CLEVELAND — Ahead of the MLB trade deadline, the Cleveland Indians continue to sell. Just hours before Friday's 4 p.m. ET deadline for teams to make trades, the Indians agreed to a deal to send outfielder Eddie Rosario to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for veteran infielder Pablo Sandoval.
Signed to a one-year deal as a free agent ahead of the 2021 season, the 29-year-old Rosario has appeared in 78 of Cleveland's 99 games this year, hitting for a .254 average (.685 OPS), seven home runs and 46 RBI. The Indians' decision to trade Rosario comes one day after they dealt another veteran, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league pitcher Konor Pilkington.
Sandoval was not expected to see much time in Cleveland, and accordingly the two-time All-Star was released just hours after being being acquired. Affectionately known as "Kung Fu Panda," the 34-year-old Sandoval has appeared in 69 games for Atlanta this season, hitting for a .178 average (.645 OPS), four home runs and 11 RBI.
Laying claim to a 50-49 record, the Indians currently sit eight games back of the White Sox in the American League Central Division standings and 5.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics in a crowded American League Wild Card race. With its postseason hopes appearing dim, Cleveland appears set to embark on a youth movement through the final two months of the 2021 campaign. On Thursday, manager Terry Francona announced that he is stepping down for the remainder of the 2021 season due to health issues.