Let’s face it, the Cleveland Indians came into this season with high expectations and so far, they have disappointed. This is almost the same team that took us to the World Series last year, but as baseball fans know, it is a long season. For as long as Tito has been manager, we have been a second half team. So there is reason to be optimistic and I am.
Last year, the Indians approached the trade deadline trying to improve our team in a couple different ways. We needed a catcher because of Yan Gomes’ injury and we needed pitching help, just like every contending team does. The catching part did not work out, but that’s another story. As everyone now knows, we grabbed Andrew Miller from the Yankees. It was a great move, but it cost us both Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield.
This year we face a similar situation. We need a starting pitcher more so than relief help. We are solid in the bullpen. Our starting pitching has under-performed so far this year, whether it was the injury to Cory Kluber or just the struggles of Danny Salazar. Whatever way you look at it, the Tribe needs a starter and there will be plenty available.
Here are my top five in no particular order.
- Sonny Gray – Oakland
- Jake Odorizzi – Tampa Bay Rays
- Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Johnny Cueto – San Francisco Giants
- Jeremy Hellickson – Philadelphia Phillies
Some of these names are pipe dreams and would take a haul. But each of these guys could make the rest of the American League tremble at are starting rotation, at least the top three.
Think about it.
- Corey Kluber
- Carlos Carrasco
- Danny Salazar (when he comes back)
- Josh Tomlin
Plus, Trevor Bauer and Ryan Merrit could step in for spot starts. With our bullpen, solidifying our starting rotation is priority number one this trade season.
What are we willing to give up to bolster our rotation for a deep playoff run? Can we really give up another top prospect like Frazier or Sheffield?
Zimmer is already here and he’s not going anywhere. So that leaves one name… Francisco Mejia.
Mejia is the guy that had a 50-game hit streak for the Lake County Captains last season. He is a switch hitting catcher that just flat out hits. This year at AA Akron, Mejia is hitting .365 with eight HR’s and 27 RBI. He just looks the part. He calls a good game and has thrown out nine out of 25 runners so far this season. I attended quite a few Captains games last year and in 2015; the name I kept hearing was Fransisco Mejia. He has a flair for the game and is exciting to watch.
So if you are asking me if we give up this top prospect for a pitcher, the answer is no. The jury is still out on Yan Gomes. He is having a better year, but Mejia is our future signal caller. Mejia is the guy I want to see in the lineup with Lindor, Ramirez, Zimmer, Brantley, Encarnacion and Kipnis. Mejia is too important to our future.
So how do we help ourselves now?
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