Years of trading in prospects handcuffed Indians in 2021.
The Indians have found themselves in a place they really don’t want to be; with their backs to the wall from injury and the need to find talent somewhere to help them. The old reliable option is to make a trade. Regardless of what fans might want to think of management, they never skimmed on trades. They always looked for big names to work things out with the team.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Miller, Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, and so many others were guys the team swapped for at some point to get them into the playoffs and beyond. While a swap for a guy like Lofton and Thome might work; When someone is older, near the end of their career, trading with a younger player in their prime is no longer an option.
The Indians have burned their way through their little leagues and now see a few years of unimpressive prospects to wade through. Sure you have Nolan Jones, but you’d be crazy to swap him.
This is not an indictment against the team, just an admission that this is what happens when you sacrifice the future for the present.
There is talent in the minors, they are only a long way off.
Triple-A is pretty exhausted for viable major league players who are hype about them. Sure, there might be a guy or three that get called up and blow people away, but the guys who are ready are already on the list.
That means the Indians really don’t have any tradable assets to attract other teams. Sure, they could try swinging Owen Miller, Bobby Bradley, or anyone else who’s already called up (or sent back in Miller’s case), but the Indians are going to need every guy they can get.
What they should do is look through the free agency and see if there aren’t any unemployed vets desperately in need of a landing site to prove they can still play in the big leagues.
Unless Indians get funky and creative, it’s hard to imagine that Indians will be doing business this year that won’t further harm the minors or drastically improve the majors.