What Do The Indians Need?

The Indians have been exploring trades, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, but the market remains undefined with so many teams still in contentionBastian adds that he expects the team to lean toward internal moves for upgrades at primary positions.  He believes they could make deals for backup-type players, with high-priced acquisitions unlikely.  The Indians are one game back in the AL Central after being swept by the Giants over the weekend.

A pair of Indians position players are currently on the DL in first baseman Matt LaPorta and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo.  LaPorta, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, will rejoin the team for batting practice on Friday and is eligible to be activated on July 4th.  Choo is expected to need surgery on a broken thumb and might be out until mid-August.  The Tribe will go with an Austin Kearns/Travis Buck platoon in right field initially.  If they eventually look outside the organization, guys like Reed Johnson and Laynce Nix could merit consideration in my opinion.

The Indians rank eighth in the AL with 4.28 runs scored per game.  Second and third base are potential areas of upgrade.  As we've discussed, the Indians are giving Cord Phelps a shot at second now and still have Jason Kipnis in the minors.  They could get more offense than what Jack Hannahan has provided at the hot corner, though top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall hasn't been amazing at Triple-A.  The biggest offensive upgrade could come from Baltimore's Mark Reynolds, but he's more than a rental.  A more reasonable alternative might be Kansas City's Wilson Betemit, though both players would represent defensive downgrades from Hannahan.  Another option could be to acquire Colorado's Josh Fields and use him in various spots as the Sky Sox have been doing.

How about the rotation?  Fausto Carmona has struggled all year.  Should he eventually be considered for a long relief role, options abound at Triple-A, as outlined by MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.  Another reinforcement could come perhaps in August if Alex White recovers from a finger injury.  So it appears the Indians will go the internal route here as well.  If GM Chris Antonetti does explore the trade market, a few of these starters will be in the mix.  There's no ace in the group, so Antonetti won't be switching to the buying side of a Cliff Lee or C.C. Sabathia type deal. 

The Tribe's bullpen may lack household names, but with an AL-best 2.94 ERA Antonetti probably will not be in the market for relievers.



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