Cleveland Indians: 3 Post-Deadline Moves the Tribe Could Still Make

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Cleveland Indians: 3 Post-Deadline Moves the Tribe Could Still Make
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians didn't make much noise at the MLB trade deadline. The team chose to add Marc Rzepczynski in an attempt to shore up what has been a shaky bullpen in 2013.

The team's left-handed relief situation has been abysmal in 2013, and while Rzepczynski may help to clean that up, there's no guarantee that he'll be enough of an addition to warrant ignoring other options.

For teams in the situation the Indians find themselves in, there are still options. Players who clear waivers can be claimed or traded for, and it provides savvy, forward-thinking teams the opportunity to add pieces they missed out on at the deadline.

Beyond the potential for a waiver deal is the idea of adding from within. The Indians have a few impact prospects who could step in and make their mark in a big way at the major league level.

For the Indians, there are several potential additions to be made in the bullpen, starting rotation and possibly the infield. Those three areas are the ones we'll look at here as we examine several moves the Indians could still make this season.

The Indians roster, in its current form, could make a run at the postseason, but should they falter, changes will need to follow. Even if they keep pace with the rival Detroit Tigers, the team may look to make a move or two in order to put them over the top.

Here are three moves the Indians could still look to make.

 

Trade for Javier Lopez

The Indians were rumored to have interest in Giants' reliever Javier Lopez prior to the trade deadline. The Giants demanded prospect Danny Salazar in return, and the potential for a deal became nonexistent (per Paul Hoynes).

Salazar is scheduled to make another spot start on Wednesday against the Tigers, giving further credit to the idea that the front office isn't going to part with him for anything less than a top-tier player (via ESPN.com).

Despite being unable to come to terms on a deal to move Lopez, the Giants may still be inclined to move the veteran lefty. Given his impending free-agent status, the Giants could look to cash in on his remaining value.

Having been rumored as a trade partner prior to the deadline, the Indians would again make sense as a landing spot for Lopez if one of two things happens, the first being that newcomer Rzepczynski completely flops with the Tribe.

Rzepczynski has never been a huge part of any bullpen. His career numbers are solidly underwhelming—4.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 178 appearances. Beyond that though, his numbers this season are hardly awe-inspiring.

In 12 appearances at the big league level, the 27-year-old owns a 7.15 ERA with a 1.77 WHIP. After those 12 outings, Rzepczynski was sent down to Triple-A Memphis, where he's posted a 3.05 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP and per-nine ratios of 6.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.72 K/BB and 8.9 H/9.

Rzepczynski's 3.05 ERA at Triple-A is somewhat inspiring given the 7.15 mark he posted at the big league level prior to his demotion, but his per-nine ratios in Memphis, if translated to the major league level, would represent totals worse than his career averages.

Rzepczynski did have a successful first outing with the Tribe, posting a perfect inning against the Marlins on Aug. 2.

The other possibility is that the addition of Rzepczynski just isn't enough to solidify the Indians' bullpen. 

If either of these two ideas come to fruition, Lopez could be the perfect addition. Since 2008, Lopez owns a stellar set of ratios, including a 2.69 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, 6.5 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.66 K/BB and 8.2 H/9.

Lopez possesses some stellar splits, including a .215/.299/.305 slash line against lefties. Although he isn't great against righties—.300/.386/.425—he is better at what he does than Rzepczynski.

Due to the Giants' failure to move Lopez at the deadline, the asking price could come down significantly, leading to the possibility of a post-deadline deal for the Indians.

 

Trade for Michael Young

Lonnie Chisenhall has been dreadful in 2013. Over 59 games with the Tribe, the 24-year-old owns a .237/.281/.389 slash line to go along with six home runs, 26 RBI and 20 runs scored.

Chisenhall's offensive numbers aren't horrible. Consider how those numbers would translate over a 162 game season.

Lonnie Chisenhall PA AB H 2B HR RBI R K BB
162-game averages 579 543 129 32 16 71 54 109 27

Chisenhall's numbers, as you can see, aren't as bad when placed in a certain context. However, there are some issues here, including his alarmingly poor 4:1 K/BB ratio through 59 games this year.

In addition to that, Chisenhall has been a sufficiently below average fielder over the course of his career. Although he's made 33 plays out of his fielding zone (OOZ), Chisenhall owns a -4.6 UZR in his career and, given his less-than-stellar slash line, the Indians could look for some outside help.

Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images
Young may not be the player he once was, but he can still help a team in the playoff hunt

Michael Young was one of the biggest names on the trading block heading into the trade deadline. Young is an adept hitter capable of hitting the ball to all fields. Along with that, he'd be a slight upgrade defensively.

Young is a career .300/.346/.442 hitter with 162-game averages of 16 home runs, 86 RBI, 95 runs scored and a stellar 102:48 K/BB ratio. 

Young is slashing .273/.338/.398, and although those mark substantial departures from his career averages, Young brings a solid OBP along with a great veteran presence.

Playoff experience is a key component to a stretch run, and Young brings plenty of it—34 games worth to be exact—including two trips to the World Series as a member of the Texas Rangers.

 

Promote Danny Salazar Permanently

The Indians may be apprehensive to do this, but Salazar could find his way into the rotation permanently prior to season's end.

As discussed in my previous piece, the Tribe's rotation has been better as of late. Most recently, Corey Kluber turned in 7.1 innings of six-hit, one-walk baseball. Kluber struck out six in what amounted to a solid display of pitching ability, only to have his win blown by Chris Perez.

The starting rotation has been better lately. Even the wildly inconsistent Ubaldo Jimenez owns a stellar 3.01 ERA dating back to May 27. 

There's still some worry though as to how long the rotation—mainly Jimenez and Scott Kazmir—can keep up its current pace. If and when they do falter, the team would do well to call upon Salazar to become a mainstay in the starting rotation.

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Salazar was outstanding in his first start with the Tribe. Should the opportunity arise, they ought not hesitate to promote him permanently.

Salazar boasts an impressive 2.70 ERA in 13 starts—14 total appearances—with the Tribe's Triple-A affiliate in Columbus. 

The 23-year-old righty was called up once already this season and tossed a gem against the Toronto Blue Jays. Over 6.1 innings pitched, Salazar dominated the Jays, allowing just one run on two hits and a walk, while striking out seven.

Salazar, as previously mentioned, is slated to start against division rival Detroit on Wednesday night. His start will carry significant weight in the organization's decision as to whether or not he remains with the team on a long-term basis in 2013.

Salazar's promotion will depend largely on two things: how the aforementioned start goes, and how the rest of the starting staff holds up over the season's final two months. Should Jimenez or Kazmir falter, Salazar would be the next in line to take their place.

 

All stats come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are current through play on Aug. 5, 2013.

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