I did a quick check on the Indians' losses this year and here is what I found:
- they are in good shape as far as pitching goes, all things considered.
- their hitting is middle of the pack in most categories, including runs per game
- their fielding is probably average or above
- Here is how their losses break down":
- Blowout losses (4+ run differential) in games we score 4 or more runs: 2 losses
- Blowout losses in games we score 3 or less runs: 13
- Close losses (3 or less runs) in games we score 3 or less runs: 15
- Close losses in games we score 4 or more runs: 9
What does all this mean to me?
We are losing a lot of games (28) where we score 3 runs or less and not very many games (11) where we score 4 or more runs. In 24 of our losses if we would have had a little more offense we would have won. In 15 of those games our pitchers pitched OK, we just didn't score enough runs. In 9 of those games those pitchers didn't pitch well but the offense kept the score close.
Looking at the stats and the game results, the answer is clear to me:
Despite the struggles of Bauer, Tomlin and Salazar, what this team needs above anything else is more hitting. They don't need any more pitching, they just need our pitchers to pitch. With a little more offense even our struggling pitchers will win more often. That, to me, is the bottom line here.
YOU CAN'T BE REQUIRED TO HAVE PITCHERS WHO GIVE UP 0 TO 3 RUNS A GAME IN THE AL.
We need offense. We have lost this season so many times when we face a struggling pitcher that I can't even remember how many times that is. Pitchers we should crush, we can't even score 4 runs off of them.
So where do we need offense? Well catcher is obvious. DH (Santana) is the next choice but even RF could use an upgrade.
Teams always pay dearly at the trade deadline as we found out last year. So, if we are going to part with prospects let's get something of value...and long term value...in return.
I have said it before and I will say it again. The best value in hitters in this market is Giancarlo Stanton. Basically, all he will cost us is one prime prospect and we have to eat his salary.
So we get Stanton. It is a STUPID move financially for the Indians but, prospect-wise, it is anything but stupid if we do this right. Greg Allen, Naquin and McKenzie should get it done. That's one of your top 10 prospects (top 30 in all of baseball) and one guy in the 10-25 range and Naquin who has significant upside somewhere other than here.
That is it.
If we want to get creative, as I have said before, we put up a big package to get Realmuto and Straily, too. I have posted that package below and I stick by it as an all-in trade that will help the Indians for years. Maybe not as I structured it but something like that.
We need hitting. Stanton, believe it or not, is the most cost (of prospects) effective way to get this done at a position (RF) that we can use help at.
You get Stanton at a reasonable cost of prospects and you turn your season around.
If you just get Stanton and not the other two guys you then roll the dice and bring up Mejia. Plus you can start musical chairs with Morimando, Merrit and even Pannone to see if you catch lightning in a bottle in that 5th starter spot, similar to what Clevinger is providing.
Giancarlo Stanton. Get him at a reasonable price and I am pretty sure everything else will fall in place. Get him, Realmuto and Straily and I think we are going back to the WS and, with the Cubs struggling, we stand a reasonable chance to win it all.