The Cleveland Indians released Jesus Aguilar last month, proving that the organization is not as protective of its prospects as it was in the past.
The Cleveland Indians used to treat prospects like rare gems. Trading any of the team’s top prospects for major league talent was unheard of, but that changed in 2016.
The trade that brought Andrew Miller to Cleveland saw the Indians send Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield to the New York Yankees. Both were expected to play for the Indians in the future, but acquiring Miller during a winning season was too good an offer to pass up.
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The era of rebuilding came to an end and the Indians committed to chasing a championship. The years of building up the roster helped this become a reality, but it also took a commitment to spending more, and giving up prospects, for the team to take that next step. This continued with the signing of Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million deal.
A more under-the-radar roster move happened just over a week ago, when the Indians added Richie Shaffer. His addition led to Jesus Aguilar being let go.
Aguilar, who was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers, was a player who falls under the infamous “AAAA” category, never being able to piece it together in the big leagues.
The 26-year-old was signed as a free agent back in 2007, and only managed to log 58 at-bats with the Indians, never hitting a single home run. For supposedly being the team’s future power bat, this was not a good sign.
Aguilar was not given a great deal of time to prove himself, but the team’s new philosophy favors spending on players like Mike Napoli and Edwin Encarnacion, who are proven power hitters, over giving an unproven prospect several more years to potentially prove himself.
The Indians of old may have given Aguilar one more year to make his case for a spot on the roster, but this current team of World Series favorites has no time for projects.
Aguilar may see more time at the MLB level with the Brewers, but fans should not worry if he sees success there. He did not have a spot on this Indians roster, so letting him go elsewhere was the best choice.