The Indians are searching for outfield help as the trade deadline approaches. They’ve been linked to Orioles’ Adam Jones for weeks and now have been linked to a few more with the deadline two days away.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported on Saturday that Toronto’s Curtis Granderson, Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton and Miami’s Derek Dietrich are all on the Indians’ “radar”.
With Tyler Naquin joining Lonnie Chisenhall on the disabled list, an upgrade in the outfield becomes more clear for the organization needed before Naquin went to the list with a hip issue before Saturday’s loss to Detroit.
Michael Brantley, Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis and Brandon Guyer are the team’s only outfielders currently on the roster.
Granderson and Hamilton would provide instant help in centerfield while Dietrich would likely go into right field much like Jones would if the Indians acquired him from Baltimore and if Jones would waive his no-trade.
Curtis Granderson clearly isn’t the player he once was with the Tigers, Yankees, and Mets has his production is starting to dip as the 37-year-old seems to be on the decline in his 15th major league season.
Last season with the Mets and Dodgers he hit for 26 home runs marking his tenth season with at least 20 home runs or more. This season with the Toronto Blue Jays, he’s hit 10 home runs and his average is at .234, 18 points below his career average of .252 and his slugging percentage is at .421, 50 points below his career mark.
In 51 career games at Progressive Field, Granderson has hit for .261 with 8 home runs and 21 runs batted in. He’s also a career .227 postseason hitter in 57 games with 9 home runs and 29 runs batted in.
Billy Hamilton has been one that won’t beat you with his bat but he can beat you with his speed which people may think of Kenny Lofton when they see Hamilton on the bases.
Since debuting with the Reds in 2013, the 27-year-old centerfielder has given opposing defenses a nightmare with 265 career stolen bases including a four-year streak of 50 or more from 2014 to 2017. This year so far he has 22 stolen bases which ranks 5th in the National League.
Hamilton is a career .244 hitter and his on-base percentage is at .298 but only 10 career errors as an outfielder would be a upgrade over what the Indians currently have and the team would also control him through the 2019 season.
Derek Dietrich is no stranger to Cleveland because that’s where he was born and raised. The 29-year-old graduated from St. Ignatius High School and was originally a third round pick by the Houston Astros in the 2007 draft. Opting to go to Georgia Tech instead, Dietrich was once again drafted, this time by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2010 draft.
He’s been with the Miami Marlins since 2013 when they traded for him from Tampa Bay. Last season he played in a career high 135 games for Miami, hitting .249 with 13 home runs and 53 runs batted in along with a .424 slugging percentage and a .758 OPS.
This season he’s played in 101 games with a career high .282 average with 13 home runs, 36 runs batted in along with a .453 slugging percentage and a .800 OPS. He’s primarly been a leftfielder for them this season but has also played in right field, first base and second base. He’s also played at third base during his career.
The Indians would control Dietrich through the 2020 season as he has two years of arbitration following this season. Growing up in Cleveland during the 1990s when the Indians were one of the best teams in baseball, I’m sure Dietrich would like nothing more than to come home and help the Indians potentially get their first World Series championship since 1948.