Will Indians Regret Mike Aviles Trade?

I like the idea of trading for Mike Aviles. You have enough relief pitchers that you think you won’t miss Esmil Rogers. Aviles is right-handed, so he can take at-bats away from Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall who don’t handle tough lefties well. It’s possible that he can be the kind of guy who plays three days a week at various positions and delivers positive results.

But personally, I doubt that it turns out that way.

First, I see this deal as a possible prelude to a trade of Asdrubal Cabrera. Aside from the fact that trading Cabrera probably means the start of another rebuild, I just don’t see Aviles as the type of player you want to give 600 plate appearances to. His OPS has been under .700 the past two seasons, which to me is the minimum you can accept from an everyday player. Cabrera has been hitting second and third for most of the past two seasons; it’s hard to see Aviles hitting higher than eighth in a decent lineup, which means we will need to add yet another bat.

The other thing I don’t like about this deal is that, while there is good depth in the Tribe bullpen, there is not an infinite supply. You need at least four relievers who can get high-leverage outs. Rogers most likely would have been one of those relievers, along with Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, and Joe Smith. Trading Rogers means that someone like as Nick Hagadone or Cody Allen will need to step up. I can live with that, because producing a decent relief pitcher every year is something every organization should be able to do. But I had hoped that they would translate that bullpen surplus into a real asset.

The net result of this trade is that it makes it significantly more risky to trade Perez, because that would mean that both Hagadone and Allen are pitching in key situations, and the Indians have shown themselves to be risk-averse in that regard. It’s possible that Cleveland might have been able to turn Perez into a No. 3 starter or a decent bat, but now it would be harder to part with him.

You have only so many chips to play in any offseason. The best-case scenario is that the Indians spend $10-15 million on free agents, basically replacing Travis Hafner’s salary. That will get them either one very good player or two pretty good players. Any other chip you trade, such as Shin-Soo Choo, is either going to be for equal value or for future prospects, which means it won’t improve the team in 2013. The bullpen was the one place where they could move someone without hurting the team, and if this trade is what they get, it’s not going to be enough.

How would you grade the Esmil Rogers trade?

  • B (34%, 36 Votes)
  • C (31%, 33 Votes)
  • D (15%, 16 Votes)
  • A (13%, 14 Votes)
  • F (7%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

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Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera Chris Perez Cleveland Indians Esmil Rogers Mike Aviles

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