The Cleveland Indians are an interesting case study this season.
At 42-42, the club is eight games back of first place in the American League Central and five games back of a playoff spot in the Wild Card race.
Things are looking bleaker by the day.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) July 7, 2021
The team’s rotation has been its downfall this year.
Between injuries and a lack of depth, Cleveland’s staff has been unwatchable at times.
While many fans would like to see that area addressed at the deadline, the rotation may be damaged beyond repair as it pertains to this particular season.
It needs a facelift.
And with the Indians already struggling to stay afloat in the playoff race, it might be a mistake to act as buyers this season.
There is too much work to be done, and the makeover should happen in the offseason instead.
Selling is the best option at this point.
If Cleveland does decide to punt on the remainder of the 2021 campaign, the team should consider trading away two players in particular to maximize the deadline return.
2. Eddie Rosario – OF
Simply because Eddie Rosario’s contract expires at the end of the season, the Indians should unload the 29-year-old.
He is having a difficult 2021 campaign but has had some really solid seasons in the past.
During his six-year tenure with the Minnesota Twins, Rosario batted .277 with a .788 OPS and a highly serviceable 110 OPS+.
He averaged 28 home runs per 162 games over the span.
“That’s one of my favorite Eddie Rosario home runs right there.”
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) September 26, 2019
The former fourth-round pick finished with an OPS of .800 or better for three straight seasons from 2017 to 2019.
That should give you an idea of the player he is capable of being.
But in 2021, he is batting just .254 with a .685 OPS.
He’s getting on base at a very poor .296 clip and has a low 0.4 WAR.
The Indians will have to hope that Rosario’s proven past will help bolster his trade value.
After all, several contending teams could use some outfield depth.
1. Blake Parker – RP
Like Rosario, Blake Parker is in the final year of his deal.
The key difference is that Parker’s value is at a high right now.
Over 13 relief appearances this season, Parker has pitched to a 3.18 ERA, 146 ERA+, and 4.05 FIP.
The sample size has been small, but when you compound it with the fact that Parker managed a 2.81 ERA over 14 outings last year, there’s a real chance that a contending team will be willing to overpay.
For his career, Parker has a 3.51 ERA, 3.90 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP over nine seasons.
He is 36 years old but evidently still has something left in the tank.
Indians fans have hardly had a chance to get familiar with the righty, as the 2021 season is his first with the team, and he could be on his way out after a very short stint.
While some deadline sells are excruciating for diehard fans to watch, Cleveland’s potential sell this summer may be the opposite.
If Rosario and Parker are the two biggest names dealt, it likely wouldn’t take Indians fans very long to get over it.
After all, both players are in their first year with the team, so there isn’t much emotional attachment.