After the Cleveland Indians failed to trade for Jonathan Lucroy, they have now acquired Brandon Guyer from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Brandon Guyer destroys lefties. If Brandon Guyer only hit against left-handing pitching for the rest of his career, he would be an All-Star; he has hit .283/.384/.464 over the course of his career against southpaws (399 at-bats).
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Initially, the Indians had a deal in place for Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but after Lucroy vetoed the trade, Cleveland was forced to search elsewhere for offense. This afternoon, the Indians traded for Brandon Guyer as a right-handed counter to lefty starters. He should make several starts at DH and in the outfield for the Indians.
This season, Guyer has been able to improve on his role as the lefty-killer. In 64 at-bats against lefties, Guyer has hit .344/.488/.594 with four homers and nine RBI. Guyer’s playing time will only improve once he joins the team in Cleveland. Indians fans can also anticipate his numbers will increase as his new manager Terry Francona will match him up more against lefties (as opposed to the Rays consistently batting him against righties, which was ill-advised).
Anyway, the Indians will send prospects to Tampa Bay in return for the new Guy(er). Guyer, who leads Major League Baseball in being hit by pitches (23), is headed to Cleveland in exchange for minor leaguers Nathan Lukes (OF) and Jhonleider Salinas (RHP). Lukes was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft and is hitting .299 in the minors this year. Salinas, signed as an international free agent out of Caracas, Venezuela, has a 2.70 ERA through 30.0 minor league innings this season.
Guyer, who is represented by Relativity Baseball, will not hit free agency until 2019. This is an additional attractive caveat of acquiring the right-handed hitter. My next question: are the Indians done trying to acquire offense? Although Guyer can fill a void against lefties, he does not represent the firepower that the Indians coveted in Lucroy.