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2021 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians
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The Cleveland Indians were able to sweep the Kansas City Royals entering the All-Star break. The problem is, they were riding a nine-game losing streak and fell to eight games back of the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead. While the ship is starting to sail on the Indians winning the division, they still have a very good shot to snag a Wild Card spot.

However, they are going to have some tough decisions to make at the July 30 trade deadline. Do they look into trading players with expiring contracts? Do they start to discuss a Jose Ramirez trade? Or will they become buyers and try to make a second-half run at the postseason. Either way, the Indians will look a lot different after the trade deadline.

Make sure to check out all of our other Trade Deadline Previews.

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Current Position

Record: 45-42
Rank: Second in AL Central (8.0 GB)
Status: Buyers & Sellers

The Indians have never been strictly “buyers” or “sellers” at the deadline. After the Francisco Lindor trade in the offseason, many speculated that the Indians may be heading towards a full rebuild. Those talks quickly diminished when they jumped out to a great start and we’re keeping pace with the White Sox. Injuries to top players like Ramirez, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, and Franmil Reyes really took their toll on the team and they are now fighting to keep above .500. Even with all the injuries and uncertainty, the Indians are in a good spot to be able to offload some expiring contracts, while also having enough prospects at their disposal to bring in some pitching or perhaps a solid bat.

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Trade Candidates (Sellers)

Eddie Rosario, Outfield

Rosario signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Indians after being the team’s No. 1 enemy for years with the Twins. The 29-year-old was a great signing for a team that needed a consistent outfield bat. However, with a slash of .254/.296/.389 with only seven home runs and a WAR of 0.5, Rosario has not really worked out the way the Indians had envisioned. If the team continues its downward spiral, trading Rosario to a team looking to juice up for a playoff run could be a worthwhile trade. While the return will not be great, it is better than watching him walk away in free agency.

Cesar Hernandez, Second Base

It seemed like the Indians struck gold again with Hernandez after the 2020 Gold Glove winner re-signed with the Indians on another one-year deal. While the power numbers are way up from last year, his defense has been quite horrendous. His seven errors are the most on the team and a -4 Rdrs has been very disappointing. Much like Rosario, a team looking to add an above-average player for a postseason run will definitely be calling the Indians to ask about Hernandez. There is growing sentiment in the organization that the team is ready to bring up some of its top talent from the farm. If they are committed to that, flipping Hernandez for a prospect or two would be a very logical decision.

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Trade Candidates (Buyers)

Kyle Gibson, RHP, Texas Rangers

The first time all-star’s value has never been higher and the Rangers will look to take advantage of that. Not only would Gibson be an excellent addition to a rotation that is desperate for some depth and healthy arms, but he is also locked into 2022 on a team-friendly $7 million.

With a 2.29 ERA, 88 SOs, and a WHIP of 1.069 in 102.0 IP, the Rangers will most likely be asking for a lot in return. While the Rangers have proven that they don’t care about a player’s value and will not trade away pieces unless they get a deal to their liking, teams like the Indians will be calling and offering up some big-time prospects for Gibson.

Adam Frazier, Second Base, Pittsburgh Pirates

Yes, the Indians will not be afraid to go after all-star talent this year. The 29-year-old all-star is currently batting .330 with 115 hits, both of which lead the NL. If the Indians do indeed trade someone like Hernandez, Frazier would be a good player to look at, especially since he is locked up for next year as well. It is all but confirmed that the Pirates will look to maximize Frazier’s value right now. At his age, he does not make sense for the Pirates to hold onto. Especially since they will get a boatload for him. While his price tag might be a little too much for the Indians’ liking, they are one of the few teams that have the young talent to make a deal work.

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