Quick show of hands: How many of us had the Indians sitting a game and a half behind the supposedly invulnerable Tigers at the All-Star break?

So, yeah, here we sit at the “halfway point” of the season, and you’d have to call the season a success so far. It hasn’t been easy at times, but this is a resilient group of guys who do a much better job of maintaining cool when everything appeared flushed down the drain at various points of the season. They do a fantastic job of making your humble narrator look foolish more often than not. I’ve waved the proverbial white flag so often already that I’m surprised I don’t need rotator cuff surgery.

I can’t help it. I remember last August. And you have to admit, it’s probably a minor miracle to sit in a comfortable spot considering they have suffered through an eight-game losing streak already and had the Tigers drop an elbow from the top rope last weekend that, in most seasons, would have proven my pessimism correct.

But they didn’t fold this week. In fact, they were a base hit away from going six straight. The Tigers did all that they could to officially lay claim to this division and the guys got right back up from a standing eight count.

These guys are baseball zombies. They just don’t die. And that bodes well as the guys take a few days to recharge before the home stretch kicks off Friday in Minneapolis.

All that is well and good, but I really want to talk about is…

Danny Salazar. Danny “Cy Young” Salazar. Danny “Walter Johnson” Salazar. Danny “Nolan Ryan” Salazar. President Danny Salazar. King Danny Salazar. Your Majesty Danny Salazar.


I’m driving that bus. I kicked Justin Lada out of the driver’s seat. And hopefully a couple guys on staff took notes in throwing consist and quality strikes (*COUGHCARRASCOCOUGHJIMENEZCOUGH*), because that was as textbook as one could make it. I make no bones about the fact that I’m not as plugged in to the minors as I probably could be, so my expectations for Salazar was to, well, that he’d not embarrass himself.

My hopes just went through the roof with this kid. If Carrasco and Bauer ever figure it out, that is a monster of a future rotation with Masterson, Kluber and McAllister already being pretty stinkin’ solid.

Garza? Sure. But I’d hang up if Salazar is in the discussion. I’d push to send his long-lost cousin, Donny Saladbar, to the Cubbies instead.

(In all seriousness, I’m not sure I’d go hard for either Garza or Gallardo. I’d honestly think about trading Asdrubal to St. Louis for some of their younger arms that we could build around if Antonetti feels he has to make a move. Gallardo would’ve been nice a year ago, but he’s fallen off the productive cliff, and we’ve already gone through that with Jimenez. And Garza will likely command more than the budget will allow in the off-season. Is he worth restocking the Cubs’ system? I’m almost hoping that our “big move” will be a healthy Z-Mac. With maybe another lefty reliever. Other than that, I’m not expecting a busy mid-season hot stove. And if there is a big move, hopefully we get the better end with what we give up. Don’t let Detroit spook you into doing something stupid, Chris. Stay the course. You’ve worked your way back into my good graces. Don’t fudge it up.)

And finally, a word of congratulations for Masterson and Kipnis. Do well. Don’t get hurt and win the danged thing so Game Seven is in our yard if we need it.

Enjoy the next four days off. See ya Friday.



  • shaun says:

    are you saying cabrera only in that you feel aviles defensively can plug the gap? not great but good enough and a better bargain. as much as i like him, i think santana is good trade fodder as well

    • nikki says:

      Personally, I’d like to see the Tribe wait to deal Cabrera until Lindor is closer to being ready. I have no issue with Aviles manning shortstop, but I would want to see someone better in that position before too terribly long.

    • Chris Burnham says:

      If Antonetti feels the need to do some headline-grabbing I’d move Cabrera before I’d try to move anyone. But my underlying point is that I don’t feel they need anything major yet.

  • Andrew says:

    I think the biggest move the Indians can make is benching Reynolds. Addition by subtraction if you will. Also, getting McAllister back and potentially bringing up Salazar for the 2nd half are likely better than anything we can get via trade. Also, trading Asdrubal would be insane*, as we don’t have anyone who can fill his shoes offensively or as a clubhouse presence. How many more wins would we have right now had we benched Reynolds for the last 2 months?

    *Shelby Miller would be the exception here, but I can’t believe the Cardinals make that move.

    • Drew says:

      I think the answer to your question is 1.5. He peaked on May 15 with a OWPA of +1.13 and has fallen to -0.37 YTD. I am qualifying this statement because I am not sure how much WPA and WAR are related. I’d think it would be very similar.

