement between MLB and MiLB expired on Sept. 30.
Based on this year’s economic situation, I fully expect the payroll to take a hit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see payroll down by close to $30 million. That said, with the lack of minor-league playing time, I’m worried about bringing young guys up to start after essentially sitting for a year. A Bradley/Bauers/Naylor, Chang/Miller, Freeman and Ramírez infield concerns me for 2021. I believe a Lindor trade would net a young, everyday outfielder and (call me optimistic) alleviate many questions in the outfield.
That said, should I be worried with such a youth movement right after a season of no minor-league ball? And I know we won’t break the bank, but adding a FA rental like Jonathan Schoop or Jurickson Profar, or bringing Hernández and Santana back (on the cheap) would seem to make the transition a bit easier, no? — Chris S.

The pandemic has messed with every team’s timeline. Teams obviously plan several years in advance, knowing certain hurdles — such as a lack of player growth or an injury — can obstruct that blueprint. No one could plan for such a widespread hindrance, though. So, I posed a similar question to Antonetti.
“Not having a minor-league season impacted 160 players,” he said. “And how that affects how we plan and which players may be able to contribute at the major-league level, it just makes that way more complex to figure out. And so I think what we’ll challenge ourselves to do is try not to make generalizations or throw up our hands on it, but really dig in at a player level and think about where they are in their development. What could we expect for them next year?”
Jones received an invite to big-league camp in spring training, so he might be close enough to the majors that his timeline won’t be significantly disrupted. But for other players, the Indians might need some time (and some tangible results) early next season to determine exactly where they stand after receiving limited instruction in 2020. For instance, in a pandemic-free world, Freeman might have ascended from High A to Triple A this season. Instead, after a summer of sim games in Eastlake and an October full of instructional games in Arizona, what level will he be capable of tackling next year?
Hernández would be a good fit for the Indians again in 2021, as they attempt to sort out everything else. As always, money and markets will dictate whether that’s realistic.
I’ve heard some speculate that given the financial woes, there is a possibility that even Carlos Carrasco could be traded. Do you think this is possible? And if so, that would leave the fifth spot in the rotation open to Cal Quantrill, Scott Moss, Logan Allen and Adam Plutko. Could you give a mini-breakdown of each of those four? — Ryan J.
I covered the Carrasco case in this week’s trade tiers piece. No matter Carrasco’s whereabouts, the Indians have an abundance of young, major league-ready starting pitchers, including the four you mentioned.
They want to learn whether Quantrill’s future resides in the rotation, and he said he prefers to start. The Indians know what they have in Plutko, a guy who has filled a variety of roles for the club the last few years. He is out of minor-league options.
Moss and Allen have little left to prove in the minors. Moss turned 26 this month and he reached Triple A with the Indians in 2019. Allen, 23, a former Top 100 prospect, has made 12 appearances over the last two seasons.
It wouldn’t shock me if the Indians flipped a young starting pitcher for a similarly aged and skilled position player. As it stands, Bieber, Carrasco, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, Triston McKenzie, Quantrill, Moss, Allen and Plutko are all worthy of big-league spots. The Indians probably won’t go with a nine-man rotation, though.
 

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Cleveland Indians trade tiers: Who’s movable and who’s untouchable this winter?

