ESPN’s Buster Olney gave some insight into the Cleveland Indians offseason plans during aFacebook Q&A on Thursday afternoon. In it, he stated that the Indians would "love" to sign third baseman Juan Uribe, and they have also considered first baseman/designated hitter Justin Morneau.
They'd love to sign Juan Uribe, and are interested in Justin Morneau. Clearly, they need at least one outfielder, b/c of Brantley's situation. No matter what they do, they won't take on much money at all.
I have covered something similar when Buster Olney said a couple weeks ago when he suggested the Indians could target free agents just looking for playing time. Both Morneau and Uribe fit that mold.
Morneau is coming off an injury-shortened season wherein he played only 49 games, slashed .310/.363/.458 with three home runs, but held a wRC+ of only 107 after adjusting for the Coors Field boost in Colorado. He would not be much more than a designated hitter for the Indians, but if a bat is what they need, and they cannot spend a lot of money, getting Morneau for a couple million is not a bad deal.
Juan Uribe is a much older option at 36 years old, but he would not require much more than a one-year commitment. He would be a solid stop-gap at third base until Yandy Diaz is ready for big league action, or insurance for Giovanny Urshela if he cannot catch up to Major League pitching.
By Olney’s own wording, it seems like Uribe is the main target for the Indians front office. No matter which player they go after, it still leaves the outfield absolutely barren, so a trade will likely still need to be made. But, according to Olney, that may not include a big name like Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar.
Yes, they are having discussions with other teams and they are willing to give up starting pitching. But some clubs say they're not that interested in dealing Carrasco or Salazar, and are more open to dealing one of their second-tier young starters.
What exactly the "second-tier" young starting pitcher entails is not clear, but it most likely means someone like Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, or Cody Anderson. Trading Bauer is selling completely on upside right now, a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers or Toronto Blue Jays (who the Indians are linked to in trade talks) could be interested in building around him, if he can live up to his potential.