This trade deadline is looking like one of the least interesting of any in recent memory. A couple teams that probably should be sellers have turned into buyers, and those that are selling are understandably are asking for the moon for the few attractive trade targets. The possibility that Cliff Lee would be available was quickly squelched...but, wait, Michael Young might be dealt!
And putting a monkey wrench into all this is the pending Biogenesis suspensions, with players like Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, and Jhonny Peralta perhaps having to serve a suspension when their clubs are fighting for a playoff spot.
So where do the Indians fit in all this?
I think they still need to look for a left-handed relief pitcher, but the last couple weeks have placed the need for a starting pitcher on the back burner for now. An acquisition for a starter like Bud Norris would be more about 2014 than 2013...and if that happened, who would be kicked out of the rotation? With Cliff Lee supposedly off the market and the Indians not in contention for Jake Peavy, there's no real upgrade available.
The Angels falling out of the race has created new possibilities. Particularly of interest is Scott Downs, who would be a perfect fit for the Indians. Downs is a left-handed reliever who is dominating left-handed hitters, and isn't making a ton of money ($5M). He would likely take Rich Hill's roster spot, and would pair with Joe Smith or Cody Allen in the seventh or eighth innings. And because he's a free agent at the end of the season (with no possibility of getting the Indians a draft pick), he shouldn't cost that much. Oliver Perez would fit the same bill, but apparently the Mariners are not selling now.
The other possibility for the Indians is to upgrade the DH spot, or particularly the spot currently held by Mark Reynolds. Reynolds has been in a brutal slump since the middle of May, and he's been relegated to a part-time role. Philadelphia's Michael Young is available, and would be somewhat desirable because of his ability to play third base. He could play Young at third against left-handers, could play him at first base on occasion, and at DH.The Indians could actually include Mark Reynolds in the trade (in addition to the prospect/prospects), essentially swapping salary for salary. Would he be a huge upgrade? Not really, as he's never been much of a defender. But as a DH/occasional 3B (his negative WAR is defense-driven), he'd be an upgrade over Reynolds right now, and would allow the Indians to use Ryan Raburn in right field. And more importantly, it wouldn't cost the Indians that much.
So the 25-man roster could look like this on August 1st:
It wouldn't be a sexy pair of deals, but it would strengthen the roster, and wouldn't cost any of the Indians' top prospects.