Should the Indians make a move? Should they be aggressive heading into the trade deadline in an attempt to improve this team? Call me crazy, but I say no. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat and begins berating me about letting a golden opportunity slip away, allow me to explain myself.
Here’s the thing. Everyone can agree that the Indians, as currently constructed, aren’t really a World Series contender. Yes, they can get hot for stretches and they CAN look impressive every now and then, but at this point in the season, they just don’t have the look. What they are is a team benefitting from being in a week division that makes them appear better than they really are. They don’t score enough to compete with the big boys, they bullpen struggles when they’re behind, and honestly, they have to many quick fix band aids that aren’t fixing anything.
Why then should the Indians make a move? Why get desperate, make a stupid trade for someone who may not make a difference, and risk the long-term health of the organization? It makes no real sense considering the Indians aren’t a team that can simply throw money at their problems and when those fixes turn into problems, throw more money at those too. The Indians need to play this smart. Why not stand pat in a market in which there are no clear-cut sellers and those who are selling will be selling junk? Or better yet… why not sell their own junk?
After this season, the Indians will finally be free of Travis Hafner‘s massive mistake of a contract, Grady Sizemore with come off the books, and even the veterans signed to one year deals will free up salary space. In addition, nothing except for a miracle right now is going to fix what’s wrong with Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera has hit a brick wall in terms of his production (1 for his last 24), and the bullpen save for Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez is in shambles. Why not then lay low and utilize what will be an advantageous situation this winter to really improve? Why not trade away Derek Lowe, Casey Kotchman, and maybe Jose Lopez for whatever they can get in return?
Besides, in order to make any type of impact move the Indians will need to give up something of value. Considering how many buyers there appears to be, odds are the prices for even the most middling of additions will sky-rocket. In any other year a Josh Willingham or Carlos Quentin could probably be had for cheap. This year the Twins and Padres can ask for a king’s ransom. And why not when so many teams will be fighting each other for them? That’s not even the worst of it.
Do you really think you want Justin Upton? First off, he has a no trade clause that includes the Indians. Second, he’s locked up for another 3 years. Arizona isn’t giving that up for Derek Lowe, Casey Kotchman, and a Double A prospect throw in. It’s going to take a substantial package that includes Lonnie Chisenhall, Justin Masterson, Maybe Shin-Soo Choo, Francisco Lindor and another prospect… or two. The Indians would have to knock their socks off and then some. And for what? They’d be worse off then they are now. Great, we have Justin Upton for the next three years and nothing else around him except Jason Kipnis…
That’s why the Indians should be savvy about this. They’ve done a great job of turning veterans on one year contracts into quality pieces for the future. Why not continue to operate in that manner at least for another year? This isn’t a championship team, not even close and one deal won’t change that.
I know I’ve been hard on the Dolan’s and the front office for their lack of moves and spending of money on quality players, but that doesn’t mean I want them to be stupid. Don’t mortgage away the future in the hopes of turning this team into a contender now. I will say this, though. If they can somehow find a way to build for next year via a trade but not giving away a ton in exchange, then go for it, but it has to be the right player for the right price. In this market today, I just don’t see that.
Young teams need to be built organically from the ground up. They need to learn from the experience of losing how exactly to win. The Indians are young in a lot of places, but they’re also talented. The wins will come eventually. There’s no need to rush this, at all.