Milwaukee Brewers: Could Indians deal Danny Salazar?
By David Gasper
The Milwaukee Brewers are still looking for starting pitching help. The Cleveland Indians may be able to provide that help with Danny Salazar.
According to reports, the Indians are open to trading Danny Salazar. Salazar, 28, is a hard throwing righty that has struggled with arm injuries in the past. But when healthy, he posts high strikeout numbers and overpowers hitters.
Salazar pitched to a 4.28 ERA in 2017 over 103 innings. In a stacked Indians rotation, he’s projected to be the fourth starter behind Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer. The best year of Salazar’s career came in 2015. He was fully healthy and finished with a 3.45 ERA in 30 starts covering 185 innings.
Why would Salazar fit in Milwaukee?
If he can remain healthy, Salazar would be a great middle of the rotation option for the Milwaukee Brewers. He could slot in behind Chase Anderson and Zach Davies, and just ahead of Jhoulys Chacin. Once Jimmy Nelson returns, that has the makings of a pretty formidable rotation.
Salazar has three years of arbitration remaining. He projects to earn $5.2 million in 2018. Although he does have several years of control, the recent arm injuries and poor season will diminish his return in a trade. The Indians aren’t exactly shopping Salazar to try to push him out of town, but they are listening to offers.
The Milwaukee Brewers should have interest in the right-hander. He’s a much cheaper alternative to any of the free agent starters, and would cost less to acquire than Chris Archer or Danny Duffy. There hasn’t been any rumored connection yet, however.
How bad are the injury concerns with Salazar?
The real problem with acquiring Salazar is keeping him healthy. He’s dealt with elbow inflammation, forearm strains, and shoulder soreness in the past two years. It doesn’t matter what pitching coach Derek Johnson can do to help Salazar improve if he can’t get on the mound.
While pitchers like Carrasco and Bauer would be of more interest to a team like the Milwaukee Brewers, those players aren’t available in any scenario. Salazar has the ability to be a second or third starter at his best, but his durability limits those chances. He’s not a workhorse the rotation can depend on every fifth day.
Salazar could have a ton of untapped potential, but there is a lot of risk in acquiring him. If he is unable to stay healthy, the trade will be a major bust. Also, the Indians asking price could still be high even after his injury plagued 2017 season. It may seem rather cliche to say acquiring Salazar makes sense at the right price, but that’s essentially where the Milwaukee Brewers are at.
He has a lot of potential in his high profile arm, and with three years of team control there’s no reason not to consider acquiring him. On the flip side, with his injury history, he’s not dependable. If Salazar can pitch like he did in 2015, he would be exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers need.
Next: Marlins to Deal Relief Pitching?
The Brewers have not been connected to Salazar at all. But with the news that he’s available, it’s a logical assumption that GM David Stearns has called the Indians to gauge the price tag on him. It’s a situation that we’ll have to monitor as we inch toward Spring Training.