Drew Stubbs: Projecting Role and Production for Indians' New Outfielder
The Cleveland Indians did some house cleaning on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The team acquired Cincinnati Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs and various new pieces in a nine-player deal that sent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald to the Reds, and reliever Tony Sipp to Arizona, according to an AP report (via ESPN).
The Tribe got various other valuable assets back in this deal, including starting pitcher Trevor Bauer and right-handed relief pitchers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw.
But what about the outfielder who will presumably replace Choo, or bump someone over to right field?
Where does he fit?
Choo was the Tribe’s everyday right fielder, but Stubbs has been a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder for his entire four-year MLB career. Center fielder Michael Brantley has experience in left field and could shift over to make room for Stubbs at his most comfortable position.
Though Choo’s departure still leaves a gap in right field, the Tribe may seek to address that concern later in the offseason.
Stubbs’ role, given his speed and superior fielding ability, will likely remain the same regardless of any deals that are made.
He’s also an especially welcome right-handed bat in a lineup that has a plethora of lefties.
How will he perform?
Stubbs’ .213 average and 14 HR may not be inspiring, but the center fielder is definitely a solid pickup defensively. Most concerning is the number of strikeouts the 28-year-old has accumulated during his short career. He led the National League with 205 Ks in 2011 and followed that up with 166 more in 2012.
Stubbs’ performance has fluctuated each season since his debut in 2009. His career numbers shake out to a .241/.312/.386/.698 slash line. He’s also stolen 30 bases twice and 40 bases once (2011).
His biggest problem, as mentioned, is not being able to make consistent contact with the ball.
Still, Stubbs was a key piece for the turnaround in Cincinnati and should be able to spark some life into Cleveland with his speed and hard hitting.
The change of scenery might help him get back on track, and the Tribe should be excited about that possibility.
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