Antonetti Opens Up About the Trade Deadline

This morning, Indians GM Chris Antonetti went on The Really Big Show to discuss the Tribe’s positioning in regards to the approaching trade deadline.  It was a bold move for Antonetti.  For starters, he risked leaking valuable information that could be used against the Indians when it comes to making a potential deal.  Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but rival gm’s will use any piece of info available to them in order to sweeten a deal and swing it in their favor.  Second, Antonetti put himself directly in the cross hairs of the fan base, which for the record is becoming increasingly more impatient and frustrated as each day passes without a deal.

So what exactly did we learn from the interview?  Here are a couple of key points to take away:

  • Money will not play a factor in whether or not the Indians make a deal.  It will come down to the package of prospects being asked for in exchange.
  • Given the right circumstances for the right player, there are no untouchable players within the Indians organization.
  • The Indians are after both a bat and an arm.
  • The Indians understand the situation they are in and will not simply allow it to pass by without exploring any and all trade opportunities.
  • They have called several teams and made principal offers.
  • Sellers are still shopping the market and looking for the best offers.  As we approach the end of the week we should begin to see a pickup in activity not just with the Indians, but with all teams in contention.
  • The Indians expect both Sizemore and Choo to be back by the beginning of September.

It was quite the interview to say the least, lots of good stuff to take away.  From the sound of things it would appear the Indians will more than likely make a move.  I think that much is all but guaranteed at this point.  The problem, however, is the issue regarding not trading away prospects.  Allow me to explain.

For any of the names that have been rumored, the best of the best have been Carlos Beltran, Ryan Ludwick, Hunter Pence and now BJ Upton.  The problem is that to acquire any of the three will require trading away a large number of prospects and perhaps even a piece from the big league club.  The Mets, Padres, Astros and Rays aren’t just going to give these guys away for ten cents on the dollar.  Needless to say I don’t foresee the Indians making a deal for any of them unless they are getting another quality piece to go along with it. (For the record, sign me up for BJ Upton.  Yes, he’s struggled a bit in terms of his batting average the past two years, but much like with Beltran, you can’t deny the impact he had during the ’08 playoffs.  He was scary good for the Rays that year.)

So where does that leave the Indians in terms of making a deal, if in fact we believe they plan on making one?  I go back to the names I’ve been hearing and have brought up over the course of the past week.  The most likely players to be playing for the Indians next week are Melky Cabrera, Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, or possibly even Jeff Francoeur. 

I believe Willingham is the best option among them.  He’s consistently put up solid numbers throughout his career and he’s done most of it playing in stadiums that aren’t necessarily considered hitter friendly.  He’s spent most of his time playing in Dolphin Stadium (don’t know what it’s called right now), Washington’s new stadium, and the Oakland Colessium.  What happens if you put him in the Indians lineup hitting in Progressive Field?  One has to believe we’d see an immediate increase in his numbers, especially in terms of home runs and slugging percentage.

I would also take Melky Cabrera just for the level of confusion it would create for everyone.  Has there ever been a team with three players who all had the same last name?  In the prefect scenario in which Manny Acta is forced to tweak his lineup, we could see three Cabrera’s bat in a row.  Cabrera could hit a home run that drives in Cabrera and Cabrera.  I also think out of the realistic players Melky Cabrera has the most talent and most potential left to fulfill.  His teammate Jeff Francoeur, we know what he is at this point, an impatient hitter who strikes out way too much.  Coco Crisp… I’d rather hook my nipples up to a car battery than see him in an Indians uniform again.

So there you have it, the latest from the world of Indians trade rumors.  It’s only Monday so I’m sure we’ll hear more as the week progresses.  In the meantime, let’s hope the Indians can get back on the winning track against the Angels and Royals.  If they can’t, it might render any move they make useless.

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