The View Beyond Pluto: The Indians Cost-Cutting is Painful but Necessary

Dec 20, 2018
Originally published on December 19, 2018 6:09 am

The Cleveland Indians have been overhauling the roster so far this offseason. And, while some moves were anticipated with a bevy of players becoming free agents, other moves have surprised and puzzled fans. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says it's all about trimming their $134 million budget after two disappointing trips to the postseason. 

Recent moves

"They traded Yan Gomes, that was $7 million for some prospects. They shipped Yonder Alonso to the White Sox for a very marginal prospect, taking $8 million off the payroll there."

Then, in a complicated deal, they traded Edwin Encarnacion in exchange for bringing Carlos Santana back to Cleveland. "Encarnacion was going to get $25 million in 2019. Carlos over the next two years is owed $29 million. For one year of Encarnacion, they'll be able to pay Santana for two years plus $4 million more. In the Indians' mind, this is a bargain, and they've always loved Santana."

Trading one prospect for another

A second part of that deal included trading one of the Indians' top prospects -- Yandy Diaz. He went to Tampa Bay in exchange for Jake Bauers. "There was some money involved, but this wasn't a money deal," Pluto says. 

"Jake Bauers at 22-years-old is considered a top 50 prospect in baseball going into last year. Yandy Diaz is not as highly regarded nationally but he's a lifetime .300 hitter in Triple A. Tampa Bay wants Diaz, while Indians think Bauers will be a better defender and be better in the long run. And they think he'll hit for some power as he gets older. "

Parting ways with an All-Star

As expected, the Indians parted ways with outfielder Michael Brantley, who is signing a two-year, $32 million deal with Houston. "The Indians knew he was gone. They love Brantley, but the reason he didn't get three years is because he's had a series of surgeries. The Indians, meanwhile, are still shopping for outfielders."

More moves on the way

Pluto says it's painful for fans, but these are necessary moves. "It's a reality of a sport that has no salary cap."

And Pluto says the team is likely still considering trading one of their starting pitchers, but it won't necessarilty be a deal ruled by money.

"You may trade Trevor Bauer who's going to make about $12 million. Maybe you get a guy making $8 or $9 million back that plays the outfield. So, by dumping Alonso and dumping Gomes they feel it gives them some flexibilty to make some moves."

And Pluto says more moves are on the way. "Don't think that the lineup you see now is what's going to be out there in March when the season opens. There's more coming."

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