If you are keeping track at home, the Cleveland Indians have at least five superstar players on the roster.
Three of them- Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer- are in the starting rotation (don’t discount Mile Clevinger, though. He could be getting close to that status). The other two- Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez- play on the left side of the infield.
After those five guys, particularly in the batting order, Cleveland does not have too, too much help. Carlos Santana returns to the Tribe and Jake Bauers came over in that same deal.
Can Santana return to form with a return to Progressive Field? In his one season with Philadelphia, his slash line dropped to .229/.352/.414 as opposed to a .259/.363/.455 line in 2017. Bauers had a productive rookie season but it is no guarantee he will be able to have a .384 slugging percentage again.
The outfield has been a talking point all offseason with all the departures and all the moving parts. Bradley Zimmer is out for a good part of the season and Leonys Martin is coming off of a life threating bacterial infection.
With all that, the Indians have not done too much to surround those star players with help, especially after trading Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, and Yonder Alonso.
Cleveland would not be able to sign or attract players like Bryce harper or Craig Kimbrel, but there were chances to sign players like Mike Moustakas and Marwin Gonzalez on cheaper contracts.
Both Moustakas and Gonzalez signed within the last week, but there are still some productive players that the Indians could go after that would help the roster.
Let’s take a look at some.
Adam Jones, OF
With the uncertainty of the outfield and with how many players Terry Francona is going to rotate through during the season, adding Jones, a five-time All-Star, could provide some stability.
He has a lifetime .278 average and has gotten on base about 32 percent of the time during his 13-year career.
Jones is not the same player he was three or four years ago, but is still able to contribute at the plate. He racked up 163 hits, 35 doubles, and knocked in 63 RBI. In his age 32 season in 2018, he was still able to play 145 games.
Since 2010, he has played more than 135 games in every season, including all 162 in 2012.
His main position is in center, but can play right field just as easily.
Jones could slide into right field while Martin mans center with some platooning being done in left with Tyler Naquin, Greg Allen, and Jordan Luplow.
The former Baltimore Oriole would provide some postseason experience as well.
Evan Gattis, DH
A 2017 World Series champion with the Houston Astros, Gattis has some big power and hits left handed pitching very well.
He hit .226 last season with 25 home runs, 78 RBI, and a .425 slugging percentage.
With a HR total in the mid-20s and a high slugging percentage, that comes with a high strike out rate. Gattis went down on strikes 101 times, the third highest total of his career.
Why Cleveland could be interested in him, though, is for his ability to hit left handed pitching. Gattis owned a .241/.299/.518 line against lefties last season. Those marks are 23, 23, and 111 points higher than righties.
Another power bat could take the pressure off the likes of Lindor and Ramirez to do the heavy lifting for the offense.
Jose Iglesias, SS/ UTL
It is well known now that Lindor is missing 7-9 weeks with a calf strain and his status for Opening Day is in question, with him more likely than not missing the first few weeks of the season.
That means Max Moroff, Oscar Mercado, or the club’s No. 6 prospect Yu Chang will be competing with each other for the starting SS spot when March 28 comes around.
All three of those players have a strong shot at grabbing that spot, but none are that experiences at the big league level. In fact, Moroff is the only one who has appeared in a major league game.
Iglesias has played for the Detroit Tigers for the last five seasons and was named to the AL All-Star team in 2015. Last year, Iglesias hit .269 with a .310 OBP. He had 116 hits, nine off his career high. He did set a career high in stolen bases with 15.
The Cuban would make a nice replacement for the first two-plus weeks of the regular season at short and would be a productive utility man around the infield as the season progressed. He gets on base frequently and is an above average defender.