Indians rumors: Ezequiel Carrera to be late-spring trade bait?

Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland could look to deal the versatile player if the fourth outfielder spot ends up going to someone else.

The Cleveland Indians began the offseason with a lot of question marks in their outfield, but now boast one of the strongest in the game, at least on paper. The additions of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Drew Stubbs give the Tribe several options for how to arrange their outfielders, and their final decision on who to play where could leave a potential bench player without a role.

The player most immediately at-risk seems to be incumbent fourth outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who is out of minor-league options, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com:

The Indians are taking a close look at Ezequiel Carrera this spring in the competition for the fourth outfielder role.

Given that Carrera is out of Minor League options, Cleveland essentially has two choices: place him on the active roster or risk losing him in waivers...

If the Indians do not place Carrera on their Opening Day roster, the ballclub could explore trading him to another team at the end of the spring.

Carrera, 25, has appeared in 116 games for the Indians over the last two seasons, hitting .255/.306/.347 with two home runs and 18 stolen bases in that span. While Carrera doesn't wield the most potent of bats, his ability to cover all three outfield spots well can make him a valuable asset, though perhaps no so much for Cleveland anymore.

With Michael Brantley, Bourn, and Stubbs locked in for Opening Day, the Tribe already has three outfielders who ably man center field. Thus, the club may decide to give their fourth outfielder spot to a player like Yan Gomes or Ben Francisco -- someone who may limited to the corners, but can provide a lot more pop with his bat than Carrera.

Manager Terry Francona told Bastian that Carrera is "potentially a very good fit" for the ballclub, but that if they're unable to find room for him, then they'll definitely lose him to another team.

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