We’re well over a third of the way through the Indians’ 2012 season, and with Cleveland hanging around first place we’re sure to hear the Tribe connected to quite a few potential trade targets. But before the serious rumors start to swirl, we decided to have a little fun.
In this edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked our panelists—featuring guest contributors TD from WaitingForNextYear and Andrew Zajac from Indians Prospect Insider—to forget about realistic trade scenarios in answering the question: If you could add any MLB player to the Indians’ roster for the rest of the 2012 season, who would it be? Here’s what we all had to say:
TD (WaitingForNextYear): If we are talking healthy, easy answer. Matt Kemp. Put him in center field, slide Brantley over to left. Hit him cleanup. Cures the ills of the offense in one fell swoop. Right-handed, power bat, middle of the order, outfielder, and has speed.
Andrew Zajac (Indians Prospect Insider): Give me Matt Kemp any day of the week. He’s 27 years old and a player you can build around for years to come. He’s a legitimate 30-30, if not 40-40 guy when he’s healthy and he’s a righty. Kemp is a perennial MVP candidate and would be able to man CF for the Tribe for years to come. With Kemp in center, you could move Brantley back to left and suddenly the Indians would be a dangerous team.
Lewie Pollis: This isn’t even a choice—give me Joey Votto. Not only is he the best player in the game right now, but he plays first base, which just so happens to be the Indians’ greatest area of need. That’s the definition of a best-case scenario. Plus acquiring him would mean we wouldn’t have to pitch to him, and it would be the other team’s fans who would dread his at-bats. What more could you possibly want?
In my mind, there’s no one I’d rather see in an Indians uniform for the rest of the season than Joey Votto. Seriously, what is Chris Antonetti waiting for?
Geordy Boveroux: I’d abstain from the seemingly obvious answer of a big right-handed power bat. Instead, I’d rather acquire a left-handed starter, someone like a Cliff Lee.
Lee has almost made a career out of pushing teams over the top for a pennant run since he was traded from Cleveland to Philadelphia, so why not do it for his old team? The Indians have trouble scoring runs as of late, and lack a true middle of the order presence, but limiting the other team to runs has the same impact. Especially in the playoffs, teams with stellar pitching (i.e. 2010 San Francisco Giants) usually fare better.
Brian Heise:If I could have any player in Major League Baseball right now, I’m taking Joey Votto. Votto is a former NL MVP who regularly hits over .300, hits 25-plus home runs, and drives in 100-plus runs every year. His career slash line is an astounding .317/.412/.559 thanks to a unique approach that focuses on hitting the inside half of the baseball and allowing it to enter further into the hitting zone than any other player. This allows him better pitch recognition and also enables him to use all parts of the field. Just take a look at the home runs he hit versus the Indians. They weren’t dead pull, tape measure shots. They were hit to dead center and right center field. To top it all off, his mastery of the strike zone is like no one in the game today.
It’s looking more and more like Votto is primed to win his second MVP award and is only getting better. Put him on the Indians and Votto instantly becomes their best player and validates their entire lineup. He also fills a position of need, that being first base. I know it’ll never happen, but the thought of Joey Votto slotted in the three hole for the Indians would be a dream come true.
Katie Hendershot: It’s not easy to pick just one player I would love for the Indians to have for the rest of the season. A corner infielder, starting pitcher and an outfielder would all be attractive candidates. With the struggles that Casey Kotchman has had and the lack of immediate options to replace him the farm system, I think first base would be the spot I’d pick to upgrade.
It’s tempting to go for a starting pitcher like Cole Hamels or an outfielder like Josh Hamilton, but I’d pick Joey Votto at first base. He has what the Indians need at the plate and is also a good defensive first baseman. He has the potential to hit for average and power. He’s third in the Majors in batting average at .362 and had 37 home runs in 2010, when he was the National League MVP. He’s an exciting player to watch, and as we saw with the last series in Cincinnati, has the ability to do some damage.
Steve Kinsella: Justin Verlander. The Indians’ problem is the center of the diamond. Give me a stable force on top of the rotation and I will take my chances with all other aspects of the game.