As the Cleveland Indians gear up to make a run to the postseason, which players could they target on the trade market?
CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
The Cleveland Indians enter this weekend’s three-game series with the Seattle Mariners laying claim to a 32-27 record and are currently 4.5 games back of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central and 1.5 games back of the Houston Astros for the A.L.’s second Wild Card spot.
RELATED: More Cleveland Indians coverage from WKYC
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five players the Indians could target on the trade market in order to bolster their push for the playoffs.
Joey Gallo, OF, Texas Rangers
Cleveland has long needed outfield help and 2021 has been no exception. To this point, free-agent signee Eddie Rosario has been underwhelming, while Josh Naylor’s best long-term position may be at first best.
While there will likely be plenty of attractive outfielders available on the trade market, the realities of the Indians’ payroll will likely limit their options. Making $6.2 million this season, Joey Gallo (.210 batting average, .774 OPS, 11 home runs, 27 RBIs) could prove affordable while his one year of remaining arbitration could give Cleveland a potential asset to flip next offseason.
Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle Mariners
Like Gallo, Mitch Haniger is a former All-Star currently making an affordable salary ($3.01 million) with just one year of arbitration remaining on a team seemingly already out of playoff contention. After missing the entirety of the 2020 season due to injury, the right-handed hitting Haniger has appeared in 61 games this season, totaling a .258 average (.830 OPS), 16 home runs and 40 RBIs).
Adam Frazier, 2B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Cesar Hernandez has started at second base for all but one game for Cleveland this season but his production at the plate has slipped from a .283 average in 2020 to .220 so far in 2021. Adam Frazier, meanwhile, is currently hitting .329 (.862 OPS) and leads the majors in doubles (22) and hits (79).
The left-handed-hitting Frazier could either spell or platoon with Hernandez or help bolster this Indians’ outfield. His $4.3 million salary should prove affordable for this season, with his remaining year of arbitration providing flexibility for Cleveland in the offseason.
Jesús Aguilar, 1B, Miami Marlins
The Jake Bauers era in Cleveland is over and while Bobby Bradley has gotten off to a strong start, the Indians could stand to upgrade their options against left-handed pitching. At 30-years-old Jesús Aguilar, is one of the older names on this list, but his production at the plate — he’s hitting .269 (.814 OPS) with 12 home runs and a National League-best 47 RBIs this season — would be a welcome addition to the Cleveland lineup.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies
While the four other players on this list each have one year of arbitration remaining, C.J. Cron would be a strict rental, as he signed a minor league contract with Colorado ahead of the start of the 2021 season. Like Aguilar, the 31-year-old Cron — who is hitting .255 (.774 OPS) with five home runs and 14 RBIs this season — is an experienced right-handed bat who could add a dynamic the Indians’ lineup currently lacks.