Cleveland Indians Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Cleveland Indians Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Are the Cleveland Indians contenders or pretenders?

    It's an impossible question to answer, with the club hanging around the outskirts of the playoff race despite having a losing record and a negative run differential, which makes the Indians one of the more intriguing teams to follow as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws near.

    They could become buyers, looking to bolster a roster that has more than a few flaws, or they could look to sell, moving pending free agents for something rather than letting them walk away after the season with nothing to show for it.

    Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Indians, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the Tribe looks to either bolster the roster for the stretch run or position themselves for future success.

Done Deals

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    July 7: Acquired OF Chris Dickerson from Pittsburgh for a player-to-be-named-later or cash considerations

    July 12: Acquired LHP Nick Maronde from Los Angeles (AL) for cash considerations

    July 30: Traded RHP Justin Masterson to St. Louis for OF James Ramsey (Analysis)

    July 31: Traded SS Asdrubal Cabrera to Washington for SS Zach Walters (Analysis coming)

Asdrubal Cabrera in Demand?

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 2:58 p.m. ET

    The Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Paul Hoynes says that the Indians have traded Cabrera. More to come.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:29 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Buster Olney says that Seattle could be a sleeper team in on Cabrera. 

    The Mariners do have a plethora of young pitching that could entice the Indians, though it's not known whether the two teams are actively discussing a deal.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 9:28 a.m. ET

    Rosenthal says that Toronto is not expected to add a hitter before the deadline, taking the Blue Jays out of the running for Cabrera.

    Washington and two mystery teams are still believed to be involved.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 8:35 a.m. ET

    While noting that he's not a lock to be traded, Rosenthal says that besides Toronto and Washington, two other teams have interest in Cabrera.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 11:06 p.m. ET

    Washington has discussed making a run at Cabrera as a possible replacement for Ryan Zimmerman at third base, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports, but it is not close to a deal.

    It's not clear if they've approached the Indians about him or if it's something that they plan on doing between now and the trade deadline Thursday.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 6:25 p.m. ET

    Both San Francisco and Toronto are looking at Cabrera as a possible everyday second baseman for the rest of the season, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Tuesday, July 29 at 2:20 p.m. ET

    Whether it indicates that the Francisco Lindor era is about to begin is unclear, but ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Indians are indeed ready to trade Cabrera.

    Despite his rather pedestrian offensive numbers and mediocre defense, there's a lack of quality middle infielders available as the deadline nears, so Cabrera may in fact have more value than anyone anticipates.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Saturday, July 26 at 5:57 p.m. ET

    Rosenthal (video link) says that Cabrera has value on the trade market due to the lack of middle infield options available and could be used to fetch the Indians help for the rotation, either a veteran arm or some young talent with upside.

    Hitting .247 with 33 extra-base hits (nine home runs), 39 RBI and a .699 OPS, the 28-year-old has yet to see significant action on the rumor mill, though that's likely to change with the trade deadline only five days away.

    --End of Update--

    Saturday, July 12 at 8:50 p.m. ET

    Should Cleveland decide to sell at the trade deadline, sources tell Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal not to expect major changes to the Indians roster.

    As a matter of fact, the only player who could find himself elsewhere is shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, a free agent after the season who is sure to be replaced by top prospect Francisco Lindor in 2015.

    A switch-hitter, the 28-year-old Cabrera is hitting .251 with 32 extra-base hits (eight home runs) and a .707 OPS. A poor defensive player, it's Cabrera's potential versatility (he can play shortstop, second base and third base, Rosenthal opines) that could be the most attractive to contending teams looking for an offensive upgrade at one of those positions.

    So far, nobody has officially been linked to him.

July 30: Acquired OF James Ramsey from St. Louis

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Age: 24

    Bats: L

    2014 Stats (Double-A):  .300/.389/.527, 28 XBH (13 HR), 36 RBI, 4-for-6 SB

    Contract Status: Yet to make MLB debut

    Considering the kind of season that Justin Masterson was having, the Indians did quite well in landing James Ramsey from St. Louis.

    The Cardinals' first-round pick in the 2012 draft (No. 23 overall), Ramsey was ranked as the team's eighth-best prospect by Baseball America heading into the year and reached Triple-A in his first full professional season.

    A participant in this year's MLB Futures Game over All-Star weekend (he went 0-for-1), Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offered this report of Ramsey's skills for Baseball America (subscription required):

    Scouts call Ramsey a gamer with great makeup, while others don’t see a standout tool. He doesn’t have a glaring weakness, however, grading out at least average across the board. Ramsey proved adept in center field with improved instincts, above-average closing speed, smart range and a solid-average arm. He took advantage of Double-A Springfield’s comfy home park and hit 15 homers but doesn’t project for that kind of power. Rather, he’s a gap hitter who will turn singles into doubles thanks to his above-average speed. His strike-zone discipline improved in 2013, but his 108 strikeouts in 347 at-bats at Double-A speak to the adjustments in store.

