After the lineup was announced on Wednesday, it became evident that the Indians must find an outfielder to add to the roster before the trade deadline. The lineup I am referring to saw Austin Kearns in left field, Ezequiel Carrera in center, and Luis Valbuena in left. Of course, this only occurred because of the absences of Michael Brantley (sickness) and Travis Buck (hit in head with pitch), along with the injuries to Sizemore and Choo.
Even though this was the case, injuries are a part of the game, and there must be more depth on this team if they want to reach the playoffs. It was announced yesterday that Sizemore underwent abdominal surgery on a sports hernia, which will keep him sidelined until late August or early September. This is also around the time when Choo is expected to return, but there is no telling when the two will return to the level of play that is needed for a pennant race.
As of now, the outfield consists of Austin Kearns, Ezequiel Carrera, Michael Brantley, and Travis Buck. The only one who truly belongs on the field in Brantley. I am not trying to take anything away from the other three, but none of them have done enough to prove that they truly belong. Carrera has only appeared in 13 games, so it is still too early to make a decision on him. However, I would much rather have another player out there such as a Hunter Pence or Ryan Ludwick.
I realize that it is highly unlikely that the Indians would be able to get a player such as Hunter Pence or Carlos Beltran, due to the fact that their teams would demand too much. They would want top prospects such as an Alex White or even Jason Kipnis, which would never happen as he has just been called up.
The more realistic options include Ryan Ludwick, Melky Cabrera, or even Jeff Francoeur. The problem with the last two, Cabrera and Francoeur, is that they both play for the Royals. Some teams are not always too willing to trade within the division, but with the Royals being in last place, they would likely try and acquire young talent, no matter what team they made a trade with.
I am not completely throwing out the possibility of a Pence or Beltran, but it would not be like the Indians to make a move like this. The front office has been all about acquiring young talent, and the talent is finally making its way to the pros. Players such as Chisenhall and Kipnis are the prized possessions of the organization, and it would be unlike the front office to trade them away in exchange for a player that would not be a long term option. This is because when Choo and Sizemore come back, they will still regain their playing time. Getting a player such as Melky Cabrera or Ryan Ludwick would provide the team with a solid core of outfielders.
By August 1st the Indians should have some new faces on the team, and hopefully the same young faces, Chisenhall, Kipnis and White, will be here as well. It will be very interesting to see how the next two weeks play out, leading up to the deadline on July 31st.