Pittsburgh Pirates: Two Dark Horse Trade Partners For Adam Frazier
By Noah Wright
The Cleveland Indians seem to be very good at rebuilding on the fly. Even though they are interested in moving MVP-caliber shortstop Francisco Lindor, their overall core could still be competitive, especially with their pitching staff.
2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber leads the rotation that also houses Triston Mackenzie, Carlos Carrasco, Zach Plesac and Aaron Cilvae or Cal Quantrill. Even with them releasing Brad Hand, their bullpen is still strong and includes a handful of young arms.
Last offseason, they signed former Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez to man the key stone. Hernandez had a good year. He was an above average hitter with a .283/.355/.408 line, .335 wOBA and 108 wRC+, but also a plus defender. The Gold Glove Award winner had +6 DRS, 3.8 UZR and 1.9 range runs above average. However, it was just a one year deal and he is currently a free agent.
The Indians don’t have an immediate fix for second base. Currently sitting atop their depth chart is Taiwanees infielder Yu Chang. They could promote top third base prospect Nolan Jones and move their other MVP-caliber infielder, Jose Ramirez to second, but they seem to want to keep him at the hot corner for now. Plus, there’s no reason to rush Jones.
Production wise, Frazier and Hernandez have been almost identical throughout their careers. Hernandez has a career .322 wOBA and 99 wRC+ to Frazier’s career .323 wOBA and 100 wRC+. Frazier would also replace him defensively.
The Indians have a solid farm system, one that FanGraphs ranks 6th best in baseball. They have six prospects in the top 110. Although they might not get one of their top 110 prospects, the Indians are great at identifying good pitching. The last all-star starting pitcher they had that they didn’t sign internationally, draft or acquire when they were still a few years away from their Major League debut was Trevor Bauer. Getting one or two of their pitching prospects would be an ideal scenario in a Frazier trade with the Indians.