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Indians rumors: Drew Stubbs drawing trade interest from multiple teams

What remains to be seen are the Indians right field plans for 2014

Jason Miller

Drew Stubbs
is drawing trade interest from multiple teams, according to reports from ESPN's Buster Olney (subscription required). The reports do not list any possible returns for the Indians at the moment, though my best guess would be either a bullpen arm or a second-tier prospect or two. Stubbs is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, and is likely to draw a salary of something close to $4 million in 2014.

Stubbs has very good speed, which he's used to average 29 bases a year between 2010 and 2013, with a very good 82% success rate. He's also very good at taking the extra base, and rates as one of the five best base runners in baseball over those four seasons. He also has solid power for a player with that kind of speed, averaging 15 home runs.

That power with his speed (he has a strong .322 BABIP over that time) ought to combine to make him a good hitter, but he's been a bit below average, due to strikeouts. Stubbs has a K% of 29.7 over the last four years, fifth-highest in MLB (min 1500 PA). The four players ahead of him (Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, Pedro Alvarez, and Chris Davis) are all big-time power hitters, with 35+ home run seasons during that time, which dwarfs Stubbs' output.

Stubbs' defense is hard to get a read on. He runs down a lot of balls with his speed, but has also misplayed a fair number of balls, leading to 5 fielding errors in 2013 (tied for 4th among MLB outfielder), and a good number of other plays in which he seemed to have a line on a ball, only to have it just miss his glove (in which case it's never counted as an error).

The tools are there for Stubbs to be a very good player, one you'd love to have for $4M. Even with his flaws, he's probably worth that kind of money, which explains why multiple teams would be inquiring about him. It' not clear whether the Indians would plan on using him as an everyday starter in 2014 though. Ryan Raburn could be used in the same super-sub role he filled in 2013, but management may be content to give him the right field job, which would make Stubbs expendable. Stubbs is best-suited to a platoon, because he hits lefties far, far better than righties (career 117 wRC+ vs. L, 78 wRC+ vs R), but Raburn's splits runs the same direction, so the two of them don't really fit as partners.

If Stubbs can bring back an affordable upgrade to the bullpen, I would be in favor of a trade.

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