April 19, 2014

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

Saturday Afternoons in the fall is reserved for college football. On a day with big games galore, the Indians made news with a very interesting deal. Esmil Rogers, who was somewhat of a pen savior and one of the few bright spots in the horror show that was the 2012 season, was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for veteran infielder Mike Aviles and catcher/1B/3B Yan Gomes. Aviles spent last season as the regular shortstop for the Boston Red Sox while Gomes, 25, was the AAA catcher for Las Vegas, the Blue Jays affiliate. Both are right-handed bats.

My initial, knee-jerk reaction to the deal was that bringing in Aviles signals to me that Asdrubal Cabrera is on the market.

Yes, while Aviles is 31 and probably at his best as a super-utility man, he is a solid defensive shortstop and comes as a nice, inexpensive stop-gap for the Indians top prospect, Francisco Lindor. Asdrubal has two years left on the extension he signed last season, which pays him $6.5 million in 2013, and $10 million in 2014. He turns just 27 next week and is a two-time All-Star. With the Indians having so many holes, Cabrera is their top trading chip, especially considering whoever trades for him gets a a guy with two years left on his deal while in his prime.

However, GM Chris Antonetti refuted my claims.

“Asdrubal Cabrera is our starting shortstop,” said Antonetti. [Read more...]