Salazar has all the potential in the world, but the right-hander has been unable to harness his high-90s velocity into something meaningful for more than a few months at a time. He was an All-Star selection in 2016 before various injuries kept him from participating and eventually kept him out for most of the second half of the Tribe’s World Series run. In 2017 he struck out a third of the batters he faced, the highest strikeout rate of his career, but he gave up 1.22 home runs per game, also a career high.
The Indians being willing to deal him isn’t new. Just last month, Bruce Levine of CBS Sports Chicago reported that they were in talks with the Chicago Cubs and were looking for a left-handed hitter in exchange for Salazar. A deal never happened, and shortly after the Indians went out and signed left-handed first baseman Yonder Alonso to a three-year deal.
With Alonso under contract, and carrying a heavy split against right-handed pitchers, I wouldn’t expect the Indians to still be looking at a left-handed bat for Salazar. The prevailing theory when the Cubs rumor was floating around was that the Indians were asking for Kyle Schwarber, which seems like a pretty even value proposition. Schwarber hit 30 home runs last season, but didn’t do much else. He’s younger than Salazar and arbitration eligible one year after Salazar will become a free agent, but Salazar has a better track record and is, y’know, a potential All-Star pitcher. It’s difficult to say what kind of value they could be looking at from other teams as their biggest needs now are getting a bullpen arm or two and a potential outfield upgrade.