      So in theory, we’d be tied with the Tigers for 1st place without Reynolds over the last 2 months. But you also have no idea how much of Lonnie’s demotion, thus requiring Mark to man the hot corner led to his offensive-derth or if his replacement would have been any better. For much of that time that Lonnie was in Columbus, Asdrubal was on the DL. Had he been healthy, Aviles would played more 3B.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    Trading Cabrera now would be a rebuilding move. That’s not going to happen with the team in a rare position of contending and fan interest on the uptick. It would be a public relations suicide. Cabrera is having a down year, but he is still a core player. The only way I can see this move happening is if STL is willing to give up top young pitching already in the majors, guys like Lynn, Rosenthal or Wacha. Even then it would be a hard sell to convince the fans that it isn’t a sell-off.

  • Hugh Jass says:

    I don’t know how I feel about dealing Asdrubal right now. Between being hurt and his struggles at the plate this season, his value is lower than it’s been in years. I like Aviles, but by plugging him in every day at short hurts our bench depth, which one could argue is one of our biggest strengths. Instead, I’d like to see the Tribe use the pieces we have in Salazar, CC Lee, Bauer, and Carrasco rather than overspending on outside talent to bolster our pitching staff.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    I keep hearing that the team is negotiating with the Cubs for Garza, and that the Cubs want a huge return. That really worries me. Tossing away top prospects like Salazar or Bauer or Lindor for a rental pitcher sounds self-destructive and counter-productive in the long term. Get a lefty reliever that can actually get somebody out and a DH who can hit better than .220 (K. Morales, R. Ibanez?) and you won’t have to gut the farm system for better starting pitching.

  • medfest says:

    The only readily available pitcher who would be markedly better than McAllister is Cliff Lee and his contract is ridiculous(25m,25m,27.5m vested at 200 inning, 2014 thru 2016).Anyone else(Garza,Gallardo) isn’t worth trading even Salazar for.

    The bullpen needs lefties,Oliver Perez should already be here.

    Andre Ethier might not be a bad pick up depending on what the Dodgers want and how much of his salary they’d pick up.A Stubbs/Ethier platoon in right would formidable.

    The only way I trade Cabrera is if I get at least Rosenthal back since Miller is out of the question.But if you make that deal you need to make another to pick up a bat in the OF,1B or DH.

    This team can contend right now with adding only a couple of lefty relievers.Add a consistent bat or a stud starter and the Tigers will be in for the fight of their lives.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    If losing Cabrera to free agency is inevitable and a team like STL is willing to give up an elite pitching prospect, then I suppose the team has to consider it like they did with Choo and rebuild on the fly. Boston wants a shortstop. If they were willing to give up a Xander Bogaerts….

  • Sean Porter says:

    In many aspects, trading Cabrera now makes a ton of sense. His value now will be more than it would be in the offseason or this time next year, and even if he’s never traded, 2014 will be his last with the Tribe. I think he could net a very nice player in return now.

    But on the flip side, there’s obvious reasons not to trade him. First, Mike Aviles, while a great backup and spot starter, is not as good long term as Cabrera. Not only that, but starting Aviles would also obviously weaken the bench. Second, you’d worry about team chemistry – you get the impression that Cabrera is really liked in the clubhouse.

    Public relations-wise, it would be a disaster, unless the pitcher brought back in the deal pulled a Sabathia in Milwaukee. It seemed like the Indians bought themselves some good will this last offseason with the free agent signings – but the attendance suggests otherwise. It’s not a given that this team will outdraw last year’s putrid edition.

  • Thomas says:

    I’m not as sold on this starting rotation as everyone else seems to be. I would swap Asdrubal for prospects, then swap them for Garza. If we had to sweeten the pot to get him, so be it. We MUST beat the Tigers handily in our remaining series with them to get this division. I don’t think our rotation as it stands can do that.

  • pihc says:

    Get a lefty for the pen. Get a lefty for the rotation. purge the minors EXCEPT:

    Do NOT trade, Salazar, Lindor, ACab or Lindor.

    There are pieces. You have to trade something to get something, but then again there are dumb GMs in MLB or else we’d be winning the ship every year. So there has to be someone that would be in a trading mood to take on a back up Catcher in … good God I forget his name already it’s been so long, or a Ubaldo as a good GM could sell the trading team on the strides his made this season. As bad as we all think he’s been, he’s been much better under Calloway (did I say Joey Calloway? I meant meant Joey Galloway.” I know you all think I’m nuts, but there are takers out there. You don’t think so? Then why the hell do we have them?

  • Gvl Steve says:

    The guys you named are the ones everybody wants. You won’t get Garza for three Cord Phelpses. It’s going to cost the future, and that’s only worth it if the team is one guy away from being a World Series contender. This team is good, but it’s not one player away from being in the class of a Detroit or St. Louis. You would be mortgaging the future for a 90-win 2nd place season or a one and done playoff berth. Chris Antonetti is not that short-sighted.