CLEVELAND — The Indians have been active at the 2021 trade deadline, and after trading away Eddie Rosario on Friday, they made two additional moves that could bolster the club's depth for the next few years.
The organization first announced it has acquired outfielder Myles Straw from the Houston Astros in exchange for relief pitcher Phil Maton and minor league catcher Yainer Diaz. Then, less than a half hour later, outfielder Jordan Luplow and reliever DJ Johnson were dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays for starting pitching prospect Peyton Battenfield.
Straw, 26, was a 12th-round pick out of St. Johns River State College in Florida and once stole 70 bases as a minor leaguer in 2018. His 17 swipes this season are second in the American League, and while he hasn't been a heavy hitter (.262/.339/.326 slash line with two home runs), he has been a solid center fielder, with zero errors and a nine-inning average range factor of 2.59 this season. What's more, he will be under the Tribe's control through at least 2025.
Battenfield was a ninth-round pick by (ironically) Houston out of Oklahoma State in 2019, but was traded to Tampa less than a year later. The right-hander was the 29th-rated prospect in the Rays organization, and in 28 career minor league games (17 starts), he is 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA with 141 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old has spent most of this season with Double-A Montgomery.
Maton leaves the Indians after parts of three seasons, during which he struck out 106 and posted a 4.30 ERA across 70 appearances. His 38 games this year are fourth-most among Cleveland relievers, trailing only stalwarts James Karinchak, Bryan Shaw, and Emmanuel Clase.
Jordan Luplow was brought to the Tribe via trade from Pittsburgh in 2019, and during his tenure showed a knack for hitting against lefties and also displayed some power. He currently has seven homers and a respectable .769 OPS, but has been out since late May with an ankle injury.
Diaz is just 22 years old but has emerged as a promising hitter in the minors, posting a .326 batting average in 198 games across for seasons. In 2021 for Low-A Lynchburg, the Dominican native is hitting .314 with five home runs and 50 RBIs while throwing out 33% of would-be base stealers from behind the plate.
Johnson has spent most of this campaign with Triple-A Columbus, putting up a 3.32 ERA in 21 relief appearances. He did pitch one game for Cleveland, allowing a run while striking out three in 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Indians have made four trades in the last two days, first sending former Gold Glove second baseman Cesar Hernandez to the Chicago White Sox for lefty pitching prospect Konor Pilkington on Thursday before shipping outfielder Eddie Rosario to the Atlanta Braves for former All-Star Pablo Sandoval (who has since been released) on Friday. Don't expect any more, as the MLB deadline passed at 4 p.m. Friday (it's usually on July 31, but was moved up this year due to the normal date falling on a Saturday).