Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti joined ESPN’s Buster Olney on his podcast on Tuesday (audio link) and discussed a number of topics, including the recent suspension of Marlon Byrd, the breakout of super utilityman Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley’s shoulder rehab, the upcoming amateur draft and the club’s financial flexibility as the trade deadline approaches. “I don’t expect that we’ll be limited,” said Antonetti. “In fact, the years in which we’ve been in contention, ownership’s always been great about providing us the resources that we would need to improve the team. I think that we’ll still always have to be cognizant of contracts that we take on, but if there’s the right player out there on the right deal, and the talent return is the right value for us, then I’m confident we’ll be able to improve the team.” Many expect Cleveland to be on the hunt for outfield help with Byrd and Abraham Almonte suspended due to failed PED tests and Brantley’s return still undetermined.
Elsewhere in the AL Central…
- The White Sox aren’t planning to simply sit back idly after acquiring James Shields from the Padres, writes Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. The amount of money that San Diego kicked in to cover the cost of Shields’ contract has the White Sox positioned to add “at least two more important cogs for a playoff push,” per Levine. Chief among the Sox’ needs at this point are a left-handed bat and a left-handed setup man for the bullpen. Levine lists Jay Bruce as a player of interest, though he notes that when the Sox spoke to the Reds about Bruce in Spring Training, Cincinnati was “adamant” that the Sox would have to cover at least $11MM of the $12.5MM that Bruce is earning in 2016. Beyond that, Levine writes that the chances of the South Siders parting with top prospects Tim Anderson and Carson Fulmer in any trade this season, regardless of target, are “close to zero.” For those interested in some names that could be available as targets for the Sox, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd penned an updated list of the game’s top trade candidates earlier today.
- In other White Sox news, the team will skip the next start of left-hander Carlos Rodon due to discomfort in his neck which eventually extended into his arm, per CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes (links to Twitter). The Sox had Rodon undergo an MRI as a precaution, but the test revealed no problems. GM Rick Hahn tells Hayes that Rodon wasn’t happy to be skipped, and Hayes notes that the problem appears to be short term in nature, as Rodon has been cleared to return to the mound. Miguel Gonzalez will start in his place on Thursday, and Rodon will rejoin the rotation following that.
- Byron Buxton chatted with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his recent demotion and the way in which it allowed him to refocus and reevaluate his approach at the plate. As Berardino notes, Buxton has hits in all six games since returning from Triple-A Rochester, including multi-hit games in his past three contests. Buxton batted .336/.403/.603 in his 29 games with Rochester and credited Triple-A hitting coach Chad Allen for helping him to restore his confidence at the plate. While the six games since his return are obviously too small a sample from which to glean any form of definitive insight, it’s also the best stretch of games he’s delivered this season.