Six days until the Deadline…

After Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the White Sox, Indians manager Manny Acta went on a mini rant about the upcoming Trade Deadline. The point he wanted to make was that Cleveland, headed by rookie GM Chris Antonetti (pictured), is working hard to pull off a deal or two.

“The truth will come out,” Acta said. “A lot of people will be shocked, surprised and be quiet for a long time after they find out every effort that the team put into it.”

Now, granted, it wasn’t exactly clear what Acta meant. After all, putting in the effort and making something happen are two entirely different things. But it was clear that Acta wanted Indians fans to know that — like them — the Tribe’s decision-makers see the areas that need obvious improvement, and the team is trying to reel in some players to help.

On Monday afternoon, Acta was asked a follow-up question about his comments the day before. The manager quickly put a stop to the direction the conversation was going.

“I already spent all the time I was going to spend talking about trade talks,” Acta said. “I have to win ballgames and I can’t be wasting my time talking about that anymore. I’m not going to give you names. I know what’s going on.

“I already told you how I feel about it and that’s good enough for me. It should be good enough for you guys, too.”

At that point, a reporter jokingly responded with, “You sure you don’t want to give us some names?”

“No,” Acta said. “That’s why I ignored your e-mail last night. Don’t waste any time sending more, because I’m not going to answer.”

Here is what is known: the Indians are in the market for outfield help and the team is browsing some available starting pitching options as well. The Tribe is not specifically looking for a right-handed bat. The bigger issue is adding any type offense, but the team has to keep in mind that injured outfielders Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo are expected to return later this season.

Right now, there are a heck of a lot of names being tossed around in trade rumors involving the Indians’ search for help. Outfielders that have been mentioned include B.J. Upton, Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, Ryan Ludwick. Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence are also out there, but unlikely to land in Cleveland.

Among starting pitching options, Hiroki Kuroda and Aaron Harang have been mentioned. Other arms rumored to be available are guys like Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Marquis. For what it’s worth, the Indians were also linked to catcher Chris Ianetta in one rumor that surfaced last week.

Finances don’t appear to be a huge part of what might stop a big trade from taking place. I think the bigger issue — one Acta often brings up — is “mortgaging the future” in order to land a big name. While Indians prospects such as Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Lonnie Chisehall and Jason Kipnis might not be entirely untouchable, it’d take something huge to convince Cleveland to send them packing as part of a deal.

Among the names listed above, here are a few candidates that might make sense:

Hunter Pence
Current team: Astros
2011 salary: $6.9 million
Contract: Under control through 2013
Stats: .308/.355/.472 with 11 homers, 62 RBIs (stats through July 24)
Comment: Houston does not need to part with Pence this year, so I think it’d take quite the package to pry him away. A top prospect or two would likely need to be in the deal. Also, his salary could climb to around $10 million for 2012 and even higher for 2013. Pence would look good in a Tribe uniform, but I don’t see it happening.

B.J. Upton
Current team: Rays
2011 salary: $4.825 million
Contract: Under control through 2012
Stats: .229/.310/.395 with 15 homers, 52 RBIs
Comment: People might question his character and attitude, but it’s hard to question his speed and power potential. Plus, what he would earn in arbitration for 2012 would likely cost less than the $8.5 million option on Grady Sizemore. Upton is an intriguing possibility, but would present a whole new set of questions about the 2012 outfield alignment.

Ryan Ludwick
Current team: Padres
2011 salary: $6.775 million
Contract: Free agent this offseason
Stats: .241/.305/.380 with 11 homers, 61 RBIs
Comment: Remember him? The average and on-base aren’t quite there, but he has decent enough power, considering he’s playing in PETCO Park. Would be a rental player and would not likely cost much in terms of Minor Leaguers lost. Could transition nicely into backup or split role when Sizemore and/or Choo return.

Hiroki Kuroda
Current team: Dodgers
2011 salary: $12 million
Contract: Free agent in offseason
Stats: 6-12, 3.19 ERA in 20 starts
Comment: Would be a rental to help the rotation, which has been riddled with injuries and inconsistency all year. Has been a reliable arm for L.A. Don’t look at the win-loss record — it’s deceiving. He’s been a solid bet for six innings and has been strong of late. Over last nine starts, has 2.78 ERA and a .221 average against. Indians could stand to have another arm, expecially with Alex White (on 60-day DL) and Mitch Talbot (15-day DL) set to make their respective returns as relievers.

Aaron Harang
Current team: Padres
2011 salary: $4 million
Contract: $5 million mutual option for 2012 or $500K buyout
Stats: 8-2, 3.29 ERA in 16 starts
Comment: That affordable mutual option is an intriguing aspect to Harang’s deal, potentially providing an added layer of depth for next year. The Indians have also expressed interest in Harang in the past. He missed time in July with a foot issue, but has a 1.47 ERA in three July starts since returning. Over his past eight outings, Harang has gone 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA.

Who do you think the Tribe should add?

–JB

4 Comments

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What happened to our offense and defense?

We don’t need pitchers we need somehow who can hit the ballout of the infield. What have we scored 4 runs this week? Missed on Beltran, those other guys are just alright. Both of our “good” outfielders are hurt…maybe we’ll try to win next year.

Great, less than 24 hours and I will be “shocked and surprised” by what the top brass did to improve the team. Uhmm, but wait, does that mean I will be shocked and surprised that the Indians landed a right handed power bat? Or will I be shocked and surprised that we offered top prospects but that teams turned us down? Well, it won’t be long now, guess I’m staying tuned!

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