Earlier this week, the Indians consummated a deal with the Colorado Rockies that sent speedy outfielder (and strikeout artist extraordinaire) Drew Stubbs west and brought left-handed reliever Josh Outman to the North Coast. While not exactly a blockbuster deal, the trade does figure to have a significant impact on the major league roster heading into the 2014 campaign.

In the wake of the trade news, IPL writers Chris Burnham and Adam Hintz weighed in on the transaction.

Question: How do you feel about this deal?

Adam: I hate this deal, and not just because I’m President of the Cleveland chapter of the Drew Stubbs fan club. I hate this deal because it’s a thinly-veiled salary dump that takes away from our major league roster depth and adds a high-risk, low-reward arm to a bullpen not exactly in dire need of them. On the surface, Outman is a pitcher on the wrong side of his prime who is just a season removed from an atrocious campaign that saw him put up an ERA north of 8.00. The only thing this move does is save the Indians a couple million dollars (Outman will make somewhere under $1 million, whereas Stubbs will be in line for a multi-million dollar deal in arbitration. Probably something around $3-$4 million).

Chris: At least he’s not Rich Hill! It’s a Christmas miracle! And yes, while Outman did have that atrocious 2012, he basically cut that 8.19 ERA from 2012 in half in 2013, and he did that at Coors Field, so we have to take his >4.00 ERA with a grain of salt. Plus, you yourself sang the praises of Mickey Callaway after this past season, who’s to say he can’t turn Outman into a reliable arm?

Question: How do you like the fit for Cleveland?

Chris: I actually like the fit. I think with Scrabble and Outman (best name for a reliever, by the way), you have a pretty good lefty one-two punch. I mean, if Hagadone can ever figure it out, look out. Worst case scenario, the Indians have legitimate depth in the bullpen from the left-handed side, which is more than you could say about them last year.

I mean, Rich Hill. Shivers.

Adam: For the Indians, I feel like fit is secondary. This was a salary dump, where Outman makes a fraction of what Stubbs makes. I know Stubbs was a flawed player… but he was at worst a fourth outfielder for a good team. Outman is at best a depth lefty option. Cost is the lowest common denominator here, and it’s frustrating.

Can Outman be better than Hill? Sure. But I see them as very similar players.

Question: How do you like the fit for Colorado?

Chris: Probably a better fit there than he was for the Indians. If he can just make contact (a big if), he has a good chance of flipping it over for cheapies in the thin air, because it doesn’t take much. The gaps there are huge and we know he can run balls down with the best of them. But I think he fits best as a super-pinch-hitter, where they can protect him (and themselves, really) by limiting his opportunities to RUIN LIVES. He gets one shot per day to get the runner in from third. His value is his speed. In the NL, he’s better-equipped to have his skills maximized.

Adam: I agree that Stubbs is better served in both a fourth outfielder role as well as in the National League, where he will have more chances to slot in as a pinch hitter / pinch runner. I don’t love the move for Colorado because they already have Dexter Fowler, and he fills a very Stubbsian role all on his own. I will be sad to see Stubbs in another uniform, but I have to admit he is a player with enormous flaws.

For the Indians, this probably signals the end of the Carlos Santana-as-3B experiment, because I can’t see them committing to Raburn as the full time RF. We’ll likely see a primary lineup with Santana at 1B, Swisher in RF, and Raburn as a platoon guy at 3B/RF/DH. I’m okay with this, even though I think the lineup today is worse than the lineup yesterday.

Final Word:

At the end of the day, this isn’t a big move for either team. Stubbs is who he is, and Outman is who he is, and neither of those players are ever going to be the lynchpin of a championship team. If the couple million the Indians saved leads into a bigger signing later this offseason (such as an Ubaldo discount), then perhaps this deal takes on much bigger relevance.

 

13 Comments

  • The Doctor says:

    dexter fowler was traded to the astros.

    as ive said before, getting rid of stubbs is addition by subtraction. coors field may inflate his numbers, but the man is a lineup cancer in any normal park. a fast guy who can’t walk, has limited power, and strikes out in bunches is just not a very useful baseball player. we’re already overpaying bourn to do those things.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    I agree with Chris and Doc. Stubbs was not helping and $3.8M is a lot for a 4th OF on a low-budget team. That is precious dollars to be spent elsewhere. So yes, salary dump, and a good one. And we got a player at a need position. Outman reminds me of Esmil Rogers: a fringe starter with a better arm than his numbers indicate and who made a good middle reliever. The only stat that matters is BA against LH batters, and Outman did well there, just like Scrabble did for STL before we traded for him. If all he does is keep Hagadone in Columbus, that alone makes the trade worth it.

  • medfest says:

    Picking up 2.5 million in salary in this deal does not make it a “salary dump”.

    Stubbs is a talented guy who has trouble making contact and is a luxury in the Indians outfield since his biggest strength is his centerfield play.

    Outman actually put up nice numbers once he became exclusively a reliever in the second half of last season,especially against lefties.

    Given the fact the Indians rotation and the rest of the bullpen except “Scrabble” will be right handed the Indians need all the lefties they can find.

  • Adam Hintz says:

    Well, looks like I need to flesh out my point a bit more:

    -I say salary dump because I don’t think Outman is on the major league roster July 1. Essentially we gave up a player that would have slotted into our lineup at least half the time for a player I personally don’t believe helps us.

