Thoughts on the Tribe: Careening Towards the Trade Deadline

The Indians are about to start a 4-gamer with Baltimore tonight at The Prog, and it’s very clear that none of us have any idea of how these next couple of months are going to go. Sure, we can guess that the boys of summer will tank in an embarrassing yet true Cleveland fashion and allow the Sox and Tigers to blow us out of the water in August and September . Common symptoms of this swoon include inactivity at the trade deadline (looks like we are right on target for that one, eh?), plain bad luck, or just the simple fact that our lineup is coming back down to earth after a hot first half.

While I think there is truth in each of these assertions, here’s a few things to think about as the Indians try to push for a playoff bid:

Mark Shapiro has said on Twitter that the trade front has been particularly quiet this season. I tend to believe him, even though it sounds like the foreshadowing of us doing absolutely nothing and saying a desperate prayer to the baseball gods to turn Jack Hannahan, Johnny Damon, and Lou Marson into Travis Fryman, Manny Ramirez, and Sandy Alomar, all the while hoping that Fausto-Roberto Hernandez-Carmona (Or whatever it is today) receives his visa in time to aid our ailing rotation.

On that last Carmona Hernandez topic, there is a story on Indians.com today about the Indians expecting him to return and bolster our rotation, to which I say God help us all. Nobody can deny his stuff is nasty when it’s on, but the fact remains that he can be a head case. Even more simply than that, he just hasn’t pitched in the majors for far too long.

Now that my semi-pessimistic mini-rant is over, here’s why the Tribe could surprise some people (Including their own fans):

Wouldn’t it be nice to have these guys back for a stretch run?

They’ve been linked to interest in both SP Matt Garza and OF Alfonso Soriano. I have to believe that the Indians have the pieces (Aguilar would be a start, perhaps) to secure one of these players from the lowly Cubs who can’t possibly be content with keeping those salaries on their books given their ineptitude this season. Our minor league system is depleted in many respects, sure. But should the Indians see it fit (It’s fit, go ahead and be aggressive here, Tribals) one of those guys could be ours, and yes they could help us tremendously.

Most of us have been disgusted with the way Carlos Santana has approached the plate this entire season to this point. There’s no denying he has been a colossal disappointment at the dish thus far, but he has been SO bad that I am led to believe through some sick hope that he can turn it around and at least be decently productive down the stretch. He got started with a homer in Wednesday’s game at Tampa, so let’s hope he can figure it out soon. It would do wonders for the middle of our lineup to have one of the few guys we have that can bat from the left side turn it up a notch.

With all of that being said, consistency is the only way to solve the Indians’ problems. One night the starter gives and ace-like performance and the lineup wets the bed, the next night the starter’s command resembles that of a high schooler, and the lineup heroically puts up 10 runs. I know I’m stating the obvious in closure here, but Masterson and Jimenez need to show their ace-like stuff, and the middle of the lineup has to start producing consistently. No one player will make the difference this season, which may be why the front office is hesitant to make deals that would cost us money to have a faint shot at a wild card berth.

At any rate, the Indians are in this thing somehow, and here’s to hoping Manny and the boys put on a show and play in the fall. Who wouldn’t want to see a full house at Jacob’s Field (Suck it, Progressive) in September cheering on a clinch against the Sox in that last series of the year. Yeah, I said a FULL house. I’m with you, Chris Perez. Let’s DO IT. Go Tribe.

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