Coming into the series against the Reds, the best case scenario was obviously a sweep. The worst case scenario was being swept, with Adam Dunn playing out of his mind. Under a total of zero circumstances did I want Adam Dunn to have a good series. I did not want him to show the Indians what he was capable of since most think he could end up in an Indians uniform before the trading deadline. Well, Dunner batted .500 with 3 HR, 6 RBI’s and– the worst part– one strikeout this weekend.
Not what I wanted to see. Adam Dunn is a man of moderate income’s Russell Branyan. Always has been. Any time any of you Indians fans hear “Adam Dunn”, you will now think, “Russell Branyan.” Good. Obviously something has to be done to get these bats going, but, according to Paul Hoynes’ column Friday, the Indians are not only not interested in Dunn, they might not be in the market for any outfielder. A deeper exploration of the article, and who should logically be on the block for the Tribe, after the jump.
Let’s make this clear: if the Indians want to get better through trades, they most certainly can. It would mean giving up some talent, but this team has enough ammo to pull the trigger on a big deal. Whether it be for one of Colorado’s bats, or Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, the Tribe can make these deals happen. Hoynes makes a good point that we really aren’t hurting for outfield help quite yet, considering that Ben Francisco hasn’t been given a real chance, and David Dellucci is playing some of the best ball of any Indian so far this season. I’m also compelled to agree with Hoynes when he says that Cleveland deserves to give Shin-Soo Choo a shot when he comes back from Tommy John surgery.
So, let’s take all of the outfielders out of the equation. Adam Branyan is too inconsistent, Ken Griffey Jr. is old, and Matt Holliday next year will probably be asking for more money than the Tribe would be willing to pay him. That being said, I think the Tribe should make a hard push for Roberts. Here are his numbers so far this season:
43 G, 162 AB, 24 R, 44 H, 12 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 12 SB, .272 AVG, .353 OBP.
Those are some very solid numbers. The Orioles have made it known that Roberts is available, he was almost a Cub before the season started. The Indians have an excess of what the Orioles need as well: starting pitching.
Anytime a team has Steve Traschel as one of their five starters, that’s big trouble. The Indians could easily pull off a deal to get Roberts bat in the lineup, and we wouldn’t even have to lose that much. Some of our more expendable commodities include:
Aaron Laffey. Something is going to have to happen when Jake Westbrook comes back, and Laffey does not deserve to be sent down. At the same time, the Indians are paying Westbrook too much money to have him anywhere but the starting rotation. Laffey has had some strong numbers this season, one of the most important is his ability to not surrender walks. In the AL East, it is hard to succeed against those lineups when you have a pitcher that walks a lot of guys, those lineups are just too dangerous to give them free passes.
Ryan Garko. It would be painful to see him go, but at this point, he is expendable. Not only that, but he would look very attractive to the Orioles, a 27 year old first baseman that could replace 36 year old Kevin Millar, who seems to be aging a few years every at bat.
Cliff Lee. Before any of you navigate away from this page, you have to admit that his last start in Cincinnati could be cause for concern. To trade him now might look foolish, but it could pay off in the end. There is nobody that wants to see Lee continue the 2008 season as an Indian more than I do, but can the Tribe really afford to let by far the hottest commodity in baseball sit in their rotation when it is so obvious that we need help in other areas? Shapiro is really going to have to evaluate whether or not Lee can continue his pace this season, or if he should parlay Lee’s hot start into some offensive help.
Any two of the three players should be enough to take Brian Roberts off of the Orioles hands, and it would be a good trade in my estimation. Laffey has to be the most obvious trade bait for the Tribe considering the season he’s having, the other two I present seem like logical pieces, considering the Indians will have to part with some talent to get back the bat that they want. Trading deadline is July 31st.