    While Ramsey figures to reach the major leagues first, he, Clint Frazier and Tyler Naquin give the Indians a trio of athletic, talented outfielders that could potentially become one of the better outfield combinations in the big leagues before too long.

Indians Know What They Want

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Saturday, July 26 at 8:07 a.m. ET

    The Indians are looking to add a front-line starter and a right-handed-hitting outfielder, reports the The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes.

    The team will not consider any deal that would require it to surrender top prospect Francisco Lindor, however, which likely takes it out of the running for the best starters still available.

    --End of Update--

    Wednesday, July 16 at 10:48 a.m. ET

    General managers (wisely) don't like to let on exactly what their plans are as the trade deadline approaches, and Cleveland's Chris Antonetti is no different from his counterparts around the game.

    That said, he did drop a few hints as to what he's thinking during a recent conversation with Zack Meisel of The Plain Dealer. Here's a quick rundown of what he had to say.

    On trading for rotation upgrades:

    Potentially. We're exploring all avenues to improve. The one thing we continue to believe is we have quality major league starting pitchers. Anytime you acquire a guy, you have to think about who it displaces from the team and the rotation, in that case. You have to have a high degree of confidence that it's an improvement.

    On whether he'd consider dealing prospects for a rental player:

    We're exploring a lot of different things, opportunities to improve our team for the balance of this season and then position us better moving forward, too. We've spent a lot of energy on fits for acquiring guys that we'd have control over beyond this year, not just guys that would just be here for the balance of the year.

     On whether there's one specific area of the team he's focused on improving:

    It's actually one of the interesting challenges that we have. I think there are teams out there that have glaring holes at particular spots, that it's clear, 'Hey, go out and get a right fielder, or go out and get a third baseman, or a shortstop.' I think with us, we're in a little bit of a different position in that we've got guys in those roles that are capable of contributing. So, for us to improve, we need to improve upon a higher standard. And, in some cases, we're counting on guys that we've already made commitments to rebounding. So, it's a little bit of a different dynamic for us as we look to try to improve our roster.


    Basically, the Indians will look to improve the club in any way they possibly can, but only if they have control over the player past the end of the season.

David Price Is on Cleveland's Radar

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Sunday, July 20 at 7:13 a.m. ET

    Cleveland is keeping tabs on the David Price situation in Tampa Bay, but, as one team source tells Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal (video link), the Tribe's chances of swinging a deal for the 2012 AL Cy Young Award-winner are "less than one percent."

    This isn't the first time that the Indians have expressed interest in Price, with the The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto breaking down how the conversation went the last time the two clubs spoke over the winter:

    When the Tribe talked to Tampa Bay, names mentioned by the Rays were Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar.

    I was told those two were starting points, and the Rays also wanted some top minor league prospects. I heard Francisco Lindor's name also was mentioned.

    More recently, the Indians made a play for Chicago's Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija before the pair was traded to Oakland, with Pluto's colleague Paul Hoynes reporting that the duo would have cost the team a package that included Lindor, outfielder Tyler Naquin and Salazar.

    Either of those packages is likely to be far too rich for the Indians' liking, especially given Price's escalating salary, eventual free agency and having no guarantees that he'd sign a long-term extension with the club.

If the Indians Are Buying, the Starting Rotation Is Where They Should Add

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Update: Sunday, July 6 at 9:10 p.m. ET

    The Indians checked in with the Cubs as to what it would have taken to land Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija before the pair was traded to Oakland but were unwilling to meet Chicago's asking price.

    According to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, acquiring the pair would have cost the Indians a package that included shortstop Francisco Lindor, outfielder Tyler Naquin and right-handed starter Danny Salazar.

    Hoynes notes that the Indians, firm in their stance in not trading Lindor, tried to acquire only Hammel, but at that point, the Cubs believed they could get the biggest return by packaging Hammel and Samardzija together.

    --End of Update--

    After Corey Kluber (pictured), Cleveland's rotation leaves much to be desired, which prompted Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer to determine that obtaining a front-line pitcher and not an impact bat, as some have opined, is where general manager Chris Antonetti should be focusing his attention.

    The problem, of course, is that to obtain either Chicago's Jeff Samardzija or Tampa Bay's David Price, top prospect Francisco Lindor would have to be included in any potential package. Lindor, 20, is the Indians shortstop of the not-so-distant future and believed to be as close to untouchable as anyone in the organization.

    That would leave the Indians to pick from a large group of mid-rotation arms, including San Diego's Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross, Chicago's Jason Hammel and Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick (should the Phillies decide to sell).

    Are those pitchers good enough to push the Indians firmly into contention?

    It's hard to argue that they are.