2021 MLB Offseason Moves: Cleveland Indians

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With the 2021 MLB offseason in full swing, the Cleveland Indians have been one of the most proactive teams during the break. With all the blockbuster deals, it’s hard to keep up with all the 2021 MLB offseason moves. Here are the major 2021 MLB offseason moves that have been taking place in Cleveland:

2021 MLB Offseason Moves: Losses for the Indians

The Indians were unable to come to agreements with six contributors to their 2020 season. One name fans will miss next season is long-time veteran Carlos Santana, who made his return to Cleveland in 2019. Santana had a phenomenal first year back but was not able to replicate his numbers last season, as he batted just shy of .200 with only eight home runs. After his short stint in the navy and red, Santana will be playing for the division rival Kansas City Royals in 2021.

Other major names Cleveland failed to re-sign were bullpen pieces Brad Hand and Oliver Perez, two arms that were part of the lethal Indians’ pitching staff. Hand, the Indians’ closer since 2018 continued his dominance through 2020, as he posted a 2.05 ERA with 16 saves in 23 appearances. Joining Hand in free agency is 38-year-old Oliver Perez, who has been in Cleveland since 2018. With a sub-two ERA last season, Perez’s consistency in each appearance will be missed. The fatal blow this offseason, however, comes from the blockbuster Francisco Lindor trade.

Rumors became a reality on Jan. 7th, as the Indians announced superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor was traded to the New York Mets. Thus far, this is one of the biggest 2021 MLB offseason moves. A staple in Cleveland’s lineup for six years, Lindor provided offensive firepower that was unmatched, while being a defensive wizard at shortstop.

The four-time all-star now finds himself in Queens, New York, as he will become the light at the end of the tunnel for Mets fans. Included in the trade was Carlos Carrasco, a fan-favorite with an incredible comeback story. After his battle with leukemia, Carrasco fought through adversity and finished the season 3-4 in 12 games. Among other players being dealt was Adam Cimber, who was acquired by the Miami Marlins in late November.

2021 MLB Offseason Moves: Key Returns and Addition to the Indians

Young Outfield Core

While the starting lineup will be filled with new names in 2021, two pieces will remain intact. Once a weak spot in the lineup, Cleveland’s outfield looks to be a focal point moving forward. The outfield will feature the young talents of Josh Naylor, Franmil Reyes, and Oscar Mercado.

Naylor, acquired last season in the Mike Clevinger deal, showed glimpses of star potential in the postseason. In the playoff series against the New York Yankees, Naylor went 5-for-7 with a home run and three RBIs. The former first-round pick put his name on the map and will continue to shine in 2021.

A powerful bat that will help the offensive void without Lindor is Franmil Reyes. Reyes had a breakout season last year, as the youthful bat had the second-highest batting average and OPS at .275 and .795. With the departure of Delino Deshields, fans can plan on seeing Reyes in the outfield more frequently.

Powerful Pitching

Despite the Indians bullpen taking a critical hit this offseason, their pitching remains reliable moving forward, as Shane Bieber and Zac Plesac will be the Indians’ go-to starters in 2021. Bieber dominated last season, going 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and a .87 WHIP easily winning the Cy Young Award. Plesac followed suit, as he went 4-2 in 55.1 innings of work.

Complimenting the starters is a group of developing players in Triston McKenzie, Emmanuel Clase, and James Karinchak.

Cleveland has been waiting for McKenzie, as the 23-year-old was ranked 3rd among Cleveland prospects going into 2020. Known as “Dr. Sticks”, McKenzie had a successful first season, pitching in eight games while tallying 42 strikeouts. The former top prospect will most likely see an increased role next season.

Cleveland’s front office will finally reap the benefits of the Corey Kluber trade, as flamethrower Emmanuel Clase is set to make his Indians’ debut next season. At only 22 years old, Clase is known for his electric cutter, which has topped out at 102 MPH. After being suspended for the whole 2020 season for PEDs, Clase will add more depth to the Indians’ rotation.

Another fan favorite in the shortened season was James Karinchak, a young, energetic reliever. Karinchak is the new “Wild Thing” in Cleveland, as he rocks the number 99 and strikes fear into hitters with every pitch. Look for Karinchak to continue his dominance in 2021, especially if he is able to feed off the energy from a crowd.

2021 MLB Offseason Moves: The Aftermath

Unfortunately, Cleveland fans will not see their all-star shortstop at Progressive Field this summer, however, current Indians’ president Chris Antonetti was able to land key prospects in Isaiah Greene, Josh Wolf, Andres Gimenez, and Amed Rosario.

To strengthen the middle infield, the Indians acquired two skilled shortstops in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez.

During his time in New York, Rosario was a lifetime .268 hitter, tallying 148 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. A contact hitter, Rosario will not put up monstrous power numbers but will help move runners around and with limited strikeouts.

Along with Rosario, Giménez will be a name to watch out for in the future. Only 22-years-old, Giménez has lightning-fast speed and an advanced glove that will easily play at the next level. In his rookie season, he played a total of 49 games and batted .263 with 8 stolen bases. He has shown signs of star-potential and will be a major piece moving forward.

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Dylan Feltovich is an MLB writer for Overtime Heroics. A Cleveland native, he covers the Cleveland baseball team and general MLB topics.