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Week in Transactions: Cleveland Indians land Andrew Miller and Brandon Guyer

I think there are some things to talk about this week...

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
He looks better without pinstripes
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Latest 25-man/40-man Roster

Embiggened Version
Google Docs Version
August 1 2016

Yes, I currently have 26 players on the 25-man roster. That will change today once the Indians officially add Guyer to the active roster. I think the Indians will option either Austin Adams or Cody Anderson to AAA to make room for Guyer, though there is the possibility that something bad shows up on Danny Salazar’s MRI and the Indians place him on the DL. Let’s hope that’s not the case, though.

Major-League Transactions

July 29

Placed RHP Jeff Manship on the 15-day Disabled (retro July 27 - right wrist)

Activated RHP Zach McAllister from the 15-day Disabled List

Was pondering whether this was an upgrade or a downgrade. Neither pitcher has been all that effective this year, and is why this team is at a disadvantage when either the starting pitcher is pulled early or there’s an extra-inning situation. Judging by how the Indians talked about Manship, he’ll be back in a week or so, which should mean that by then both Austin Adams and Cody Anderson will be in AAA. I’m hoping that the DL stint will be helpful to Manship, who really needs movement on his pitches to get weak contact.

July 31

Traded OF Clint Frazier (AAA), RHP Ben Heller (AAA), RHP J.P. Feyereisen (AA), and LHP Justus Sheffield (A+) to the New York Yankees for LHP Andrew MillerDesignated OF Joey Butler for Assignment

After weeks of speculating about Jonathan Lucroy, the Indians ultimately couldn’t land the Brewers catcher, but they did make another huge splash. Andrew Miller is one of the best relievers in baseball (since the beginning of 2015, he’s been worth 4.4 wins over replacement), and is signed through 2018. He’s effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, and has stated that he’s fine pitching in any late-game situation (Cody Allen has said the same thing). So this gives Terry Francona a lot of flexibility in close games, and can match up against the other team (batters who fare worse against left-handed pitchers, for instance) rather than go with a pre-determined order.

The Indians paid a big price to get Miller, though. They paid both in upside and in immediate major-league depth; Frazier was just a week ago promoted to AAA, and was probably going to make his MLB debut at some point next year. He has extremely quick hands, and more importantly has gotten better with plate discipline as he’s moved up the ranks. Sheffield is probably the furthest away of the quartet (he needs to further develop his slider), but even his primary stuff should keep him in the rotation. Heller might have been an option for the Indians in September.

To make room for Miller on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated Joey Butler for assignment. He was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay last winter, and although he was in the mix to make the club this spring, he didn’t show much promise in Arizona, and has really struggled in AAA (I mean, slugging .360 in Columbus?!)

August 1

Activated LHP Andrew Miller

Traded RHP Jhonleider Salinas (R-) and OF Nathan Lukes (A+) to the Tampa Bay Rays for OF Brandon Guyer

Designated 3B Juan Uribe for Assignment

Again, the Indians didn’t get the player we thought they’d get (Steve Pearce), but did land a player they had a need for. Guyer does several things well: he hits left-handed pitching well (career .848 OPS), has a propensity for getting hit by pitches (led the league in HBP in 2015 and again this year), and is a competent fielder at both the corners and in center. Guyer was not meant to replace Abe Almonte (at least not in the regular season, but would be the fourth infielder in the postseason, as Almonte is ineligible), but Juan Uribe’s hitting role on the club. He’s going to be in the lineup against left-handed pitchers, likely in place of Lonnie Chisenhall. And this allows Jose Ramirez to move back to the infield on a full-time basis, making the overall defense a bit better.

The prospects the Indians gave up in this deal are quite a ways away from the majors, neither with particularly high ceilings. Lukes was a 2015 draft pick who is going to have to hit his way to the majors, and Salinas is probably a future reliever (though he has a grade 80 name tool).

Because Guyer made Uribe redundant, the Indians correctly made the call to designate the popular third baseman. Yes, the Indians could have got away with using Ramirez as the backup second baseman/shortstop, but that would have hamstrung the team in late-inning situations, especially if Francona had to pinch-hit for someone.

Minor-League Transactions

July 27

Promoted OF Connor Marabell, OF Nathan Lukes, RHP Jared Robinson, and RHP Matt Esparza from Lake County (A) to Lynchburg (A+)

Demoted OF Jodd Carter and C Juan De la Cruz from Lynchburg (A+) to Lake County (A-)

Promoted RHP Micah Miniard from Mahoning Valley (SSA) to Lake County (A)

A+: Placed LHP Anderson Polanco on the Disabled List

July 28

A+: Placed LHP Thomas Pannone on the Disabled List (retro July 27)

July 29

Promoted LHP Ben Krauth promoted from AZL Indians (R-) to Mahoning Valley (SSA)

July 31

AAA: OF Clint Frazier and RHP Ben Heller traded

AA: RHP JP Feyereisen traded

A+: Justus Sheffield traded

RHP Argenis Angulo promoted from Mahoning Valley (SSA) to Lake County (A)

August 1

AA: Placed RHP Will Roberts on the Disabled List (right shoulder)

AA: Signed RHP Lendy Castillo to a minor-league contract

A+: Activated OF Dorssys Paulino from the Disabled List

A+: OF Nathan Lukes traded

R-: RHP Jhonleider Salinas traded