With the trade deadline one week away and the Indians holding a slight advantage in the AL Central, look for them to be active in the trade market over the next week. While fans will clamor for Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes, Roberto Perez, and Bryan Shaw to be traded, it is not going to happen.
Contenders don’t sell their MLB players for prospects despite the struggles they might be having this year. With that in mind, the front office will most likely be looking to add either another bat or starter to the mix. Here is a list of six names that could most likely be on the way out if a trade were to be made.
1. 3B/OF Yandy Diaz (No. 8 prospect)
Yandy Diaz would be a safer choice for a team that is not looking to completely rebuild and want a more MLB ready prospect. Diaz made the Opening Day roster for Cleveland but could not stick in Cleveland after hitting .203 in 18 games this season.
With Jose Ramirez playing at an all-star level at 3B and an outfield of Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer, and Lonnie Chisenhall/Abraham Almonte there is no room for Diaz to get a consistent number of at-bats. He has torn up minor league pitchers hitting over .300 his last three seasons there and could be a nice building block on a team out of contention.
The fact that he looked great defensively at 3B and can play the OF gives him multiple ways to make a major league roster. At 25 years old he is ready to be an everyday player for some major league team.
2.) OF Greg Allen (No. 7 prospect)
Cleveland has spent a lot of high draft picks in recent years on talented young outfielders but that has also led to a little bit of a logjam at the position looking at the future. Injuries have kept Allen in AA Akron this year but he has the tools that another team would covet.
His .416 on-base percentage and 45 stolen bases last year would be perfect for a leadoff hitter in any lineup. His discipline at the plate with only 17 more career strikeouts than walks in over 1300 plate appearances will also back up that option as a top of the order guy.
While those look great, he grades highest in the field as a rangy CF. With Zimmer occupying the face of CF in the foreseeable future, Allen is stuck.
His trade value is also a lot higher than Tyler Naquin who is having a great year in Columbus and someone the Indians will likely keep around in case of injuries with Brandon Guyer, Abraham Almonte, Lonnie Chisenhall, Austin Jackson, and Michael Brantley all spending time on the DL this season.
3.) LHP Shawn Morimando (No. 15 prospect)
Morimando enters this list as the lowest ranked prospect but that should not deter any team from being interested in what he can offer. Morimando can enter the major league level at any moment if called upon.
With Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Bauer, Tomlin, and Clevinger ahead of him on the starting depth chart Morimando will remain in the wings. Morimando is a left-handed starter that has been reliable logging at least 150 innings every season in the minors without posting an ERA over 3.75.
He has more of an upside than Ryan Merritt and could fill out as a fourth or fifth starter for a team that might be looking to move a rental for an ok prospect in return.
4.) SS Yu-Cheng Chang (No. 9 prospect)
Like Greg Allen, Cleveland was going to deal him to Milwaukee last season in exchange for Jonathan Lucroy so it is entirely possible he is on the market again.
Cleveland has the middle of the infield set for a long time with Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Erik Gonzalez all under team control through 2020 so like many others Chang may benefit from going elsewhere. He has not hit great this year with a .227 AVG in Akron but he does have an eye popping 19 home runs already this year.
That kind of power for a shortstop is rare and he is only 21 years old. As he grows, if he can continue to put the rest of his game together he can become an everyday player in the future.
5.) 1B Bobby Bradley (No. 3 prospect)
Bobby Bradley is interesting because Cleveland has a big decision on the future at 1B/DH. Edwin Encarnacion is signed through 2019 and best projects as a DH.
Carlos Santana is a free agent after the season and has struggled so far hitting just .238 with 10 home runs. With Cleveland likely to let him hit the market and Bradley not being ready until some point during next season at the earliest, do they sign someone to a one year deal to play first next year until Bradley is ready or do they go out and add a first baseman and move Bradley?
If they move Bradley someone is going to get a big bat because that is what he is. In his two full seasons in the minors he has hit 27 and 29 home runs respectively. He has added another 17 in Akron this season.
He does need to cut down the strikeouts with 438 strikeouts in 371 games but he does offer that game changing power from a big first baseman.
6.) RHP Triston Mckenzie (No. 2 prospect)
If I am the front office, I would have to say Francisco Mejia is off-limits especially after they saw how the Lucroy trade could have gone in retrospect. The current state of the catchers on the roster is abysmal at best.
While we would all love to see Mejia come up and add the bat to the majors, defensively he is not quite there just yet. So if Cleveland wants to make a splash in a trade and land a big name player like a Yu Darvish or Sonny Gray, Triston Mckenzie would have to be the price.
Mckenzie has the stuff to be a top of the order guy for any team. In 36 career starts in the minors, he has a 2.22 ERA with 255 strikeouts in 199 innings with a WHIP under one. Opponents are also hitting just .186 against him this year in Lynchburg.
He is on track to make a quick ascent through the minors at this rate and has yet to turn 20 years old. He joined Mejia as the only Indians players to play in the Futures game this all-star break and should only be moved if they can add a piece they feel will take them over the top to become World Series favorites.