Indians could deal 'pen arms to fill holes
The Indians are currently dealing with a balancing act: finding ways to fill their needs for next season while keeping an eye on the club's long-term plan. It is a situation that has made trades an ideal way to address various issues.
Every team tries to deal from an area of strength. For Cleveland, its bullpen -- filled with young, controllable arms -- has been a bright spot over the past few seasons. It has also been an area the team has drawn from during trade discussions.
That has remained the case this offseason. The Indians dealt hard-throwing right-hander Esmil Rogers to the Blue Jays last week in order to acquire infielder Mike Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes. There will surely be other relievers on the block, with All-Star closer Chris Perez serving as arguably the team's top trading chip.
"That's a business decision that they're going to have to make," Perez said at the end of this past season. "I think whatever they decide to do is definitely going to tell you which way the team is going, one way or the other."
The Indians are coming off a 94-loss season, so the organization needs to be willing to at least listen to offers on its players. There are reports swirling that teams have already started to inquire about shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, starter Justin Masterson and Perez.
Cleveland might not be shopping its players, but the club is fielding phone calls.
There are obvious holes at first base, left field and designated hitter, as well as in the rotation. In the upper level of the Minor Leagues, the Indians lack the kind of impact prospects a developing organization needs. Under the circumstances, the club is not limiting its approach to this offseason.
"It goes for every player on our roster, and every player in our organization," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said recently. "We have to be open minded and at least engage in the dialogue to at least understand how other teams value our players."
Every winter, there is more talk between GMs that leads to nothing than discussion that results in a completed deal. That said, Cleveland has shown recently -- by dealing a handful of Minor League relief prospects last winter and shipping Rogers to Toronto this year -- that it is willing to dip into its bullpen to swing a trade.
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