With the trade deadline bearing down on us with each and every passing day, I decided to ask the crew here at Wahoo’s on First what they would do. Essentially, we were going to play make believe that we were the GM of the Indians and had to make one, and only one, move to get this team into the playoffs and beyond. The only real rule put into place was that the trade had to be something legitimate that wouldn’t cause mass chaos and riots in the streets. For example, trading Jason Giambi and a side of bacon to the Reds for Joey Votto doesn’t count. Anyways, here is what we all came up with.
Ed Carroll: If I’m Chris Antontetti, and I’m serious about wanting the playoffs in 2013, I find some way to blackmail KC general manager Drayton Moore into a choice between Russian roulette and trading James Shields for Jose Ramirez and Danny Salazar. Moore would inevitably choose Russian roulette, but if he admits defeat he’d receive a respectable return to partially salvage an overly aggressive trade. For the Indians, he’s a true impact pitcher, and provides the team with a second top-level pitcher to help the team have a fighting chance in a playoff series. Ramirez, a nice second-base prospect in AA Akron, is blocked in the Indians system by Jason Kipnis (and to an extent, Asdrubal Cabrera and Francisco Lindor as well) and although I think highly of Salazar, Shields is the kind of rental where I’d give him up. It’s a paltry return for KC given what they sent to Tampa for him, but that’s not Cleveland’s problem; it’s more than a fair return for the two (or hopefully, three) months of Shields.
If I’m not serious … Sell Reynolds and Ubaldo to whoever offers the highest lottery-ticket prospect for them (in separate deals).
Jeff Mount: I think there’s another Choo trade out there involving Cabrera or Perez. I think we are better this year with Stubbs, Albers, and Shaw than we would have been with Choo, and we got a future asset in Bauer who still has a great upside. If that sort of deal presents itself I would grab it, or if someone offers a prospect who projects as a core players by 2015; otherwise I would look for a lefty reliever without giving up a real prospect and leave the headlines to the Tigers.
Steve Kinsella: The Indians should look bullpen help at the trade deadline. Do not overpay for a starting pitcher and do not repeat Brian Giles for Ricardo Rincon. In the absence of obtaining a reliever I would advise the Tribe to stand pat. The old saying goes, “If you take care of your future the present will take care of itself” and this saying is something the front office should pay attention to. The team is just now laying the foundation for some very promising seasons ahead – don’t jeopardize the process on a gamble in 2013.
Nick Houghtaling: I was thinking something like Jason Giambi for Joey Votto…
Michael Chaney: The other day, I saw a proposed trade sending Bud Norris and Jose Veras from Houston to Cleveland for Dorssys Paulino, CC Lee, and Kieran Lovegrove. I’d make that trade without hesitation (I could talk forever about my love for Bud Norris), but I don’t want to use someone else’s idea here. The Indians need reliable starting pitching, preferably someone young and/or controllable. Norris fits this description well, and if being able to acquire him is possible, hopefully Chris Antonetti is looking into it.
I’m thinking huge with this move. The Chicago Cubs have been a busy team in recent weeks, with seemingly nobody on their roster off-limits. That’s why I’m calling about starter Jeff Samardzija and lefty reliever James Russell. Samardzija looks every bit the part of a future ace and Russell has dominated left-handed hitters this year. The two are both only in their first years of arbitration eligibility, so are affordable too. The Cubs don’t seem too interested in moving Samardzija, but Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein will leave no stone unturned in an effort to transform their franchise.
The Cubs will set a high price for the two, but maybe an offer of Carlos Carrasco, Dorsyss Paulino, Tony Wolters, Matt Langwell and Mitch Brown could be enough to make a deal. Approximating these players’ values is difficult, but this deal can help both sides. The Cubs need pitching depth, and Carrasco has shown success at the major league level in the past. A patient team like the Cubs could also take their time continuing to develop him. Brown has the ability to be a solid major league starter, and Langwell is a capable reliever. Paulino will be a terrific hitter, and Wolters (a converted middle infielder) has rebounded from a slow start this year and adds catching depth to an organization that could use some. Perhaps a player to be named later could be thrown in for the Cubs as well.
The Indians avoid giving up either Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer or Danny Salazar, but still piece together an intriguing offer. Cleveland would acquire an impact starter and a lefty reliever for their bullpen, while the Cubs would add to an impressive farm system while gaining terrific young pitching.
Brian Heise: If I’m the Indians, I would do whatever I could to fortify the bullpen. Yes, the lineup tends to struggle from time to time, but we have seen what they are capable of when everything is clicking. The starting rotation is finally getting healthy and several players have finally hit their stride. It’s the bullpen, though, that has had the most turbulence. It also is the easiest aspect of the team to fix and for probably the cheapest price. With that said, I’m picking up the phone and calling the Mariners about Charlie Furbush. He’s an affordable option earning just over $500,000 this season and he is not eligible for arbitration until after next season. On top of that, Furbush is left-handed and has held opposing batters to a .185 average and .579 OPS so far this season while striking out 12.7 batters per 9 innings. The Mariners may be hesitant to part with Furbush given their recent run of success, but there is no reason to think we couldn’t pry him away for package of mid-level prospects, or possibly one of our more valuable commodities like Dorssys Paulino.