    -If the Indians wanted to reallocate money (like I said, Stubbs is flawed and probably not worth the pay raise he’s due), they could have given Joe Smith $5 mil like he wanted and non-tendered Stubbs. I think the Indians are in better shape long-term there, too.

    -Outman’s 29 and had a worse ERA away from Coors last year than he did at home. It’s highly possible that >8.00 ERA season in 2012 was the real Outman… you just can’t know any reliever’s baseline after one season.

    But like I said, if this move spurs another one (like a pitching signing), I’ll re-evaluate. But I think the Indians today are worse than the Indians a week ago and that’s frustrating.

    • KD says:

      If youre looking at Outman’s overall stats you’re missing the point completely. He’s a freaking stud against lefties. That’s what really matters.

      Plus stubbs was an overpaid and not very useful 4th outfielder. this is a win for the indians.

    • Stephen says:

      Adam, I’m starting to wonder if you’ve paid attention to the rest of the Indians offseason. You said “this probably signals the end of the Carlos Santana-as-3B experiment, because I can’t see them committing to Raburn as the full time RF.” First, of course Raburn won’t be the full time RF, that’s why they signed David Murphy. That’s the RF platoon for next year (which is why Stubbs was expendable). Swisher will still be mainly at 1B. (You also said Fowler was still with Colorado, which is also wrong but I’ll forgive that since it’s Colorado.

      Now, I won’t argue that Murphy is better than Stubbs (he certainly wasn’t last year). But trading Stubbs does nothing to the Santana at 3B experiment. Although I do hope that they use their $2.4ish million savings to get another 3B to compete with Chisenhall (and Santana).

      I wasn’t all that surprised with the trade for Outman, the Indians have had a crush on him since last July. They kept trying to trade for him before they got Scrabble. I’m not sure WHY they like him so much but that’s beside the point. I don’t see the Indians being worse now, but I would agree they aren’t that much better.

    • The Doctor says:

      Adam, assuming you agree that stubbs was, on his very best day, the tribe’s 5th outfielder who likely didn’t have a spot on the ballclub, what would you have preferred we do with him? after the murphy signing it was pretty clear something was going to have to give, and stubbs was the obvious candidate to be traded.

      unfortunately stubbs just doesn’t have much value since he’s, as noted, a player with enormous flaws. do you believe there’s an area of the club besides the bullpen where we could have improved, given that the piece to trade was stubbs? surely we couldn’t trade him for a viable third baseman or starting pitcher, which i think we’d all agree are our biggest areas of weakness.

  • Ben says:

    Raburn was never supposed to be the only option in right, that’s why the Indians signed David Murphy. They have already said that it will likely be a Murphy/Raburn platoon in right.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    I think Joe Smith was worthy of a three-year deal, given his consistent performance over a 5-year span, young age, and stated desire to stay. They are basically going to pay Axford the same salary that Smith will get, and I like Joe Smith more than Axford even if he’s not closing. So that is one point I agree on with Adam. Outman’s splits suggest that he will be solid if they use him strictly as a matchup lefty, which is what they got him for.

  • medfest says:

    I don’t see where Stubbs would play “half the time”,even if platooned in left and center he still wouldn’t play in half the games.

    Essentially,he would be a 4 million dollar a year fifth outfielder on this team,right now.He would be the 24th or 25th man on the roster,if he even made the team.

    The market for a good glove outfielder who strikes out in one third of his at bats is a small one,as noted in another series of posts.Outman may have been the best they could do.

    I’m no fan of Outman,I thought he seriously sucked the times I saw him pitch against the Tribe when he was with Oakland,but the Tribe has had him on their radar since before last season,so they must see something they like.

    I’m going to miss yelling “Shtubbsy” at the ballpark,and watching him steam around the bases, but I definitely do not think the team is weaker now than before,even if all Murphy does is replicate his season from last year the Indians will score more runs than with Stubbs.

  • Adam Hintz says:

    Confession time: I totally forgot about David Murphy. Like… there was a black hole in my consciousness where David Murphy resided.

    Anyway, remembering that this deal makes considerably more sense as Stubbs was the odd man out. I do lament the loss of speed for the Indians roster in general but it has been my understanding that SABRheads dont put a lot of stock in speed and stolen bases anyway.

    I still think Outman has a big chance to flounder, but the deal does make sense.

    Cannot believe I forgot about Murphy. Forgive me!

  • TribeTime33 says:

    I do like this trade. I think Outman is a low-risk high reward pitcher out of the bullpen. Most importantly to me, he is a lefty who gets left handed hitters out really well. Rich Hill was the worst left handed specialist I’ve ever seen. Stubbs was a very good outfielder and has a ton of speed on the bases but, he is very replaceable in the line-up and I do believe he can be replaced in the outfield. 3-4 million is to much to spend on a fourth outfielder. All in all I do agree with the deal and I was hoping we would trade Stubbs for some bullpen depth or a starting pitcher.

  • JimM. says:

    I think with all this analysis of the impact on the Indian’s roster next season (which is completely fair) I believe we’re missing an opportunity to look at it from Drew Stubbs’ POV. Maybe take his feelings, his hopes and dreams, into account

    For him I think it’s an excellent opportunity to underwhelm and disappoint in the national league.

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