The Cleveland Indians were fairly quiet through the trade deadline, but sent a loud message with an August deal for outfielderJay Bruce. The 30-year old outfielder was acquired for a non-prospect and the promise to pay his remaining salary, a pill even the big market Yankees wouldn’t swallow. Bruce has 29 home runs on the year, seven more than anyone currently on the Tribe roster, seven fewer than the entire Indians outfield combined. As the Indians struggle to consistently score runs, coupled with the injuries for outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley, Bruce provides a middle-of-the-order bat that can jump start the offense.
WFNY’s Jeff Nomina and Jim Pete broke down the trade in the video below, touching not only on Bruce, but what this trade means for the injured Indians as well as ownership’s willingness to continue to spend:
Jay Bruce has never been a great defender, and while defensive metrics like him this year, it will be interesting to see where he fits in the Tribe’s outfield, especially when (if) everyone is healthy. While he may play every day or at least be the heavy side of the platoon through August and September, he could provide Tribe manager Terry Francona with a weapon in the playoffs. Tribe fans don’t have to look far back to remember how much it can hurt to have an empty bench in, say, the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series.
There are some questions that come with this trade. What does it mean for the injuries to Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley? There has been little news on Chisenhall even as he was originally thought to be returning around this time. Brantley’s injured ankle was not as bad as first feared, but he was put immediately on the disabled list and his injury history has to leave everyone a bit worried. Hopefully the price for Bruce was simply too good to pass up and there weren’t any larger underlying issues he was acquired to solve.
Another interesting element is Tribe ownership’s willingness to continue to spend. The Deep Pocket Dolanz strike again, as they inked Edwin Encarnacion to a massive offseason deal and continued that spend by signing Boone Logan. Now, they take on an additional $4 million dollars for a month and a half of Jay Bruce (plus the playoffs). While the Dolans’ pocketbooks have forever been a topic in Cleveland, it has been nice to see their spending pay off both on the field and at the gates. The park has been packed most of the year and this is the reward for that. Past adventures in spending (Kerry Wood, Travis Hafner, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourne) were not rewarded so handsomely.
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