The Cleveland Indians have been a tough team to figure out this season. Cleveland recently took two out of three games against the surging Detroit Tigers, including their second win of the season against the reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. The Indians momentum quickly disappeared in their three games series against the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota out scored Cleveland 28-6 throughout the three game series, as the offense continued their dismal contribution. Even if the Indians had scored more runs, it still would have been difficult for the Indians to win a game as their starting pitchers got roughed up early.
Cleveland remains just 5.5 games back from Detroit in the AL Central, but have so many needs on the field, which makes it difficult to believe the Indians can be serious post season contenders.
Reports have come out about the Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo being on the trading block. The Pittsburgh Pirates had one of their scouts present in Cleveland during their series against the Tigers. Choo can become a free agent after the 2013 season. Between Choo's agent, and Indians ownership notoriously not spending big money, the odds of Choo leaving after 2013 are very good. Scott Boras represents Shin-Soo Choo, and is known for his difficult player contract negotiations. The Indians front office has already made attempts at extending Choo's contract, but Boras rejected those offers immediately. Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti may be concerned about losing Choo for nothing in free agency, thus leading to why Antonetti would be interested in trading one of the Indians best players.
If Pittsburgh does make a push for Shin-Soo Choo, there is a strong possibility the Indians could receive Starling Marte from the Pirates. Marte, who is 23, recently got called up from Triple-A Indianapolis and hit a home run off the first major league pitch he saw. Marte is a young intriguing outfield prospect that the Indians could control for many years which is important due to their financial limitations.
The Indians have made some brilliant trades that include the acquirements of Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Chris Perez for virtually nothing. But they have also whiffed on trades including the CC Sabathia deal, where the center piece Matt Laporta was supposed to be the building block right handed power hitting first basemen, but never lived up to expectations. Cleveland salvaged part of the trade by acquiring Michael Brantley in the deal, who has been a very productive player for the Tribe. The Indians then dealt another Cy Young winner in Cliff Lee, and also did not find a strong return in prospects. If Choo is traded away, it will be interesting to see what the Indians get in return for their five tool right fielder.
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