As we wait for baseball to resume, I want to go through a list of 10 goals/strategies I have for the Tribe for the rest of this season.
1. Do all you can to trade Cesar Hernandez, Eddie Rosario, and Bryan Shaw.
-I'm happy to have the Tribe do all they can to compete for a wildcard berth this season, and, hey, even a division title. The White Sox have been super lucky with pitching health, and unlucky with position player health... hard to say how whether or not the pitching luck will continue because they are not super deep behind the starting 5. Anyway, even given all of this, I would still do all I can to trade Cesar, Eddie and Shaw. I think there MAY be a suitor for Cesar, given his career high .341 xwOBA and 15 homers. I think there will be a suitor for Shaw, and we should get some of our younger arms the chance to perform in his role, anyway. IF Eddie can get healthy and come back within the next week, there may be a spot for him somewhere, also, but the Tribe surely would have to agree to cover most of the remainder of his contract. None of these players is going to get more than a return similar to what the Tribe got in the Jake Bauers deal... but that's enough, given the playing time dealing them will open up for younger guys whom we will need for 2022 and beyond.
2. Bring up Nolan Jones by August and start him full-time in right-field.
-This goes along with the Eddie Rosario trade. Jones is already projected for a 100 wRC+ and he's been getting regular reps in the outfield (with admittedly dismal reviews). So, I say give him as many reps as possible in the outfield in Columbus in July, and bring him up in August and give him full-time starts in right, plus the occasional spot start for Jose at third (given that Franmil looks like he'll need the occasional day off for a while, also). Even if Eddie stays, I would bring Jones up in September and sit Eddie, unless he is tearing the cover off the ball.
3. Give Mercado all the reps in center-field until Luplow returns, then, if Mercado is holding his own, split some time between them as well as giving Luplow reps in right field.
-I'm done with Zimmer. He can be on the roster as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement (though I'd prefer Daniel Johnson take his roster spot), but we know who he is, at this point. There is still a sliver of hope that Mercado can be a slightly-above replacement hitter and great defender, so I'd like him to get all the playing time until Luplow returns. Then, I want Luplow to play full-time when he is healthy enough to do so. Let's get a firm sense of what we have for outfielders, and keep Barreled Ramirez firmly stationed in left-field where his poor defense is likely best hidden.
4. Get Bieber and Civale healthy enough for 20 more starts between the two of them.
-Don't rush these guys back, but I'm hoping they can be pitching in the majors for the majority of the months of August and September. And, don't let them throw more than around 100 pitches. I'm looking at you, Tito.
5. Have Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill stick in the major league rotation.
-I'm hoping McKenzie has seen the light and his increased pace of work and confidence will enable him to stay topside. Quantrill will have his ups and downs, but between Mejia, Hentges and Morgan, he is the one I most want to see show what he can do as a starter.
6. Take a look at Scott Moss (in the rotation, perhaps?) and Cam Hill (in the bullpen) when rosters expand.
-We've got a ton of double-headers in our schedule, so just about any pitcher who is close to the majors will see some work, I think. Moss and Hill are both on the 40-man, so they'd be my guess. I wouldn't rule out seeing McCartey, Morris, Scott, or even Logan T. Allen... though we'd have to make room on the 40 for them.
7. Trade 2-3 prospects who will be Rule 5 eligible for 2-3 younger prospects with higher risk (and higher ceiling). Given our almost exclusively-pitcher draft, perhaps focus on getting hitters back.
-The ambitious armchair GM in me wants the Tribe to swing a big deal for German Marquez or John Means, but I find those possibilities increasingly unlikely. We do have a lot of young players eligible for the Rule 5, though, so I'd like the Tribe to shore up the lower levels with some decent lotto-ticket/high ceiling guys that they switch out for a few guys who are further along.
8. Get Andres Gimenez healthy and back in the majors at short, while switching Amed Rosario to second after trading Cesar.
-Hopefully, Gimenez will be back to playing in Columbus tonight or tomorrow. Incidentally, I see Tyler Freeman is supposed to be back at the end of the month and I'm excited to see him get going again, as well. I wouldn't mind Owen Miller getting some time at second after a Cesar trade, also, but more interested in seeing Gimenez work things out.
9. Plan a nice retirement party for Ty Van Burkleo.
-I will readily admit that none of us know for sure how much Van Burkleo is adding or subtracting from the hitters' performances, but I've seen enough. We need to help guys make quicker adjustments. We need to stop bunting in stupid situations. And, also, it seems like all the hitters ever talk about is adjustments they've made with Victor, not Van Burkleo. For whatever my opinion's worth, Van Burkleo just seems like he is here because Tito is loyal to him. I hope he can retire and enjoy his grandkids/boat/dogs.
10. Announce a new minority owner, a new stadium lease, and a new team name (these can happen shortly after the season also).
-These three announcements are my greatest wish for the team in 2021, given that I don't think they are a playoff team. I just want the awful period of waiting for a name and using a dead duck name to be over, and, of course, for obvious reasons I want a minority owner to come along and the lease to be finalized so I can look forward to seeing them playing in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.
My prediction is that the team goes 38-36 for the rest of the year and ends up with 83 wins. No matter how it goes, I can't wait until Friday and we get to see games again!