As the Indians saunter down the long and narrow path of rebuilding, it is important for the team to identify every player in the organization as either part of the rebuilding process or as a placeholder for someone who is part of the rebuilding process.
Cleveland correctly identified Austin Kearns as part of the latter, and traded the outfielder to the New York Yankees on July 30 for a player to be named later. On Friday the Indians announced that the teams agreed upon young right-hander Zach McAllister to complete the trade.
McAllister, 22, has struggled in his first season at Triple-A, but is another intriguing young arm to add to the farm system. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked him as the second best pitching prospect and fifth overall in the Yankees system.
Along with a strong minor league track record, McAllister features an 89-91 mph fastball that can touch 93 mph with sink, a plus slider, and a fringe changeup. At 6-foot-5 inches, he has a solid foundation for an innings eater near the backend of a rotation.
McAllister has struggled with the home run this season and will need to make the adjustments in the lower half of the strike zone in his second stint in Triple-A.
General Manager Chris Antonetti parlayed Kearns’ torrid April into another piece that could help the team contend in the future. Regardless if McAllister makes an impact at the big league level or not, it was worth the risk of losing Austin Kearns, the epitome of a fourth outfielder. Job well done.