Upon witnessing Danny Salazar’s strong right arm throw five no-hit innings last week, everyone exited about what the 23 year old can do the rest of the season. While Salazar’s first start might have everyone reliving the days of Jaret Wright-mania, it’s that time of the year to think about who else in the Indians farm system could help them land a piece that could get them into October.

The first name everyone has their eyes and ears tuned to is Cubs RHP Matt Garza. Theo Espstein and Jed Hoyer will wanting more than eighty cents on the dollar for three months of a guy who spent the first quarter of the season injured. While Garza would fit well into the Indians rotation and make it better, but the Indians don’t rent players and not for the price they’d have to pay to rent Garza.

One name to keep in mind is Houston Astros RHP Bud Norris. Jeff Luhnow and Kevin Goldstein have done a great job rebuilding that farm system and would be wise to cash in on Norris, who is under club control until 2016. The drop in strikeouts this season have been a bit alarming but he’s up the Indians alley as far as club controlled beyond this season. The market for a number three starter, which Norris essentially is (in a good year) is high. A package of 3B Joe Wendle and RHP Trey Haley or RHP Austin Adams might be some names for the Astros to look into.

Wendle has quietly moved his way up the eyes of evaluators and could become an interesting commodity on the trade market for the Indians. Should the Tribe make a move for an impact starter, I would be surprised if he’s not on the move. The biggest issue is, names like Cliff Lee and Garza are the top targets and Wendle alone won’t land either and the Indians don’t possess the kind of pieces to land either. Even if they did with Garza, as I said, the Indians don’t like rentals.

While the starters market may be top heavy and barren where the Indians need help, the bullpen market is a very interesting one to consider.

Having already lost out on LHP Matt Thornton, most have turned their eyes toward Mariners reliever and former Mets prospect, LHP Oliver Perez.  At age 31, Perez has caught on as an effective reliever who’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning. While he too is a rental, his price tag is much lower. Seattle’s pitching staff for the future is theoretically set (or so they hope, remember, there is no such thing as a pitching prospect!), Tyler Holt’s skills as a leadoff hitter might interest the M’s. It also might be a good destination for UT Cord Phelps, who has no future in Cleveland and could help Seattle while they decide if Dustin Ackley will ever get it together.

While I personally dislike the idea of inter-division trades, a hot name is Twins LHP Glen Perkins. Under contract till 2016, a proven closer with a good arm and he’s left handed, sounds like a good fit for what the Indians need right now. Again, inter-division trades are tricky, never a good idea to give up a good piece to a division rival, especially a team with a system that’s starting to build up like the Twins. It’s one thing to trade for a bench bat or a LOOGY, but Perkins has more value than that.

The Twins have a strong nucleus in the minors among position players like Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Byron Buxton. They made some good deals this off-season to land some future arms, but are looking for more. Something the Indians may not be in the position to part with. It’s a shame that C Alex Monsalve has been dealing with an elbow injury all year and is just starting to rehab now in Arizona League games. He was a key piece in some Indians trade rumors last June and might have been someone the Twins could have been interested in.

OF Carlos Moncrief and an arm like RHP Austin Adams could be very valuable right now. Moncrief has seemingly figured it out now that he’s at AA and Adams survived a scary shoulder injury to post phenomenal numbers as a reliever at Akron. Both could factor into a deal for someone like Perkins.

Now that Francisco Lindor is at AA, moving Ronny Rodriguez might be in the offing. Rodriguez has come through with some nice adjustments at AA. He’s probably not a future shortstop anyway, so his value is tied to probably the offense he can provide at second base, which he’ll probably play mostly with Lindor around.

An interesting name to look into might also be the Phillies Michael Young. Before Lonnie Chisenhall came back up and figured it out again (for now) Young could have manned third base. If Mark Reynolds continues to be unproductive in the second half, Young could be plugged in at first base. Trading for Young would be a nice option should the Indians decide to pull the trigger on a deal with Asdrubal Cabrera to St Louis. If Mike Aviles had to be plugged into replace Cabrera, Young would be a nice utility option.

Michael Morse could be a bat that Indians could use in the even they can’t go forward with Reynolds continued struggles. Both Young and Morse might be able to be had for a package like Rodriguez, Haley, possibly someone like TJ House or Moncrief. It’ wouldn’t be entirely impossible that the Indians use Carlos Carrasco in a deal either

Given that the Indians don’t have a plethora of outfielders who are remotely close to playing in Cleveland anytime soon, Moncrief is someone who could be tough to trade.

-On the subject of Cabrera to the Cardinals, his trade value might be slowly eroding and this could be the last chance the Indians get to flip him for relatively high value. Getting a pitcher like Carlos Martinez back for him would be a nice haul.

