FanPost

Time to Make Room for BenFran?

We've had discussions of the current outfield roster jam that will leave Ben Francisco in Buffalo to start the year, and the complication that will arise when Shin-Soo Choo, who is out of options, is ready to come off the DL in May.

I have to believe the Indians are going to give Andy Marte more than two months of inconsistent playing time to prove he can hit at the Major League level.    Even if he proves he can hit, I doubt Blake, the only third base insurance policy on the roster, would be sent elsewhere.  So when Choo comes back, it will be at the expense of another outfielder (Michaels, Dellucci, a slumping Gutierrez).

With that cloudy preface, is now the time to deal Jason Michaels?  Francisco has a reverse split, so  projecting him as Michaels' replacement seems counterintuitive.  Yet with the majority of pitchers being right handed, I have a hard time believe Francisco over Michaels, despite the splits, would be THAT costly.  Maybe the real question is whether Francisco, if his reverse split is legit, should be starting in left field over David Dellucci.

And the whole point of my diary is to ask whether the Indians would benefit from dealing Michaels or Dellucci if the Mets, now without Moises Alou, had any interest?  The possible return is of course dispositive on the issue, considering the Indians don't HAVE to deal an outfielder at this time.  The Indians can hold on to their outfielders until late May when Choo returns or wait for the first injury that would require Francisco to join the Indians, then deal an outfielder to fill an identified need.

But if the Tribe is content with Gutierrez in  right, filling left with a combination of Francisco, Choo, and maybe even Brian Barton, if returned from the Cards, would likely still exceed the LF production from last year.

I'm not sure what the Indians would be looking for in return, and they certainly don't need the payroll relief, but perhaps RHP Joe Smith can be had.  LHP Pedro Feliciano would be nice, but I doubt the Mets would have interest in dealing him for a combination of an outfielder other than Ben Francisco and Aaron Fultz.

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