July 24, 2014

Olney: Indians should trade Cabrera, Santana, Choo, Masterson, Perez and Pestano

In a recent column penned solely with the goal of discussing what the Cleveland Indians should do in the offseason following one of the most depressing and disheartening seasons in recent memory, ESPN’s Buster Olney believes that Chris Antonetti should hoist the white flag on the contention window that never opened. The first course of action being trading every player who has a modicum of present-day value for future potential.

The impetus of such: “Cleveland doesn’t have a good farm system in the eyes of rival evaluators,” writes Olney, “and in particular, the Indians lack quality starting pitching at the big league level and in the minors.” Chief among these moves include shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, catcher Carlos Santana and closer-in-waiting Vinnie Pestano.

For Asdrubal Cabrera: “He’s an All-Star-caliber player just days away from his 27th birthday, and the Indians could get a nice package of prospects for him — especially pitching prospects.” Here, we ignore the fact that Chris Antonetti stated that Cabrera is the team’s shortstop of the future.

For Carlos Santana: “Around baseball, there are growing questions about whether his future is as a catcher, or whether he will become a first baseman.” Again, the goal is to obtain pitching.

For Pestano: “By the time Cleveland rebuilds its rotation to the point where it can contend again, Pestano will be far enough along in his service time when he would start to get expensive.”

Olney also discusses starting pitcher Justin Masterson, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, and closer Chris Perez, noting that a huge overhaul like this would not sit well with fans. His point, however, is that the team was already 13th among 14 American League teams when it comes to attendance; there is not much to lose.

[Related: The Aviles acquisition: Small tinkering or the first sign of major change?]

  • Garry_Owen

    “Here, we ignore the fact that Chris Antonetti stated that Cabrera is the team’s shortstop of the future.”
    Well, Chris Antonettis has said lots of stuff. Something about a “window” . . . . I’m okay with ignoring this, too.
    I’m on record as being in favor of the firesale. I don’t think I’d include Pestano and Santana, but I’m no Buster Olney.

  • Lyon25

    I’d trade a few of those guys, but if this comes to fruition, I’d be done with the Tribe. Can’t get rid of young cheap talent like Pestano just bc he might be expensive in the future. Lets at least benefit from him while we can.

  • JK

    Olney: Cleveland should quit life

  • JNeids

    I don’t disagree with him in theory, but if we did this, we might as well trade any and all major league worthy players (the few we have) for prospects, shut the doors to The Prog for a couple years and reopen them when those prospects are ready for another “window of contention.” There certainly wouldn’t be any fans coming to the games, so no point in having a “professional” team.

  • matt underwood

    Yes Yes Yes!

    This team has gaping holes in the rotation and in the corner spots on the field. If this is not done now, it will have to be done next year – the team is horrible as constructed. The front office is kidding themselves if they think they compete with Detroit (especially if they re-sigh Sanchez) or White Sox.

    Im sure it would be a PR nightmare (again), but the FO is not going to spend money so how are they going to try and improve the team? Trade players from the lower levels (only place they have assets) for ML talent. Once that is done and the 2013 falls apart, then we are really screwed.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    But what real benefit is he to us? How many times is he going to be the difference between a win and a loss over the next 2-3 seasons? We don’t hit well, don’t field well, and our starting pitching is BP-quality: how many meaningful chances is he going to get for us? I like Pestano a great deal, but sell high and get what we can.

  • Guest

    How bout instead, we find a compentent owner that’s willing to spend and we keep these players and start putting together a team that can win a world series.

  • Chris Topher McLafferty

    How bout instead, we find a competent owner that’s willing to spend and we keep these players and start putting together a team that can win a world series.

  • Dee P

    After watching Haslem react to football games once a week…..can you imagine him for baseball with games virtually every day? I don’t think he could handle it.

  • Dee P

    It may not be that bad…..Kipnis is ready to be the face of the team, and the fire sale could bring one or two major league ready youngsters that could pair with them to be the PR rescue we would need…..plus Lindor is well on his way and could be a Machado-like impact this year. I think we could sustain it. Like Olney says, it’s not like we were selling out with this crew anyway.

  • Dee P

    Agreed. Let’s not forget he is a setup man as well. No closer experience. His value is based on assumptions that he could be a good closer. His value will never be higher.

  • maxfnmloans

    “shortstop of the future”…until Francisco Lindor is ready….

  • mgbode

    yeah, I don’t think we’d get value for Pestano (see SD trading Frieri last year).
    and, we’d be selling low (I hope) on Santana.

    outside of that, yeah, everybody should be discussed and trades made where we are getting value.

  • mgbode

    also, if this was going to be our plan, then I think Sandy would be the manager and not Francona.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    What makes Olney think that we could successfully evaluate any pitching prospects? That does not seem to be our area of expertise even with data from the major league level.

