Last week, rumors surfaced that the Cleveland Indians front office would listen to trade offers on many of the team’s highly productive veterans.
While the Indians should not blow the core of the team up (the playoffs are essentially guaranteed for the next three-to-four years with the state of the AL Central), offers should be heard to see if there is an offer that cannot be refused.
This kind of thing has happened for the Tribe the last couple times the playoffs have come to an end.
One name that should be seriously considered to be traded is Jason Kipnis.
Kipnis was almost moved before the 2018 season, as there were serious talks held between the club and the New York Mets.
The two time All-Star was limited to 90 games in 2017 and saw his position change during the postseason.
There were rumors of Kipnis being moved this deadline, but nothing materialized regarding him.
With the Arizona State product having just one year left on his contact at about $14.6 million, he may be an attractive piece to trade, especially if Cleveland decides to eat some of that money.
Kipnis has a club option in 2020 for $16.5 million, but also has a buyout of $2.5 million.
The club may view him as expandable, mainly when it comes to his play on the infield.
Jose Ramirez, now in two straight seasons, has moved from third base over to second.
Kipnis, in those same two years, has moved from second base to center field.
The Indians infield situation is interesting. Right now, Francisco Lindor is at short (and that is not going to change) and Yonder Alonso is getting the majority of the playing time at first base, with Edwin Encarnacion getting some reps. Either one of those players could be moved this offseason.
Ramirez should stay put at second base- his more natural position- and Cleveland should go a different direction at third. Whether that be bringing Josh Donaldson back or splitting playing time between both Yandy Diaz and Erik Gonzalez, who both showed they can swing the bat well this season.
In 120 plate appearances, Diaz hit .312/.375/.422 with 34 hits, five doubles, and 15 RBI. Gonzalez hit .265/.301/.375 with 36 hits and 16 RBI in 143 plate appearances.
Where the Indians may need Kipnis and want to keep him around is for the outfield, mainly if Michael Brantley does not resign with the club. Corner outfield help will be needed for sure with some potential for time in center.
But that is where trading Kipnis comes into play.
Cleveland would be looking for help in the bullpen and in the outfield. What the market is/ will be for Kipnis will be something to keep an eye on. Maybe a deal with Kipnis and a prospect or two for Shin-Soo Choo or Nicholas Castellanos could be in place.
Kipnis is a fan favorite and many would be sad to see him go, but it may be for the better of the team if a trade surrounding the second baseman-turned-center fielder results in wins.