MLB Trade Speculation: Cleveland Indians Could Target Anthony Rizzo

Jim PiascikCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2011

Anthony Rizzo would be a decent addition for the Cleveland Indians.
Anthony Rizzo would be a decent addition for the Cleveland Indians.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

In their never-ending quest to find a first baseman, the Cleveland Indians could look into acquiring San Diego Padres first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

When the San Diego Padres received Yonder Alonso as a part of the package for Mat Latos, they opened up questions about their commitment to Anthony Rizzo. Padres GM Josh Byrnes has said that he feels comfortable sending Rizzo back to AAA for another year, but it has also been reported that teams have already started calling the Padres about Rizzo's availability. 

The Indians are still in need of a first baseman and would be smart to look into Rizzo. He had a terrible major league debut in 2011, but his numbers at AAA were quite impressive.

2011 Majors: 49 G, .141/.281/.242 slash line, .523 OPS (51 OPS+), .248 wOBA, 1 HR, 9 RBI, -0.4 WAR

2011 Minors: 93 G, .331/.404/.652 slash line, 1.056 OPS, .433 wOBA, 26 HR, 101 RBI

So which Rizzo is the real one? The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, but considering Rizzo was only 22 last year, it's amazing that he's already made his major league debut. He may still need some seasoning in the minors, but hitting home runs at a 40 per season pace in AAA is hardly a fluke. 

The Indians' minor league system is hardly filled with upper level talent, but Rizzo's value is pretty low right now. If the Indians offered a solid player (a Cord Phelps type) along with a high risk high reward prospect (a Jason Knapp type), the Indians might be able to get Rizzo. 

By adding Rizzo, the Indians would be taking a chance on another prospect (a la Matt LaPorta), but it would be a smart move. Just because one prospect fails doesn't mean another will as well. By adding Rizzo, the Indians would have a left-handed LaPorta — except maybe this one will work out.

The bottom line is that you just never know with prospects. If the Indians traded for Rizzo, they would be getting a young player with plenty of upside who just might be able to step into the big league lineup for 2012. It's certainly worth looking into.