July 31 is far behind us, but there’s another, less-hyped trade deadline on the horizon. Teams can still trade players, they just have to go through the waiver process first. And August 31 is the deadline for teams to acquire players to be eligible for playoff rosters—that’s just a week away.
In this edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked our respondents: What (if anything) should the Indians do before the August 31 trade deadline? Joining our panel this week is guest contributor Steve Eby from Did The Tribe Win Last Night?
Steve Eby (Did The Tribe Win Last Night?): Any move that the Indians make before the August 31 waiver deadline would probably be met with a collective yawn from Cleveland fans. August trades don’t normally involve very big names, unless that big name is someone who used to be big in years past. Travis Hafner is the name that would make the most sense to get shipped out of town before September, but Pronk does the other teams very little good (or the Indians, for that matter) when he’s sitting on the disabled list.
I don’t think that the Indians will make a roster move, and if they do, it would be one that almost nobody will notice. If they can find a taker for Casey Kotchman, Shelley Duncan or Jack Hannahan then they should go ahead and trade them. All three of those guys will likely not be back for 2013 and have replacements that are just as or more intriguing to watch. The reality is, however, that the Indians will likely remain quiet until the offseason, which I have a feeling will be very noisy in the front office and on the trade front.
Lewie Pollis: I’m happy to consider dealing anyone for the right return package, but the Tribe’s top priority should be trying to find a taker for Casey Kotchman. Having his anemic bat in the lineup at the most offensive-driven position in the game was hard to swallow even when we supposedly needed his glove to stay in competition, but now that this year’s playoff hopes are lost there’s no reason for him to continue to block Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler.
The nice thing about Kotchman that sets him apart from the Indians’ other major waiver trade candidates is that they’d almost certainly be able to find a taker for him. Yes, his hitting stats are pretty bad, but there’s a (largely correct) feeling that he’s better than his numbers. What’s more, he’s one of the best defensive first basemen in the game, and that could make him an attractive target for a contender looking for a boost in the field. It wouldn’t really matter what they’d get in return—no matter what, the team would save around $500,000 and be forced to give a higher-upside player a shot.
Ed Carroll: I’m firmly in the camp that the 2013 third base job is Lonnie Chisenhall‘s to lose, so that leaves Jason Donald, Brent Lillibridge and Jack Hannahan fighting for a utility infield position. If the Indians can get Hannahan through waivers, then he’s the one who should be dealt, mostly because he still has some value for his defense. It’s obvious the 2011 offensive numbers were a mirage and Hannahan is primarily a third baseman, while Donald and Lillibridge can play all over the field.
Hannahan isn’t going to be terribly expensive, but he’s also simply not needed anymore, and the Indians should try to move him if they can. Don’t have a third base competition and further impede Chisenhall’s development.
Steve Kinsella: As the races in the divisions and wild card are still tight we may see more activity than normal at the August 31st deadline and the Indians could be right in the thick of it. First to be put up on the waiver wire should be Roberto Hernandez as I believe he would be claimed by the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Angels, the Detroit Tigers, or the New York Yankees. With Bartolo Colon‘s suspension, the Angels’ crumbling rotation, the Yankees’ possible loss of Ivan Nova (15-day DL), and the Tigers’ possible loss of Doug Fister there is a high probability that these teams will hold a fresh Hernandez with some value.
Brian Heise: I don’t think now is the time for the Indians to do anything drastic in terms of acquiring players. If they were going to do something brave and bold it should have been at the July 31st deadline. Now that they are essentially out of contention for a playoff spot their best course of action should be to sit back and see what can fall into their laps. If the right player gets released that would seem like a good fit for this team in 2013 and possibly beyond, then by all mean snatch him up.
As for trading away members of the current roster, no stone should be left unturned. I said back in July that if Cleveland can get anything at all for players like Casey Kotchman or Shelley Duncan they should jump at the opportunity. The Indians might not be able to change the course of this season, but they might be able to help themselves in 2013 if they play their cards right.