Cleveland is a mid-market team that has to balance the present and future, and the Bauer trade is an example.
The Cleveland Indians are three games back of the Minnesota Twins for the American League Central, and hold on to the top Wild Card spot. With the trade of ace Trevor Bauer, the club was able to acquire impact outfielders in Franmil Reyes and Yasiel Puig.
Bauer has a year left of control, and the Indians didn’t want to pay his increased arbitration tab. They were able to maximize his value by acquiring Major League-ready talent. Along with the new outfield duo, the other players that can make a difference are Logan Allen and Scott Moss. With Bauer heading elsewhere, the club was seeking pitching help.
The other player the Indians received was third base prospect Victor Nova, a 19 year-old who has plenty of time to develop. Cleveland ranks fourth in the MLB in pitching, and it will be interesting to see how they fare without Bauer leading the rotation. On the offensive side, the club ranks 20th. Adding two power hitters should help increase the run production immediately, as they need to keep up with their heavy-hitting competitors.
Cleveland was only making a trade if they were getting Major League talent back to help both now and later. A recent comparison would be the Chris Archer trade last year, where the Tampa Bay Rays received Major League-ready pieces plus a top prospect. The Indians were able to gain pieces to improve their club this year and keep them competitive in the future.
This trade was good for all sides, and the Indians acquired the most talent. This is the type of move middle to small market teams need to make in order to stay relevant.