Overall, the Cleveland Indians feel like the best fit should the Washington Nationals want to trade Bryce Harper. Would they be willing to trade precious prospects to net get the superstat?
Well, they have a clear need in the outfield that Harper can fill. Michael Brantley is the standout outfielder, but he’s had problems staying healthy throughout his major league career.
Then the Indians are currently piecing together the rest of the outfield with a combination of Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Melky Cabrera and Brandon Guyer. They also have Lonnie Chisenhall, but he’s out until around September time with a calf strain.
They’re also in a pretty clear win-now situation, proven even more so by the acquisition of Brad Hand. They gave up promising catching prospect Francisco Majie to get Hand and fellow reliever Adam Cimber.
Despite dealing Mejia, they still have a good farm system to give up enough for Harper. Their top two prospects are both starting pitchers, in Triston McKenzie and Shane Bieber, but neither would be on the table for a rental.
Nolan Jones is their 3rd ranked prospect and was ranked as a top 100 prospect by MLB.com before the season. He would be a great centerpiece, with a career .289 average, .393 OBP, and .843 OPS.
Then to make up the rest of the trade, the Nationals would likely want major league ready talent.
Bradley Zimmer was the Indians top prospect between 2015 and 2017 but suffered a torn labrum this year. He’s a very toolsy outfielder that has a fairly similar profile to Michael A. Taylor. He has the floor of a fantastic fourth outfielder but if he can limit the Ks then he has the upside of a dynamic leadoff man eventually.
Finally, a bit of a dart throw on starting pitcher Adam Plutko would make a lot of sense. He’s served as a long reliever primarily for the Indians in 2018. But, before his call-up, he was 5-3 with a 1.83 ERA in Triple-A and would add some much needed starting pitching depth.
So the full trade, with Kelvin Herrera as an extra piece to give Cleveland yet another bullpen arm, is listed below.