While the Cavs were dueling to the death in overtime against the Warriors, the Indians nonchalantly dropped some pretty big roster moves. Down to Columbus goes Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall, while up to Cleveland comes Giovanny Urshela and not Francisco Lindor, but Zach Walters. What do these moves mean for each player?
After batting a surprising .266 in 68 games last season, many expected Ramirez to take the next step in 2015. Ramirez has done the exact opposite, batting just .180 on the season, and playing so-so defense. With Francisco Lindor waiting in the minors, everything Ramirez has done this year has been under a microscope. Lately, Ramirez has been riding the bench, and the Indians front office wanted Ramirez to get every day at-bats. Sending him down to Triple-A should help him get some confidence back, and hopefully help his trade value. Ramirez was never seen as the future shortstop for the Indians, and has always been suited for a bench role.
I don’t think anyone saw this move happening. Chisenhall has really struggled at the plate this season, batting just .209 this year (after batting .280 last year). Chisenhall has been surprisingly strong with his glove this year. Last season, Chisenhall record a -1.5 defensive WAR, while this season, he has completely flipped it, registering a 1.0 dWAR in 2015. But the demotion was purely based on his hitting. How long he will be down there is anyone’s guess. The last time Chisenhall was sent to the minors, he batted .390 over 27 games (in 2013), so maybe this is exactly what he needs to wake his bat up.
Up to take Chisenhall’s place is Indians top prospect Giovanny Urshela (ranks as the #4 prospect in the Indians farm system). Urshela rates as a plus defender with a plus arm, two things you want from third basemen. Urshela always had a chance to make the MLB thanks to his glove, but last season his bat finally came around, as he had a slash line of .280/.334/.491 with 18 home runs, and 84 RBI between Akron and Columbus. It will be interesting to see what happens if the 23-year prospect succeeds in his first taste at the major league level. Would the Indians entertain the idea of trading Chisenhall?
The Indians need to call up someone who was able to play shortstop (if only they had a top ten prospect to fit the bill). With management still wanted Lindor to get more time in the minors, the Indians made the obvious choice, and called up the multi-positional Walters. Walters struggled in his short stay with the Tribe earlier in the year. Walters hasn’t exactly lit the minor leagues on fire either, batting just .259 in Columbus, but the Indians know what they have in Walters, as they buy more time for Lindor.
— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)
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