Yesterday we looked at the 'big three' trade chips for the Tribe and evaluated if, why, and when the Indians should trade them. As the deadline rapidly approaches later today, it looks as if all three will be staying put. That begs the question... Will the Indians now be buyers?
I wouldn't expect any sort of buying spree. But the Indians mentality is pretty clear headed into this deadline, even though they are five games out of first place in the AL Central and 5.5 out of the AL Wild Card.
[TAKING A STANCE]
Most teams declare their intentions for the rest of the season by trading away players or trading for players. It is a way for the league, fans, and everyone in the baseball world to know what a team is going to do the rest of the season. Some teams are already out of it and their intentions are known and essentially made for them.
Some teams are definitely in it, obviously.
Then there is a group of teams where you just are not sure due to how far they are out. It really is up to them if they want to contend. Of course you can add and not contend, it's all a matter of if you win or not.
The Indians are in that group of 'could-be' contenders, 'could-be' pretenders. Teams don't have to make an addition to state their intentions, they could just, state their intentions verbally. Which is exactly what general manager Chris Antonetti did when talking about the sweep of Minnesota.
"I don't think it really affects our approach leading up to the Deadline," Antonetti said during a break between meetings on Monday. "Certainly, we would've preferred to be closer to first place than we are right now, but there's still a lot of time left in the season, and teams demonstrated last year there's still an opportunity to overcome a deficit.The most important thing for us is that we get back to playing well and winning games."
So if you read into that, the season is still something to play for. They might not make an addition that they think will put them over the edge but they're still focused on trying to compete.
"Definitely," said the pitcher. "I think that's the way everybody feels, each guy in the clubhouse, but especially me."
"The guys were really excited, because the team did everything to get me," Jimenez said. "They were trying to do everything to win."
So now would be the time to try to do everything to reward the Indians for getting you out of Colorado and bringing you here. You get a Fausto and a consistent Jimenez (we've seen he still can be good) then this staff is starting to look a little more better than getting two, if that, random good games here and there.
And all of a sudden, you're in contention without making a deal.
Jon Heyman provides the most latest update, saying the Indians are expected to hold most, if not all, their key pieces. Um, thanks for that Jon.
[NOT EXPECTING WHAT IS EXPECTED]
ESPN's Jayson Stark says that the Indians are not expecting to deal either Shin-Soo Choo or Justin Masterson. But an NL executive counters that saying that Masterson is on the market.
Maybe he is on the market, but like I said, there's a lot of teams out there that would like Masterson, so I reserve judgment to if they are actually thinking of trading him to when, they actually trade him. Which is not likely at all in my opinion.
Stark also says the Indians need to be "overwhelmed" which followed my line of thinking in trading Shin-Soo Choo. It just does not make sense unless you not only replace Choo, but gain an additional part or two for other needs.
Anthony Castrovince chimed in on the Choo issue, essentially stating the same thing I said yesterday. If they get a impulse buyer, listen, if not, wait til the winter or next season.
So maybe the Indians use a strength like Choo to address a weakness, be it in the rotation or the long-term outfield alignment. The Deadline presents a frenzied environment in which clubs act impulsively, so this could be a time to reap a robust return. Or if the Indians are really serious about dangling Choo, they can also wait until winter, when more clubs can get involved. Or they could keep him, knowing they could always monitor this market a year from now, if 2013 goes off-track.
Castrovince also noted that maybe the Indians, seeing what they're getting from Ubaldo may adjust their window. Maybe it isn't as open as they thought, but I don't think that would be the case. By staying open for business year, they very much think their window is still open and they're still going for it.
One of the ideal targets for the Indians pitching staff had they been buyers is off the market. The Atlanta Braves, getting blocked in the Ryan Dempster sweepstakes were able to get both Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm off the Cubs.
A trade that the Indians fans would have probably liked given that the Braves got an outfielder and an arm. The Cubs received two pitching prospects, a 25-year-old reliever who's been at Triple A for the Braves and the 40th ranked prospect by Baseball America, Arodys Vizcaino, who's missed this season recovering from Tommy John surgery. It shows you it wouldn't have taken a whole heck of a lot to get Maholm from the Cubs.
This series is oh so important. With the Tigers looming again, the Indians cannot worry about even playing them until they handle their business with the Royals. I'm not sure if it was a high from beating the Tigers two out of three times or what it was, but they cannot have a repeat of the three games they had in Minnesota.
It would just be unacceptable to go out and play like that again. And it starts with Derek Lowe, who may not be battling for his job because of the lack of options, but in my opinion is battling for a lot of pride. The Indians will probably replace Josh Tomlin with Roberto Hernandez when he is ready, but Lowe is by no means out of the water. He has a job to do and while he's looked a little better than he did a few weeks ago and last month, he has to turn this around and at least give the Indians a chance to win some games.
Nino has a blog! Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily, or else Will Smith will drop down and erase your alien face memory.