By Zack Meisel Oct 13, 2020 71
CLEVELAND — Chris Antonetti’s phone should be buzzing with regularity this winter. There’s plenty of uncertainty clouding the free-agent and trade markets, but the Indians are headed for an offseason of nips and tucks (and slashes).
So, let’s examine which players the Indians might deal and which names are taboo for opposing general managers to even utter. For this exercise, we’ll exclude those who are eligible for free agency and those who have club options for the 2021 season. (Of that bunch, only Brad Hand would have any trade value and, if he’s tethered to a $10 million salary, it might not be much.)
Don’t bother calling
Shane Bieber: Antonetti would rather receive a call about the upcoming expiration of his car’s factory warranty than a call inquiring about Bieber’s availability. If anything, the Indians ought to explore giving Bieber an extension. He’s under team control for four more years, and he’s slated to earn the league minimum again in 2021 even though he might be a unanimous Cy Young Award winner.
José Ramírez: He should be an MVP finalist for the third time in four seasons, and he could even win the hardware this year. The Indians will lean on him even more next season as they try to patch together a lineup around him. Ramírez is under contract for $9.4 million in 2021, with club options for $11 million and $13 million for 2022 and 2023.
Hanging up in 3 … 2 … 1 …
Zach Plesac: He flashed his potential this season (a 2.28 ERA and a 57-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio) and he’s under team control through the 2025 season. That’s precisely what this organization covets, and it’s why the next few guys on the list fall into the same category. Unless the team can flip a starter for a similarly young, controllable position player, these guys should stick around for a while.
Triston McKenzie: By the time McKenzie is eligible for free agency, Carlos Carrasco will be approaching his 40th birthday. In his first taste of the big leagues, after not appearing in an actual game for two years and having never pitched above Double-A, McKenzie submitted a 3.24 ERA across 33 1/3 innings with a healthy walk and strikeout rate and an opponent batting average of .179.
Aaron Civale: Civale was the first starting pitcher the club drafted in 2016 (third round), one round ahead of Bieber and nine ahead of Plesac. The soft-spoken righty struggled in late September but has demonstrated he can be a reliable rotation piece.
Cal Quantrill: If the Indians are confident Quantrill can make a fruitful transition to the rotation, that could increase the chances a starter is dealt for a desperately needed position player. Think about this: A Bieber/Plesac/Civale/McKenzie/Quantrill rotation has loads of potential … and all five will make the league minimum in 2021 (and only Bieber will be arbitration-eligible before 2023).
Franmil Reyes: The massive individual with the larger-than-life personality has loads of power potential, but he only showcased it for a few weeks this season. From Aug. 6 to Sept. 2, he batted .418 with a 1.201 OPS. Overall, though, his numbers were rather pedestrian (.795 OPS, nine home runs). For a team that needs any semblance of offense it can find, Reyes is a pivotal part of the future, especially if he can prove he belongs in the outfield.
Josh Naylor: His two postseason games reminded everyone why he was a well-regarded hitting prospect. His defensive assignment is up in the air (a replacement for Carlos Santana at first base, perhaps?), but the Indians will likely give him a chance somewhere in 2021, and he won’t turn 24 until late June.
James Karinchak: He’s the leading candidate for the 2021 closer role (though watching him excel in an Andrew Miller/Cody Allen-type fireman role would be fascinating and perhaps more effective), and he’s young and inexpensive.

