A week ago Saturday, the Indians made the long awaited move, calling up Bobby Bradley from Columbus and designating Jake Bauers for assignment.
Bauers was later traded to Seattle for a player to be named later or cash.
Since Bradley was called up, the Tribe has scored 39 runs in six games, although Bradley hasn't appeared in all of them. That's well above their average of a little over four runs per contest.
Bradley has started off hot, going 7 for 14, with a couple of home runs and seven runs batted in. In addition to the slugging first baseman, Amed Rosario and Eddie Rosario have both picked up the pace, and with Jose Ramirez, has given Cleveland a respectable top five hitters in the order.
First of all, although it is great that Bradley is off to a good start, it's only 14 at bats, and way, way too soon to make any judgments or proclamations that he is the answer to the Tribe's offensive woes.
At the very least, Bradley should take the at bats Bauers was getting vs. right-handed pitchers, and he has already exceeded the number of RBIs the new Mariner had in 100 at bats with Cleveland. And if Bradley stays hot, give him some at bats vs. southpaws as well.
What does that mean for rookie Owen Miller, who has struggled since his call up, going 5 for 46 with 23 strikeouts. If Miller isn't going to get regular at bats, and it's hard to see that he will, he might be best served going back to AAA and getting regular playing time.
Yu Chang isn't hitting either, but he doesn't have the minor league credentials Miller does, so he stays for now, but remember Jordan Luplow will need to be activated soon, so someone will have to go.
Then you still have the outfield problem. The Indians could really use Bradley Zimmer's defense in centerfield on a daily basis, but Zimmer's strikeout problems have reared up again (16 K's and just three walks in 38 plate appearances), so it's tough to put him in the lineup everyday.
Harold Ramirez has been steady at the plate, hitting .269 with a 755 OPS, one of the better marks on the roster. We are sure the organization would like Josh Naylor's name in the lineup too. Naylor is hitting .251 with a 686 OPS, but his minor league numbers, particularly at AA and AAA, indicate he will be a productive big league hitter.
The solution could be simply starting Ramirez in center, and if the Tribe has the lead after six innings, Zimmer takes over in CF with Ramirez coming out of the game or moving to rightfield.
We understand some people are worrying about who will be replaced when Franmil Reyes returns to the active roster. To them, we will say things have a way of working out.
Besides, it's not as though the Indians have a bunch of Mike Trouts on the roster. By the time Reyes is back, someone will cool off and deserve less playing time. And if that doesn't happen, the Tribe will be in good shape for the rest of the season.
We say it all the time, sometimes it doesn't have to be a big splash move, improving the roster incrementally works too. Even making yourself slightly better helps you in the win/loss column.
Sometimes just tweaking the roster is just what the doctor ordered.