Game 18: Tribe at Royals
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti understands the perception. Players with big salaries, or nearing free agency if they’re performing well and there’s a market for them, hey, Cleveland will probably be looking for some trade partners come July.
That’s what they did with CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, etc;…
Well, not so fast. Antonetti, in Kansas City with the ballclub this week, took some time to clarify some things. Antonetti says perception is not necessarily reality. Had the Indians been in contention in 2008, for example, Sabathia would have likely stayed in a Tribe uniform for the entire season.
The team’s position in the standings has played a large role.
Here’s what Antonetti had to say…
“Going into the 2008 season, we had every expectation of contending. We were coming off a 96-win season and were one game away from the World Series. We traded CC that year, not because we wanted to trade CC, but because we weren’t a contending team.
“Had we been contending, CC would’ve stayed the year and finished as an Indian, and then gone to free agency. It was our competive position that really dictated those trades. Stepping back a year to 2007, when we were a contending team, we ended up acquiring guys.
“We acquired Lofton right around the deadline. Going back to ’05, when we were competitive, but not at the top of our division, we made the decision to keep guys. We had Kevin Millwood, who was leading the league in ERA at that point, we had a number of other veteran guys.
But, because we were a competitive team, we made the decision not to trade them. I think when you actually look at what has transpired in the past, our competitive position has largely dictated our activity at the deadline.”
That is why fans should not be expecting the Indians to be shopping guys like Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner at the Trade Deadline if Cleveland continues to perform at its current level. If anything, the Tribe might be more of a buyer come July if the team continues to have success with a shot at the top spot in the division.
Then again, it’s still too early in the season be be anointing the Tribe a “buyer” or “seller.”
“If the team is playing well,” Antonetti said, “we’d have to see where we were at that point, what our needs are, and what’s available. And, what the acquisition cost would be in terms of players and dollars. All of those things go into that decision.”
Antonetti said he hardly waits until July to approach ownership about the possibilities.
“We talk about different scenarios all the time,” Antonetti said. “It’s important for us, as we align and prioritize our scouting coverage, that we try to anticipate all the possible scenarios as best we can.”
Here are the lineups, a bit belated…
Indians (12-5) at Royals (11-6)
at Kauffman Stadium, 8:10 p.m. ET
1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Michael Brantley, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B
Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (3-0, 1.33)
1. Chris Getz, 2B
2. Melky Cabrera, CF
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Mike Aviles, 3B
7. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
8. Matt Treanor, C
9. Alcides Escobar, SS
Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21)