Overall, the market for starting pitchers doesn’t seem to favor the Indians pulling off a deal. They moved their two top arms for Ubaldo Jimenez in 2011 but he was a top arm on the market and had years remaining on a team friendly contract.

As far as relievers, Perkins may be out of reach, but a guy like Perez is right within their price range. Offensively, upgrading over Reynolds would be nice, but hard to see. I wouldn’t expect a huge deal, but then again, I didn’t see the Jimenez deal happening. If something on a slightly large scale happens, it might be something out of the blue that was managed to be kept quiet.

Follow Justin on twitter @JL_Baseball 



  • Sean Porter says:

    Funny you mentioned Moncrief, went to the Aeros game tonight to see Lindor’s debut in Akron, came away impressed with Moncrief, who had a double and a triple.

    Is Moncrief a legit prospect? He seems to be putting up great numbers overall, and has a very nice swing. The ball jumps off his bat.

  • Justin Lada says:

    Moncrief struggled mightily with his plate discipline in years past. He’s a converted pitcher (and still has the plus arm in RF to show that) and took a few years to adjust. The fact that he is hitting AA pitching the way he is, is very encouraging.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    Bud Norris is no better than the guys we have now. A trade with Seattle for Oliver Perez and either Ibanez or Morales makes sense.

    • Sean Porter says:

      Norris is not a #1 starter, but before his last (bad) start, lets consider his nine starts before that:

      In four of those games he went six innings, in the other five games, he went seven. He allowed 3 runs or less in eight of those games, four in the other.

      Besides Masterson, what pitcher in the Tribe rotation has shown the ability to consistently go 6+ quality innings? Maybe Kluber?

  • Edward Ennett says:

    OK, no where else to put this…

    WAY TO GO KIPNIS!!!! Make the most out of the All Star Game :)

    • Cale says:

      Agreed. Congrats to Kipnis. The way Leland was managing by keeping his starters in longer and giving the top of the lineup 3 ABs each, Kipnis probably wouldn’t have played had Cano not been plunked.

  • DaveR says:

    Big no to Michael Morse. Can’t stay on the field this season and has terrible D WAR(which was pointed out in the Ranking piece).

  • Drew says:

    Buster Olney recently wrote an article on the strength of schedule for each contender. The Indians had the 3rd easiest schedule of all teams due to have only 19 of the remaining 67 games against teams with records over .500. The Indians are in a position, based on their schedule, to win about 90 games on paper. Key words there: “On paper”. The problem with that is that Detroit has the 2nd easiest schedule, with 22 of their remaining 68 games against teams with a winning record. Unless the Indians all-of-the-sudden figure out how to beat the Tigers head-to-head, I do not see them winning the AL Central as I expect the Tigers to finally quit sleep-walking and win 42 or 43 of their remaining 68 games.

    But with about 90 wins, the question that must be asked is, what about the wildcard? They have 4 teams ahead of them and only need to leap frog 3. The Rangers have 13 games against the Angels, 10 against the Astros, 6 against the Mariners and 11 more against other sub .500 teams. That’s 40 of their remaining games that are winnable and they also play 35 of 67 remaining games in Arlington where they are .587 team. They only need 36 to reach the 90-win mark. Oakland also has a relatively soft schedule remaining so I think it’s a safe bet that one of the wildcards will come from the AL West.

    The other 3 teams ahead of the Tribe are in the AL East: Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and the NYY. All three play each other at least 6 times each and have the 7th, 2nd, and 6th toughest schedules among teams currently contending.

    Tampa is only at home for 28 of its remaining 66 games and plays 37 of those games against teams with winning records. They will have to play .530 baseball with that schedule to reach 90 wins which could be challenging considering that they are about .500 team on the road and dominate at “The Trop”.

    The Yankees are at home for 30 their remaining 67 games and 38 of those are played against teams with winning records. The Yankees will need to win 39 games to reach 90 (.582 baseball) against a schedule which features 13 against the Red Sox, 9 against the Rays, 7 against the O’s, 4 against the Rangers, and 3 against the Tigers. That’s 36 games against the 5 of the 7 top AL teams. I just do not see them winning 90.

    The O’s are need 37 wins to reach 90 (.561 Win%). They have 66 games to go which are very evenly split between Camden Yards and the road; 32 and 34 respectively. But 38 of those games are against teams with a winning record. September is extra brutal on them, featuring 6 against the Red Sox, 5 against the Yankees, 4 against the Rays, and 3 in Cleveland and only 1 off-day. I think they will struggle to get to 90 but if they get there, they will have earned it.