July 18, 2012

In her post on last night’s loss Susan asked the ultimate Trade Deadline Question, “Who do we have to bargain with?”

The Answer, of course, is not much unless we are willing to trade a quality everyday player for a package of MLB talent to address specific needs.

Prior posts have examined the few tradeable assets on the major league roster and today we look at the minors where the Answer is the same. The Indians simply do not have many projectable MLB prospects to use as trade bait. Baseball America ranks the Indians’ minor league system 29 out of 30.

The last 10 years of No. 1 picks (2012 is excluded) illustrate the problem:

Lindor                       A
Pomeranz                             Traded
White                                   Traded
Chisenhall                MLB
Mills                                                           Bust
Huff                                                           Bust
Crowe                                                         Bust
Sowers                                                        Bust
Aubrey                                                        Bust

Snyder                                                 Bust

A. Miller                               Hurt/Released   (3 1st round picks; 0-3)

Guthrie                                   Traded


The current top Indians prospects (from the official website):

Lindor               SS                                          A
Howard                     SP                                         Ariz
Wolters             INF                                         A+
Barnes              RP           MLB/AAA
R. Rodriguez     INF                                         A+

C. Lee                       RP      AAA (hurt)
Adams                       SP                     AA (hurt)
Monsalve          C                                             A+
Sterling                     SP                                   A
Washington     OF                                            A (hurt)

Lavisky             C                                             A
Paulino             SS                                                   Ariz
L. Rodriguez     OF                                            A
Martinez           2B                                                    Ariz
Chen                1B                                 AA

Araujo                      SP                                      A
Sisco                        SP                                      A
R. Garcia         3B                                               A
Aguilar             1B                                 AA
McFarland                 SP         AAA

This list does not include the usual AAA stalwarts (LaPorta, Canzler, Kluber, et al) and some RP depth.

The drafts have improved the last few years but the cupboard is still thin at the higher levels (only 3 of the top 20 are in AAA- 1 of those is Barnes- and 14 are in A or A+). We can’t trade what we don’t have which brings Antonetti back to a willingness to move ML pieces (Choo and/or Perez). A big gamble (not unlike Ubaldo last year) but, based on the above, the quickest and perhaps best way to actually improve the club.

It’s hard to play serious Trade Roulette without any chips. Time to think outside the bun.

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