CLEVELAND, Ohio — The most risk-filled trade deadline in MLB history will arrive on Aug. 31. This will be a pick your poison proposition even for the most cold-blooded baseball executive.
Big league games are being played, but no scouts are allowed in the ballparks to watch. The minor league season was canceled weeks ago and trades can only be made from the 60 players on each team’s player pool. Not to mention the coronavirus could shut down the 60-game season at any time.
Just recently, however, an information highway has been opened for teams. MLB has approved a way for teams to exchange video and data from their alternative training sites with other teams. All teams have to do is opt in, which the Indians have done.
So if the Indians do want to make a move, teams have a way of scouting their extra players at Classic Park in Eastlake and vice versa. It’s not the greatest of looks because the players in Eastlake are playing intra-squad games and they don’t have enough players for two full teams. Still pitch velocities and Statcast information is available.
“Major League Baseball has provided for a data-sharing agreement among clubs leading up to the trade deadline,” said GM Mike Chernoff. “So a number of teams — in fact, the large majority of teams — have opted into that. That’s a way to share both data and video on guys at the alternate site.
“So as we approach the trade deadline, you’re kind of flying blind if you’re making a trade for somebody who’s at one of those alternate sites. This allows for a little bit more visibility to how guys are doing and allows our scouts, despite not being in the park, to lock into the date and the video to assess where guys are.”
Chernoff said trade discussions with other teams tend to focus on the fact that so few games have been played.
“The main variable is just that we’re 22 games into the season,” said Chernoff. “Typically you’d be saying things like, ‘we need to ride this out and see if this guy comes around, or see how this guy looks after a few weeks.’ We don’t have the luxury of time to make those types of decisions.
“As I talk to other GMs and Chris (Antonetti) talks to other guys, we’re hearing the same thing from them. The biggest factor is trying to get a really good assessment of where our own guys are and where we might need to make tweaks to the roster. That’s a much harder thing to do in a 20-25 game sample than it would be in an 80-game sample in a typical season as you lead up to the trade deadline.”
Indians players performing well at the alternate camp include right-hander Triston McKenzie, left-hander Sam Hentges, veteran right-hander David Hernandez and outfielder Jake Bauers. A number of the younger players, including catcher Bo Naylor, have done well.
No. 1: Roberto Perez returns, Sandy Leon leaves
Catcher Roberto Perez was activated from the injured list and started Tuesday night against the Pirates. Sandy Leon, who replaced Perez, had to leave the team because of a family matter. The Indians placed him on the Family Emergency List and recalled outfielder Greg Allen from Eastlake.
Perez played only three games before going on the IL after injuring his right shoulder in the season opener on July 24.
“I’m ready to go, man,” Perez told reporters on a Zoom call. “I think those guys in Lake County, the training staff, they did a pretty good job. I started playing catch and I knew when I was trying to extend, throwing down to 90 feet, 120 feet, that’s when I knew I was ready to go. There was no pain, there was no restrictions, so I was just feeling like myself and ready to come here and contribute to the team.”
Perez said it was hard watching the Indians play on TV.
“I thought they played really well when I was out,” said Perez. “It’s tough watching the game on TV, especially with the group of guys we got. I wanted to be here. You know, if this season would’ve been normal, I would’ve come on the road to be with them and support them, but it’s tough now with all the protocols. You have to stay at home and follow guidelines and stuff like that.”
Beau Taylor will serve as the Tribe’s backup catcher. Leon must stay on the Family Emergency List for at least three days.
No. 2: In closing
The Indians have not won a game in Pittsburgh since July 3, 2015. Trevor Bauer was the winning pitcher in that game. It was also the game in which Bauer, during at an at-bat, imitated several of his teammates batting stances. Francisco Lindor is the only member of the starting lineup from that game still with the Indians. . .Franmil Reyes entered Tuesday’s game with 11 RBI in his last nine games. In his second plate appearance against the Pirates, he hit a sacrifice fly to give him 12 RBI in 10 games. Reyes’ homer against the Tigers on Sunday registered an exit velocity of 114.1 mph. It is the hardest hit homer by an Indians player since Statcast was introduced in 2015. . .The Indians entered Tuesday’s game 10-0 when they score three or more runs this season. They were 11-1 when they score first.
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