With the deadline less than 24 hours away, the Indians have been searching for an outfielder and even reached out to the Washington Nationals about one of the best outfielders in baseball.
Morosi reported that the price tag is high for the former MVP who becomes a free agent at the end of the season. The Nationals currently sit six games back in the National League East as well as the Wild Card.
The Indians have been linked to several outfielders although it’s unknown if the team will execute a deal prior to the 4 P.M. deadline on Tuesday or wait and pick someone up during the waiver-trade period in August.
Cleveland already made their big move earlier this month when they acquired Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres.
With the price tag reportedly being high, the Indians would likely have to offer their top prospect Triston McKenzie and/or Shane Bieber who is their #2 prospect and has been pitching very well for them since making his major league debut in May.
Morosi reportedly late Monday night that the Indians have refused to include Bieber in offers. In nine starts this season, he’s 5-2 with a 4.73 ERA.
Harper is having a down year in terms of batting average with a career low .220 but has hit 25 home runs and driven in 62 runs through 103 games this season.
Through his seven-year career, Harper is a career .277 hitter with 175 home runs and 483 runs batted in. He’s a former Rookie of the Year, a six-time All-Star and won the Home Run Derby in his home stadium in Washington D.C. earlier this month.
He’s expected to pursue the largest contract in major league history this winter that could exceed $400-500 million in total value.
With the Indians’ being in a mid-level market and limited funds, there’s no way that he would re-sign with the team long term especially with the difficulty the team is having re-signing Francisco Lindor to a long-term deal.
It doesn’t look like a deal can be made by the deadline and I don’t think the Indians should do it. While adding Harper would be huge for the lineup and the team’s postseason chances in pursuing their first World Series championship since 1948, it’s not worth the long-term future of the organization in potentially giving up young arms in Bieber and/or McKenzie who could and should be the future of the pitching rotation.
People have and will compare this to when the Indians refused to include Jaret Wright in trade talks for Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling in the late 90s and Wright didn’t pan out like the team hoped for.