By: Sam Gagliardi
The Cleveland Indians are making moves. The Indians and San Diego Padres have officially pulled the trigger on the second biggest trade, thus far, this trade deadline season when they agreed to swap Padres relief pitchers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber for Indian's top-prospect Francisco Mejia.
For the Indians this is the trade that will have the most impact on this season, this coming October, and for years to come. Mejia — Keith Law’s no.5 prospect in all of baseball — is a steep price to pay, but well worth it for a few reasons. First, The Indians needed bullpen help now. They have the second worst bullpen in all of baseball with a 5.28 and their ALCS MVP do-everything relief Pitcher, Andrew Miller, is still sidelined with a lingering knee ailment — though there are signs he is making progress towards a return. Secondly, both Miller and the Indians all-time-leader in saves Cody Allen will be free agents after this season. Because of the bullpen revolution occurring in baseball, the Indians were pretty pessimistic about their chances of paying to keep either Miller or Allen in free agency. With Hand on the roster, he is signed for a reasonable amount through 2020, with a team option for 2021, the same applies to Cimber — enjoying a solid rookie year — as he is not eligible for free agency until 2023. Lastly, the Indians window for contention is this year, and with Francisco Lindor signed through 2021, for the next couple of years. Yan Gomes has had a resurgence at the plate this year, culminating in his first ever All-Star appearance, and was blocking the easiest path for Meija to appear in the big leagues. There was some consternation from the Indians organization that seemed to imply Mejia was not thrilled about switching full-time to right field in order to play big-league ball right now, and that may have contributed as well.
Anyways, for Meija this is a fresh start. The Padres now possess 3 of the top-6 prospects in all of baseball, according to Keith Law. They have been trying to win for a few years now, but have struggled to reboot each time. Dealing away the games most prized postseason commodity right now makes sense, and with the riches of prospects in their system, it would be difficult for the Padres to falter once again on the next rebuild.
Overall a win-win for both organizations, but do not expect the Indians to be finished wheeling and dealing anytime soon. Their date with destiny and a 70-year-old drought hangs in the balance.
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