Source: #Indians’ Byrd suspended 162 games. Did not appeal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 1, 2016
Indians’ corner outfielder, Marlon Byrd, has officially been suspended for 162 games after his second PED testing violation. His first suspension came in 2012 while with the Boston Red Sox.
This news comes as a shock to most Indians fans. His production has not been anything special this season, .270/.326/.452 (Avg/OBP/Slug%) with 5 long balls and 19 RBI in 34 games. Thankfully he was brought in on a low risk, high reward type of deal. He was signed under a 1 year, $1 mil contract in the offseason.
Now, the Indians must make a move to fill this void. Byrd is a good power threat and has hit a few clutch home runs for the Wahoos. Lonnie Chisenhall cannot play everyday, he is just dreadful against lefties and his defense is below average. Manager Terry Francona seems to be hesitant when it comes to giving younger guys playing time so that throws Tyler Naquin and Michael Martinez out of the window. I can understand that because it is a lot to ask of them to take on such a big role so soon in their career. Pressure either causes a player to crumble or shine bright like a diamond. I would rather see players debut when we know they are ready and not rush them to center stage.
Possible Trade Candidates
I thought Bruce would have been traded already. The Reds are committed to their rebuild and this guy should bring back a favorable amount of viable Major League prospects. He is a passable defender with premier power. Granted, playing in the hitter’s haven known as Great American Small Park may inflate his numbers a tad but the right field corner at The Jake is favorable to lefties. The Reds could use help all over the field, particularly in the middle infield. The Indians can afford to part ways with their top middle infield prospects since they seemingly have their long-term solutions there in Jason Kipnis and Fransisco Lindor. A deal between these teams can be made, Cleveland just needs to go out there and get it done.
Colby Rasmus signed just a 1 year qualifying offer in the offseason so he will presumably be a free agent in the offseason unless the two sides can reach an extension. If the Astros continue their poor performance this season after a shocking playoff appearance last year then we should expect to see Rasmus be dealt at the July trading deadline anyway. Why not make your play now, Chernoff?
The Angels are a mess. Their farm system is among the worst in the league. At the MLB level, they have some good pieces to be in the thick of things but just cannot seem to get it figured out. In addition to all that, they have given out unfavorable contracts and tied their own hands. Their starting rotation is abysmal. The Angels have two options. Option A, trade away Calhoun for some MLB ready pitching help that the Tribe can provide them. Option B, trade away Calhoun for prospects and start the rebuilding process before the franchise is doomed for 20 years. Your call LA.
Trading for Ryan Braun is nothing more than a pipe dream for me. He is still owed $96 million through 2021. However, adding a bat like Braun will help the Indians immensely. Braun is 32 years old (feels like he should be 37) and can still produce great numbers. So far this season he is hitting .348 with 9 homers and 31 RBI. Imagine what he could do hitting behind the likes of Lindor, Kipnis AND Michael Brantley who are frequently on base. Add in the likes of Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes behind him and you have maybe the scariest lineup in all of baseball. The Indians have two guys that I deem as “untouchables”, Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. But, if the front office can be serious about doing all they can to land Braun, and I can support giving up one or two of our top five prospects.
The Feisty Featherheads of the Cuyahoga definitely have a strong enough farm system to make a big splash and add a bat.
While the Indians work to figure out what they will do to fill Byrd’s hole, expect to see Tyler Naquin get more playing time. Maybe he can prove his worth to the team and the Indians do not need to make a trade. Time will tell.
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