Emmanuel Clase should be back in business in 2021. (Ross D. Franklin / AP)
Selling low wouldn’t make much sense
Emmanuel Clase: His potential remains high, but his value is at a low point after a season-long suspension. On a graph, that point would be plotted onto the “trade highly unlikely” quadrant. Plus, something positive has to come out of the Corey Kluber trade for one of the teams, right?
Jordan Luplow: Luplow didn’t feast on lefties quite like he did in 2019, but he still posted a .781 OPS against them, and for a team seeking any outfielders with a pulse, that’s a valuable quality, especially coming from a guy who isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2024 season.
Oscar Mercado: The Indians still believe in Mercado, who registered a .348 OPS in 93 plate appearances this season. Antonetti even noted how Mercado impressed the front office with his self-assessment during his exit interview.
Maybe, if it lines up just right
Carlos Carrasco: In a vacuum, he’s a perfectly sensible trade candidate. The Indians have plenty of inexpensive starting pitching depth. Carrasco, who will turn 34 in March, is in line to earn $12 million each of the next two years with a $14 million club option (or $3 million buyout) for 2023. He’ll also soon gain 10/5 rights (10 years of service time, five with one team), at which point he’ll have to approve any trade.
But there’s a significant sentimental component to this. Carrasco means a lot to the organization, to the community, to the clubhouse and to the pediatric cancer patients he regularly visits at the Cleveland Clinic. He has signed a pair of team-friendly contract extensions in part because he wants to be with this franchise. His health and his age complicate his trade value, too.
He made his major-league debut with the Indians on Sept. 1, 2009. It’s difficult to envision him in another uniform.
Roberto Pérez: It’s a bit strange that the Indians acquired Austin Hedges, who earned $3 million last season, boasts a similar skill set to Pérez, but amassed only 12 at-bats after landing in Cleveland in the Mike Clevinger trade. Hedges is again eligible for arbitration this winter and will likely command a similar salary. Will the Indians actually pay two light-hitting, Gold Glove-caliber catchers $9 million or so in 2021? Pérez has a $5 million club option for 2021 and a $7 million club option for 2022.
Bradley Zimmer: Where does he fit moving forward? Is he a backup outfielder? A late-inning speed and defense guy? Zimmer will turn 28 next month. He hasn’t played anything resembling a full season since 2017.
Phil Maton: For a minute, it seemed as though Maton might never allow a run. Then, the high-leverage situations started to have their way with him. He’s included in the team’s plans for next year, but he’s certainly not standing atop the bullpen pecking order.
Nick Wittgren: He’s the club’s only reliever (not including Hand) slated to earn more than the league minimum. Wittgren has been a steady force for two years since the Indians snagged him from the Marlins in exchange for Jordan Milbrath.
Let’s talk
Francisco Lindor: Oh, there will be talks. Dealing him will be more complicated than it would have been a year ago, thanks to a murky, COVID-19-clouded trade market. He’s due for a 2021 salary north of $20 million, via arbitration. And after that, he’s bound for free agency, unless a team that acquires him this winter can dangle enough dollars in front of him to convince him to stay. Without knowing the likelihood of a long-term marriage, how much will another team be willing to part with, in terms of young talent, for only one guaranteed year of Lindor’s services? The Indians don’t have a ton of leverage here.
Delino DeShields: A non-tender candidate, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Indians to pay DeShields while also having Mercado and Zimmer in the mix. Then again, we could have said that before the 2020 season, too.
Tyler Naquin: Another non-tender candidate, Naquin was dismal at the plate this season (.218/.248/.383 slash line), and with Daniel Johnson knocking on the door and Nolan Jones learning the outfield, there might not be room for Naquin.
Adam Plutko: He’s out of minor-league options, and given the starting pitching depth the team boasts, it’s difficult to see where Plutko fits. That said, he is still a year away from arbitration eligibility, and he has emerged as one of the clubhouse leaders. (Lindor is the team’s player rep and Plutko is the assistant player rep. Will either return in 2021?)
Mike Freeman: The Indians have younger options capable of filling the utility role (Yu Chang, for one). Freeman is 33 but still a year away from arbitration eligibility.
Adam Cimber: He only logged 11 innings for the Indians in 2020. If he hangs around, he seems destined to compete for a bullpen spot with a host of other candidates.
Austin Hedges: The man who made the final out of the Indians’ 2020 season could supplant Pérez as the primary catcher, could serve as Pérez’s backup, could be non-tendered or could be traded.
 

TFIR

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I would think Meisel's opinions here hold significant weight. Go to it!
 
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Expectation across the league is that we’ll see a record number of non-tendered players, which will create an overflowing free-agent class....Free agency could move at a Melky Cabrera-like pace, given the expected surge in supply and the lack of demand.

This gives me hope the Indians can afford to sign a Cesar Hernandez or Carlos Santana or maybe a productive DH type which would move Reyes to right field and at least solve one outfield problem. Or just sign an outfielder.

I'm wondering if the agents for these non-tendered players will advise them to sign early and for less than they were hoping so as not to be the last player standing when the music stops. If the belief is that some teams will be so strapped that they will just go with a Yu Chang or Owen Miller as their Opening Day starter rather than pay $5 million for a Cesar Hernandez then maybe the veterans will just take a one-year COVID pay cut in hopes of having a good year and making the money back next year rather than be left without a big league job in 2021.
 

TFIR

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Yeah I think that will be an individual thing with it occurring quite a bit. Hoping Carlos and Cesar are those kinds of guys.

We worry about payroll reductions but this will be very, very common. So there will be less costly bargains out there! Like Cesar was last offseason.

Our organization happens to be pretty good at spotting those types. Please don't point out the misses - if you swing sometimes you'll miss. For every Cesar there's a Domingo.
 

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