Posted on July 30, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Fans of the Cleveland Indians have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride this season. With a record of 28-29 through May, they looked far from playoff-worthy. But then they roared back in June and July (34-15), lead the wildcard race in the AL, and could still win the AL Central.
They have looked like a good bet to win the division or at least earn a wildcard spot. But in light of the Trevor Bauer trade, is that still the case?
While the Indians pitching staff has had its issues this season at times, but it has still done most of the heavy lifting for Cleveland. Going into their game with the Houston Astros Wednesday night, the Indians staff has the second-lowest ERA in the AL (3.75) and the lowest in July (2.75).
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Trevor Bauer has been a crucial member of the rotation. While he is not having a stellar season (compared to last year when he had a 2.21 ERA) with a record of 9-8, he is having a relatively good one. But his ERA is respectable (3.79) and he has been a workhorse for the Indians logging in a team-high 156 2/3 innings through his last start on July 28.
His last start was a disaster and ended with him launching the ball into the centerfield bleachers (and getting fined), but otherwise, he has not had a terrible game since May. However, it now appears that will be how his time with the Indians organization is coming to an end.
With the trade deadline Wednesday afternoon, the Indians decided to pull the trigger on a trade that will hopefully boost their sometimes-anemic offense. Bauer is headed to the Cincinnati Reds who will be sending Yasiel Puig to the Indians.
Cleveland will also be getting Franmil Reyes, Victor Nova, and Logan Allen from the Padres as part of the trade along with Scott Moss from the Reds. But the real prize for the Indians is Puig. While he can be a little volatile, as he showed Tuesday night against the Pirates, he brings some offensive firepower with him.
This season he is hitting .255 with 60 RBIs and 22 home runs in 369 at-bats and 99 games.
While Cleveland’s offense has been better in July (132 runs scored—4th best in AL;36 home runs—7th; .291BA—2nd). But they have not been good over the course of the season (10th in runs scored (489) and home runs (140); 9th in batting average with .250).
So, the question fans have to ask themselves now is whether giving up a good arm in the rotation is worth the potential boost in the offense. They are three games back of the Twins in the division but hold a 2.5 game lead for a wild card spot.
Draftkings has their odds to win the division set at +140 and the Twins at -190. But Cleveland’s odds to earn a wildcard spot are at +105.
Puig will boost their offensive output but not enough to combat what the Twins are doing this season. But it would not be shocking if he gave it enough of a boost to keep them on top of the wild card race. Cleveland’s pitching staff can survive losing Bauer.
So, stick with the Twins to win the division but bet on the Indians to earn a wild card spot.