  • CBI

    I wish “we” could have some say in who owns
    the Indians but we don’t. That decision is left to the few who have the
    money to buy the team or the connections to organize a group that does.
    The only thing fans can do is not show up and make owning the Indians as financially
    burdensome as possible.

  • JRS19

    Somewhat lazy journalism on the part of Olney, who in my eyes is starting to slip as a source of useful wisdom and insight. He and several other writers have identified the Oakland model as the new 2012 narrative for low-budget teams. Suddenly, every CLE, SD, PIT, and HOU can get to the playoffs if they trade anyone of value. He fails to see that it took Oakland playing an unreal second half and an epic Texas collapse the last two weeks to get to the playoffs. I’m in favor of trading Cabrera, Choo, and maybe Perez and Masterson, but I don’t think you just blow up the roster. This team needs a few bona fide major leaguers. The AL Central is weak.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    I’m all for trading away Choo, Perez, Cabrera, and maybe Masterson. But I can’t see giving up on 5 years’ club control of Santana and 4 years of Pestano unless someone knocks Antonetti’s socks off.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    What Olney left out is that he believes they should trade all of them to Boston. What a hack. How do you get better, let alone sell tickets, with no stars and a “terrible farm system”? There’s a reason why I don’t watch Baseball Tonight.

  • Garry_Owen

    Good point; however, this just makes me wonder if we have a plan at all!

  • Stinkfist

    I may be in the minority, but I think with the addition of an above average starting pitcher and either a LF or 1B with some power, the Indians could compete in the Central. Each of the last two years we saw the Indians neck-and-neck into the All Star break. If Terry Francona is the manager we saw he could be in Boston, the Indians may be able to hang on. Whatever the decision is (blow up or add), do it now.
    (interesting Olney didn’t include Kipnis in the firesale)

  • Harv 21

    don’t really get it. Trading Choo and Perez probably done, but will provide limited value b/c of position and contract status respectively.
    Astrubal – maybe brings best value but other teams know our concerns with his conditioning and second halves.
    Santana – in many ways he is a prospect himself, we’re always projecting what we claim he will be. So, what’s the quality of a prospect you get for this prospect?
    Masterson: 1 good year sandwiched by years that might more realistically reflect his quality. What pitching prospect do you get by claiming ’11 was the real him?
    Pestano: let’s say we get two dudes with some promise, one at A and one at AA, one of which might resemble Pestano quality in 3 years. Maybe. Or neither will.
    I guess Olney’s idea is a scrabble move: toss all the tiles because the next crop just might contain more keepers than this one. Since nothing’s in the pipeline and no one comes to games anyway, why not. Just curious who would be in next year’s lineup – Chiz, Brantley Kipnis and 6 Jason Donalds?

  • Porkchopexpra

    During the 80s nostalgia craze Antonetti went Miami Vice. Consequently he has no ability to judge a sock knocking offer.

  • Andrew

    “He’s an All-Star-caliber player just days away from his 27th birthday” Anyone who trades that should just give up. What is the point if you trade guys as soon as they hit their prime? I understand the Sabathia deal and, to some extent, the Lee deal.

    I do agree with Olney though. If you trade one, might as well trade them all. We definitely aren’t going anywhere if we lose one of the core players.

  • Steve

    Right, not showing up will definitely make the Indians spend more money.

  • Steve

    Starting to slip? Olney has never been a source of wisdom. He’s got good connections, but he doesn’t know the first thing about building a roster.

  • CBI

    Yes, if fans don’t come to games, ownership will be less likely to spend additional money. I think that is pretty common knowledge. My post was not directed towards addressing ways to motivate the Dolans to increase payroll.

  • Steve

    Making owning the Indians as financially burdensome as possible is the dumbest thing we could do. All it will do is get the team moved out of town. There is absolutely no benefit to ignoring the team.

  • CBI

    OK there chicken little, the Indian’s lease at progressive field runs through 2023 so they aren’t going anywhere. Also, as Art Model proved, even teams with extremely strong fan bases can be moved so save your worst case scenario argument for those with the pitch forks and torches.

    But hey, if you want to continue to spend your hard earned money on season tickets to line the pockets of owners who have shown no ability to build a championship contender or even a minor league system, be my guest, I would never belittle anyone for their decision.

    Personally, I’m going to spend my money elsewhere and continue to hope that other do the same and the Dolans begin to feel that their investment in the Indians could generated a greater return in some of their other business ventures.

  • pat

    Life long Indians fan and it kills me to see us have a good start to the season just to derail ourselves after the all star break. I agree we need more talent but trading away most of our core will result in more 100 loss seasons. Terri is a great manger and will bring balance to the tribe they just need to give him the keys to the front office like they did in Boston. GO TRIBE!!!