Knock on wood. Absent a major team-wide meltdown or seriously rising creek over the next eight weeks, the Indians should be contenders/buyers at the July 31 trade deadline.

On offense the big areas of need are LF and 1B. Both are power positions but the Damon (.156/0/2) and Duncan (.196/3/10) platoon has not worked and at 1B Kotchman plays stellar defense but offers little run production (on pace for 55 RBI in 2012 after a recent ‘surge’). Jose Lopez offers a RH bat at 1B (.286/2/10) but it remains unclear if he is an everyday player.

The only upper level 1B/OF minor league prospect (besides LaPorta or Canzler) is Jared Goedert, a converted 1B/3B playing OF at AAA Columbus (AA: .395/5/17; AAA .333/2/8).

What outside help at 1B might be available?


Juan Guzman (Padres)

Position: 1B/LF

Stats:               AB     Avg      2B      HR       RBI       OBP        SLG       SB

2012        120   .258      12        0          18       .333        .358     3/3

2011        247    .312     22        5          44       .369        .478    9/11


vs. RHs    .298                                     1st Half      .250
vs. LHs    .321                                      2nd Half    .324

RISP         .400                                    RISP, 2 out     .429

2011            1B- 53 g (1.000)                  OF- 7 g (.990)
2012                    4 g (1.000)                 OF- 27 g (.978)

Minors:       .319 career avg. at AAA

Age:      27

Contract:      2012       $ 487k
2013           487k
2014           Arbitration eligible


— Bats RH and hits LHs well; position versatility
— Plays in a dismal park for power numbers
— Good contact, gap power and clutch run production
— 43% of hits are line drives; BA on line drives .787
— Adequate fielder with experience in LF
— Can steal a base when needed
— No contract burden, won’t require top prospects
— Blocked at 1B in San Diego by high draft choice Yonder Alonso (obtained from Reds in Mat Latos deal; 7th overall pick 2008)
— Padres in perennial rebuilding mode, might be sellers to fill multiple holes


Kevin Youkilis      (Red Sox)

Position: 1B/3B

Stats:                      AB      Avg       2B      HR      RBI      OBP      SLG

2012             70       .243         2         3        10       .316     .400

2011                        .258       32      17        80       .373     .459

Career (avg)                   .288       41      23         98       .389     .490

vs. RHs          .282                               1st Half:      .298
vs. LHs          .303                               2nd Half:     .270

RISP               .327                               RISP, 2 out     .314

Age:      33

Contract:       2012        $ 12,000,000
2013             12,000,000 (club option, $ 1,000,000 buyout)


— Just returned from DL to play 1B; Adrian Gonzalez moved to RF so rookie 3B Will Middlebrooks remains in lineup for now
— Injury prone (wrist, back, hip, sports hernia), has averaged only 126 g the last 4 years and already missed 24 g this year (back).
— As a result, his power numbers have steadily declined

2008 29 HR 118 RBI
2009 27 94
2010 19 62
2011 17 80

— Bats RH and hits LHs well but does not address LF issue
— Performance, salary and prospect/trade costs make Youkilis an unlikely choice


GABY SANCHEZ       (Marlins)

Position: 1B

Stats:                       AB      Avg      2B      HR      RBI      OBP      SLG

2012             122     .197        9         1          11     .244     .295

2011                        .266      35        19         78     .352     .427

vs. RHs         .256                                1st Half    .281
vs. LHs          .310                                2nd Half   .234

RISP               .269                               RISP, 2 out .223

Age:     28

Contract:     2012       $ 487k
2013-15    Arbitration eligible
2016           Free Agent


— Demoted to AAA by Marlins to fix his swing; may or may not be available
— NL All Star in 2011
— Bats RH and hits LHs well; played in an unfriendly hitters park so numbers may improve
— Normally hits well early so slow start a possible concern



Adam Lind (Tor/1B)
2012: .186/3/11
career: .263/27/93
bats LH
Contract: $ 5,000,000
219 g in LF but few since 2009
Reports are he is available

Carlos Lee (Hou/1B/OF)
2012: .306/4/21
career avg: .286/27/99 but power declining last few years (18 HR in 2011)
Makes $ 18.5 million; free agent end of 2012
35 years old
1,764 g in LF, few since 2010

Bryan LaHair (CHC/1B/OF)
2012: .310/10/21
minors: (6 yrs at AAA) .297/123/453
2011: .331/38/109
bats LH


  • Ryan McCrystal says:

    While I’d love Youkilis, the best option of the realistic options is probably Carlos Lee. Adding a right-handed bat that could hit 6th would be a fantastic move. And as an added bonus, he’s actually not terrible in the field. And I’d even be ok with using him in LF on occasion, he’s not significantly worse than Damon/Duncan out there.

    That said, I really would like to see LaPorta get another shot at some point in June/July before we spend money/prospects on someone like Lee.

  • Will McIlroy says:

    Youkilis would cost too much and there are obvious worries about decline, health. His contract would stone the payroll just as we (possibly) get free of Hafner.

    I agree on Lee. A solid avg/rbi guy who might be a legitimate rent-a-player down the stretch. My memories of him in LF for the White Sox are humorous, if not positive, sort of like Damon.

    Not sure SD gives up Guzman but they have a lot of holes to fill. We need consistent, productive hitters to extend innings.

    Lind might be lightning in a bottle if Bruce Fields can find his swing but he’s LH.

    I would consider a last chance for LaPorta unless the AAA staff feel he’s a mirage. If he would just stay back, not guess and learn to go the other way . . . he has the natural power.

  • Swift says:

    Even if Kotchman doesn’t start hitting, I’d be OK with keeping him at first, maybe with LaPorta lurking in Columbus, but finding an upgrade for Left Field. Kotchman is at least a major asset for defense; the Damon/Duncan duo in Left is neither a offensive nor a defensive advantage.

    I’m nervous to even say this, but in the **post-season**, playoffs are won by pitching and defense, not offense. I would much rather have a quality glove at first, particularly with all of our ground-ball pitching, then a rent-a-bat that can’t field.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I actually like Lee, but there’s no way the Indians could take on all of that salary. That means they’d have to give up more in terms of prospects to get him.

    I know attendance has been lower than expected, but they’re saving about $5 million – $7 million because of Carmona/Hernandez debacle. ($5 mil if he manages to return this year, $7 mil if he doesn’t). They spent, what, about $1.5 on Damon? They still should be able to take on some salary.

  • Will McIlroy says:

    If they picked up Lee in July the cost would be $ 3-5 million. He’s a free agent after the season and no way they can re-sign him at that level. I like Guzman as a sleeper– low cost, SD is a seller, he’s productive and could play 1B against LHs and LF against RHs. Would solve 1B/LF the next few seasons as well.

  • Rick says:

    I’ve been wondering for the past couple of weeks why the Indians wouldn’t give LaPorta a look in left. This is a team desperate for ANY offense in LF, and he can’t possibly be worse than the production they’ve gotten from the position already. Didn’t he log some time in the outfield at some point last year?

  • Will McIlroy says:


    LaPorta played in the OF in 2009 (39 g) and 2010 (7 g). The Indians kept him at 1B in 2011.

  • Medman says:

    Will, you’ve given the correct answer to start…bring up Goedert…LF, RF, 1B, 3B…has shown he can hit for power and average…and hits to the opposite field with power(grand slam to right last night…happy birthday to him….