MLB Trade Deadline: Indians Needs and Potential Targets

We are finally in the month of July, which means we are that much closer to the July 31 trade deadline. The Indians have been floating around .500 for most of the season and may look to the trade market for improvement. They are currently sitting in third place in the AL Central behind the division leading Detroit Tigers and the second place Kansas City Royals.

The Tribe made the playoffs last season and came into this season expecting to get back there. With those expectations in mind, they have to feel as if they have underperformed up to this point. Cleveland has to make a decision and make it now, whether they want to be buyers or sellers this trade deadline. The team has needs that could help turn their season around if they are addressed in the right way.


Team Needs:

Starting Pitcher:

Justin Masterson came into this season as the Indians ace but has not looked the part all year. His 4-5 record to go along with a 5.16 ERA is not what the Indians expected out of him, especially in his contract year. Their promising young prospect Danny Salazar struggled to open the season and has since been sent down to Triple-A where he continues to struggle. Zach McAllister came off the DL on June 19 and is working his way back through the Triple-A Columbus Clippers club.

Trevor Bauer finally appears to be here to stay while Josh Tomlin and T.J. House have been very serviceable and will continue to be moving forward. This season has belonged to Corey Kluber, who had an unbelievable May and carried it over to just about every start he made in June.

Right-handed hitter:

The Cleveland Indians lineup is jammed with either left-handed or switch hitters and lack in pop from the right side. On their current MLB roster they have three right-handed hitters and none are middle-of-the-linueup type, which the Indians need. They have been bad against left-handed pitching, something that started last season and was not addressed. Though there aren't many bats out there on the trade market, that could all change in a couple weeks.

Potential Targets:

tyson-rossTyson Ross, SP, San Diego Padres

Ross is only 27-years-old and is off to a solid start this season. The big right-hander has a 2.93 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 116 and two-thirds innings so far for San Diego. He was a highly-touted prospect just a few years ago, and may finally be figuring it all out now that he is past the hype stage. Ross's contract ends at the end of the season and he will be eligible for arbitration, something that has to go into the decision for the Indians. Ross could be an upgrade at the No. 2 or 3 starter spot for the rest of this season as the Indians look to get back to the postseason.

Other Notable Options: Ian Kennedy, SP, SD; AJ Burnett, SP, PHI; Kyle Kendrick, SP, PHI; Wade Miley, SP, ARI; Jake Arrieta, SP, CHC.

a-josh-willinghamJosh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins:

Willingham wasn't himself last season when he hit just .208 with 14 home runs and 48 rbis. He has already missed 41 games this season with a broken wrist but appears to be past that issue. He is just a little more than a year removed from a 35 home run 110 rbi season. Willingham could bring a right-handed bat with some pop who could get on a hot streak, which would be a very welcome sign in Cleveland.

Other Notable Options: Carlos Quentin, OF, SD; Marlon Byrd, OF, PHI.

It's going to be tough sledding for the Tribe as they look to make trades. They don't want to get rid of any of their prospects, they won't be able to land any of the big targets. By combining Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera in a package the Indians may be able to get one or two of the players mentioned above.

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