With the acquisition of Michael Bourn, the Cleveland Indians find themselves with a surplus of outfielders, which could motivate the club to move one in a trade. The most likely outfielder to get dealt is center fielder Drew Stubbs, acquired from the Cincinnati Reds this offseason, since Bourn is a plus defender in center and will be the every day starter. Could the Tampa Bay Rays be interested in trading for Stubbs?
Stubbs is considered a very good fielder and many project him as a nice upside play for a team that’s able to give him consistent at-bats. He has decent speed with good base running ability and is a threat to swipe a bag, stealing 30 bases in 2012. Set to make just under $3 million next season, he wouldn’t be a huge burden on a team working with a tight budget and could be a calming factor for tumultuous outfield situations.
Right now, the Rays don’t seem to have a natural center fielder on their roster that they feel comfortable with on an every day basis. Acquiring Stubbs would allow Desmond Jennings to stay in his natural position of left field and free Ben Zobrist to play a super-utility role, manning second base, first base and right field as needed, but staying in the lineup as one of the Rays’ better options at the plate.
The Indians should be motivated to move one of their outfielders, whether it is Stubbs or Michael Brantley, to allow some of the Indians’ new faces to fill roles they’re comfortable with (Bourn in center, Nick Swisher in right). If the price is right, look for Tampa Bay to make an offer for Stubbs and solidify their outfield for the 2013 season.