Prior to the trade deadline the Indians were involved in all sorts of rumors. There was the Asdrubal-Cabrera-to-St.-Louis deal. Then the team was tied to Bud Norris, Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Tim Lincecum, Matt Garza and very briefly Toronto’s Josh Johnson.

In the end, however, the Indians made one minor move, acquiring veteran southpaw Marc Rzepczynski, which amounted to nothing more than throwing spaghetti at the wall.

One of the unfortunate results of the team’s busy offseason will come about if the Tribe fails to make the playoffs, second guessing will inevitably pop up, questioning if the front office did the right thing by standing pat at the deadline.

So let’s put an end to that well before it even starts.

Offense: The Indians have one of the most potent offenses in the game, ranking 10th in homeruns, third in runs scored, sixth in stolen bases, and tied for second in Weighted Runs Created Plus (111 wRC+). It’s so potent, in fact, that they’ve actually performed better than some big named individuals players (according to wRC+): Manny Machado, Ian Kinsler, and Alex Gordon to name a few.

Looking at positions, there’s really no spot to upgrade. Catcher, second base, shortstop, left and center fields are all filled. Nick Swisher can man either first base or right fielder. Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .271/.320/.448 since his promotion back to the big leagues. Ryan Raburn, who is absolutely scorching hot, Drew Stubbs, Jason Giambi, Mark Reynolds, Yan Gomes, and Mike Aviles can rotate among the final openings.

Pitching: The Tribe was linked to just about every starting pitcher on market. But why? Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, and Scott Kazmir all have ERAs under 4.20 and only McAllister has a Skill Independent ERA over 4.50. As for depth, there are two hurlers sitting in Columbus, ready if needed: Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, who is averaging 10.26 K/9 and just 2.57 BB/9 to go along with a 3.13 FIP. As a group the rotation ranks 13th in xFIP (3.86).

And then there’s the bullpen, the lone area that could use an upgrade.

Chris Perez is putting together a typical Chris Perez season. Cody Allen has been a revelation and could finish in the top 10 for AL Rookie of the Year. Joe Smith hasn’t been as good as he was last year, but he’s still serviceable. Rich Hill has posted a 3.29 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 13.2 innings since June 5. Bryan Shaw, who struggled from May 28 to July 4, hasn’t allowed an earned run since then. Matt Albers, despite the ERA, has been bad, but he’s the last guy out of the pen and can throw multiple innings.

Then there’s Marc Rzepczynski, C.C. Lee, Scott Barnes, and Blake Wood for depth. Plus, there’s Vinnie Pestano trying to rediscover his effectiveness in Columbus.

The price for relief help varied widely, though. Houston got a lot for Jose Veras, as did Milwaukee for Francisco Rodriguez. But the Angels got very little for Scott Downs, as did the White Sox for Matt Thornton.

So, where exactly where the Indians supposed to upgrade?

Look, this isn’t a perfect team. But once you figure in the price in terms of prospects vs. the actual gain in wins, an addition made very little sense. 

 

For more analysis check out Joe’s site: www.ProspectDigest.com

8 Comments

  • Tribe Fan in San Diego says:

    The last thing we needed to do was trade away any young prospect talent for mediocre talent that may not be around long. We would be kicking ourselves for years if the triple A guy we traded turned out to be good.

    Of course there is always room for improvement, but it sounds like prices were just too high.

  • shaun says:

    bottom line is that we have a streaky team…and thats the only thing we’ve been consistent at…streaky-ing. fun to watch though! i don’t know if we’ll be able to keep up with detroit step-for-step but there’s always the wild card

  • DaveR says:

    The team is great when not playing Detroit.

  • Kendall says:

    “The team is great when not playing Detroit.” Amen to that. My argument towards my father’s concerns about the Tribe and anyone else who knocks us is the blog posted here a while back about us having essentially the same strength of schedule in the second half that the A’s had in the first half. Being that it is among the easiest… All we have to do is beat the teams we should beat and, I’d be willing to argue, just play even against DET and we have a shot. If I recall from looking at the schedule last night we play both BAL and TEX a fair amount down the stretch so if we win those we can pad our WC chances… Any team that can pull out as many walk off winners and extra-inning nail biters as we have has to feel good about being able to make something happen down the stretch…

    • Weston says:

      We are done with Texas, and that is one helluva season series record with own this year. We have a 3 game home series with Baltimore left. Besides that, the only other “good” teams left on our schedule are 3 games each AT Oakland and Atlanta. And of course the Tigers. But the Royals are no pushover. Deperately need to beat up on the Twins, White Sox, Mets, Astros, Angels, and of course beginning tonight, the Marlins…

  • Sean Porter says:

    Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, hasn’t it been fun to have our Tribe be relevant well past the All-Star break?

    That being said – go get ‘em boys!

  • Gvl Steve says:

    Once I heard that the asking price for a relief pitcher was Danny Salazar, I prayed that they wouldn’t make a move. There were very few hitters even remotely available, and I wouldn’t take Jake Peavy over anyone in our rotation right now. Zep is fine. He can get lefties out and that’s really all we needed. Now the manager can matchup and the performance of the righties will improve as a result.

  • medfest says:

    Making no trade is always better than making a bad trade.Since what was available was pretty much scrap,I expect to see a few waiver deals done in the next month.