The Cleveland Indians offense has been in a tailspin for the past few games, struggling to score at home against an average Rockies pitching staff. In this context, the Indians have traded for Jay Bruce from the New York Mets.
Source: Jay Bruce traded to #Indians.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 10, 2017
The Indians outfield, especially those swinging bats from the left side of the plate have either struggled or been mangled of late. Lonnie Chisenhall has been injured for nearly a month with no time set for rehabilitation. Further, Michael Brantley’s ankle sprain in Tuesday night’s game further weakened the Indians lineup against right-handed pitching. With Brantley and Chisenhall ailing, as well as Bradley Zimmer coping with the adjustments of opposing pitchers, Cleveland needs help from the left side of the plate, Bruce provides just that.
In his career, he has a OPS of .821 against right-handed pitching and a wRC+ of 116, demonstrating that he is significantly above average in a platoon role. Bruce comes with weaknesses, he simply is not a good defender, but having Zimmer in center field, and the shallow wall in left field in Cleveland makes it far easier to hide the defensively challenged. He has been a quiet addition to the fly ball revolution radically increasing the number of fly balls he hits, which has been the anchor of the return of upper-end power production. In the friendly confines of Progressive Field, with a favorable wind current and right field layout, Bruce is an optimal fit and potentially exactly what this Indians team needs as a complementary bat for the stretch run. He will look to add to his 29 home runs and 75 RBIs this season in Cleveland.
The cost in this trade was more financial that asset.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 10, 2017
The Dolans, following an offseason in which they signed Edwin Encarnacion to a large deal, extended Jose Ramirez, and ran a massive budget once again showed a willingness to eat significant financial cost in order to limit the prospect cost required to trade for Bruce. This is a win now trade which should be lauded for its lack of impact on the organization’s depth.
The asset who was traded was Ryder Ryan. Ryan was a 30th round pick in 2016, a college selection with limited upside. He was an All-Star in Lake County this season but is the average age for the level and has shown significant command issues. Ryan was likely outside the top 50 prospects in the Indians organization and projects as organization depth. The acquisition cost was largely the Dolans’ willingness to make another substantial financial commitment in the team. For the Indians this is another play that adds more offensive impact to a loaded roster.