Yesterday’s uninspiring loss to the Blue Jays has the Indians resting comfortably in 3rd place behind Detroit, four games down to the front running White Sox and in 6th spot for the Wild Card derby. In response, I woke up this morning with a vague tune in my head which it took a moment to recognize: Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away.”
Although it’s too early to panic, it might be time to act if the Tribe wants to salvage any legitimate chance at contention or actual relevance in the Central. Currently the Indians have only 4 regulars batting above .240.
What are the choices?
(1) Status Quo/Do Nothing
Hope that some combination of Damon/Duncan, Hannahan, Santana and Hafner find their strokes and Ubaldo, Lowe and Tomlin don’t implode. Not very exciting, based on what we’ve seen to date.
(2) Bottom Feed/Please Don’t
Antonetti could swim in the Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon or equivalent sump pool, but let’s hope not.
(3) Wallet Burn
Perhaps the most likely move. Alfonso Soriano and his $16 million per year contract (with 2 years remaining) are an albatross the Cubs would love to be rid of. But is it an albatross the Indians need? Soriano is a notorious hot/cold hitter who’s been hot (so what’s coming next?), is 36 years old and has bad knees. An optimist could say we’d slot him next year at DH if the Cubs pay nearly all of that ridiculous salary. Reports also say the Marlins would flip Carlos Lee (1 rbi since the trade).
(4) Big, Bad, Bold Move
We did it last year. Can Antonetti again do the unthinkable and move Choo or Perez, the highest value trade chips we have? The Reds need a leadoff hitter (Choo would have to play LF or CF) but have excess young OFs, a good young RH 3B and strong prospects. The Dodgers are looking for offense and have young pitching. The Marlins and Mets need a RP. Until Gee’s injury, the Mets had young MLB talent to trade. The Marlins could move RH 1B Gaby Sanchez (an All Star in 2011) and possibly No. 3 starter Anibal Sanchez.
Hamels, Grienke, Garza. We don’t have the top level prospects to acquire these players or the money to keep them (Hamels reportedly wants 5-6 years at $ 22-25 million per). Dempster is a hot commodity but won’t come cheap and may not re-sign at the end of the season (he’s already floated the idea of returning to the North Side if he’s dealt). Keep in mind under the new CBA teams which lose a mid-season trade acquisition to FA no longer get a supplemental draft pick as compensation. Thus ‘rentals’ are not as attractive as in years past.
What would yo do?