The Myrtle Beach Mermen have acquired 3B Jose Acevedo from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for RF Jose Mata and 3B Man-chae Lee, with the Indians retaining all of the remaining portion of Acevedo’s $33M contract for this season.
Acevedo has been the second-best 3B so far this year, putting up 3.3 WAR through the first 93 games. In Acevedo -- a two-time MVP, one-time Gold Glove winner, and potential Hall of Famer -- the Mermen get an elite defender at 3B with one of the best arms in baseball. He’s also having his best season with the bat since his last MVP season in 2030. It’s not immediately apparent where Acevedo fits into the Myrtle Beach lineup. His defensive versatility is lacking somewhat, as he can only play 3B at an above-average level. Current 3B Manny Salazar is having a good year, with an OPS+ of 121 and good defensive numbers at the hot corner. It’s possible Salazar is moved to LF with Cruz Macia shifting over to RF in place of Won-keun Leem. However they do it, the Mermen will have added another big bat to an already stacked lineup.
The Indians have thrown in the towel. With Cleveland currently sitting in 13th place and only one game out of the final wildcard spot, the move comes as a bit of a surprise. Mi-chin Yoon’s awful contract will likely hamstring the Indians for the next four years, and with Acevedo and four other players on expiring deals, this seemed like the final year for Cleveland to compete for a while. Instead, they’ve doubled down on adding more pieces to their already excellent farm. Mata is OSA’s 62nd-ranked prospect, and will be Cleveland’s second top LF prospect beside Gil Conti. Cleveland’s system was weak on the offensive side, with Conti being the only batter in their top nine prospects, so Mata will help fill a need there. Man-chae Lee is a career minor leaguer who has put up monster numbers in AAA for the past three years. At 29 years of age, Lee is a full-grown Man -- in both name and stature -- so his numbers against younger players in AAA aren’t all that exciting. Cleveland likely could’ve gotten another prospect or two instead of Lee -- if not from the Mermen then from one of the other contending teams.