Every year the guys over at Grantland.com (well specifically Jonah Keri) (and yes, I realize Grantland is run by Bill Simmons, and yes, I know people don’t like him, but they have some pretty good reads over there, and that may or may not be a plug) create the MLB Trade Value rankings.  They rank players based on their trade value (obviously), instead of how good they actually are.  For example, you’d rank Gerrit Cole over David Price, because Cole comes at a cheaper price and has multiple years of team control, whereas David Price has one year more of arbitration and will come with a hefty $20 million price tag.  Don’t believe me?  Check out last year’s rankings/rules here.

In last year’s rankings, two Indians made the list: Carlos Santana was ranked 45, and Jason Kipnis at 25.  Instead of just reading about the one or two Indians players that might make the list, I decided to make my own.  I have just one rule, you have to be an Indians player.  I also loosely followed the rules set by my predecessors.  We will start at the bottom and work our way up.

15. Nick Swisher

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Everyone’s favorite “Bro” and current World Series Analyst, Nick Swisher brings up the rear in terms of trade value.  Dubbed “untradable” by nearly every one in every corner of the world, it is Swisher’s contract that is keeping the Tribe from adding big name talent (even though some would blame the Dolans’ pocketbook).  A model of consistency from 2005 till 2012 earned Swisher a 4-year, $56 million contract with the Tribe.  Now, Swisher has two years and $30 million still left on his contract, not to mention his $14 million vesting option for 2017, which would kick in if he has 550 plate appearances in 2016 and passes a physical.  After sitting out the second half of 2014 with knee surgeries, Swisher will be 34 in 2015.

14. Michael Bourn

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The former All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and stolen base champ has forgot how to do what made him great in Houston and Atlanta.  He has the contract of Swisher, at four years, $48 million with the same vesting option as Swisher, but at a cost saving price of $12 million.  Bourn is still owed $27.5 million over the next two years.  Bourn will enter the 2015 season at the age of 32.  Over the past four years, Bourn has seen his stolen bases drop from 61 in 2011 to 42 (2012), 23 (2013), and 10 (2014).  With the Indians, Bourn has played with a bad hamstring nearly the entire time.  Compared to Swisher, Bourn has the best chance to increase his value.  Even though he has missed 88 games over the last two years, his offensive numbers haven’t dipped that much.

14. Lonnie Chisenhall

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Drive that bus Lonnie!  And that’s exactly what he did in 2014, at least for half a season.  Before the All-Star break, Lonnie batted a healthy .332 with 9 home runs and 41 RBIs.  Post All-Star break Lonnie batted a dead-ball era .218 with 4 homers and 18 RBIs.  In a classic example of “what have you done for me lately”, the Indians need Lonnie Baseball to put together a full, consistent season.

13. Cody Allen

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This is no knock on Cody.  He just plays a position where guys are traded for peanuts.  Remember Chris Perez? The Indians got him for Mark DeRosa.  If the Indians get another dominant season from the “Chicken Man”, it would help his trade value.  He has an All-Star level arm, and will be just 26 at the start of 2015, plus he is under team control until 2018.

12. Jose Ramirez

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Playing a premium position, only 22 years old, and under team control until 2020 definitely helps Ramirez.  On the down side, he has never been a top prospect, has played in only 83 career MLB games, and has never been known for his hitting. This lowers Ramirez’s trade value.

10. Trevor Bauer

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So much potential!  So many warm ups!  Bauer’s trade value has decreased every year, but 2014 finally stopped the bleeding.  At times Bauer can overpower the best hitters, then there are the moments when he serves up meatball subs.  Bauer still has youth on his side, as he will be just 24 at the start of the 2015 season, plus he is under team control until 2019.  He may never be the #1 pitcher the Indians envisioned when they traded for him, but he still has the potential to be a great #2 or #3 pitcher.  What team wouldn’t want that (besides the Diamondbacks)?

9. Clint Frazier

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Sorry, no gif of Clint Frazier, they just don’t exist yet.  That’s why it is so hard to project where Frazier should have been on this list.  Frazier will be 20 years old at the start of the 2015 season, but doesn’t project to make the big league club until 2017, which puts his team control period up until 2023 or 2024.  He projects as a corner outfielder, and has some of the best bat speed you will ever see, which is why scouts think he could be a 30 home run guy.

All these gifs are really slowing down my writing process, so I’m going to stop here and leave you guys on a cliffhanger (get it?).  Coming in the near future, Indians Trade Value Rankings, Part 2!

— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

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